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Wonder Secondary Science

Wonder Secondary Science
Curriculum taught at:

Our vision

Part of our core discipline, Science offers an endless world of discovery to develop our understanding of the matter, forces, and life around us.  It invites children to innovate and explore the beauty of nature and understand our own technological advancements as society.

Throughout their time at our schools, children will become investigative, inquisitive, and rational as they build a body of knowledge but also learn how that same knowledge can be proven and how discoveries are made, tested, and refined.

Investigative Science is a process as much as it is a body of knowledge and to learn about the world around, scientists undertake processes and practices to test their theories and observe the world. These include gathering data and evidence, using apparatus, applying laws and formula, and pattern seeking. They will also learn – through graphs, diagrams, and a focus on literacy, how scientists communicate their findings clearly and logically.
Inquisitive Science is a fascinating subject and we want children to be curious and inquisitive in their studies. We want them to be able to make meaningful connections between the things that they learn – to see how parts of knowledge join together. In doing so they will make connections between the science they learn in school and the things they observe in the wider world. The thrill in discovering these connections will create an appetite for them to want to learn more.
Ethical Children will learn how we know what we know to better appreciate the value of that knowledge. That means that in addition to learning facts but they also learn the importance, reliability, and power of science. They will appreciate that scientific theories are more than just ‘guesses’ but also that scientific knowledge is not ‘complete’ but is always expanding. We hope this will inspire young scientists to see their role in the future in expanding that knowledge but fundamentally, this respect for scientific process will help all children to identify against false information and opinions and to become responsible, ethical and ethical adults.

Science Curriculum

Our curriculum is structured so that children can see connections between topics and concepts across the three disciplines of science – both in terms of the way they learn scientific knowledge and the way they learn to think like scientists.

Thinking like a scientist.

The Science curriculum has been carefully mapped to show how knowledge develops in a hierarchy.   For example, variables need to be understood before children can learn about validity.

The skills aspect of the curriculum has also been considered carefully so that children learn new knowledge in line with their understanding of the scientific method.  For example, the particle nature of matter provides an excellent context for pupils to learn aspects of disciplinary knowledge about scientific models.  The best combination of scientific knowledge and skills (otherwise known as disciplinary and substantive knowledge) is made at all times.

Key ‘skills based’ knowledge is then revisited and practised in different topics and disciplines. For example, knowledge of the concept ‘variable’ can be used alongside substantive knowledge when pupils draw graphs to reveal scientific laws such as Hooke’s Law in Physics, or when planning an experiment to investigate how light affects the rate of photosynthesis in Biology. In this way, we ensure disciplinary knowledge about how scientists work is not forgotten but is built on.

Our curriculum is structured so that an understanding of how scientists work is embedded within the content of biology, chemistry and physics. This enables pupils to see the important interplay between scientific methods and exploring scientific knowledge.


Our Teaching

To accomplish these aims, children learn scientific knowledge and scientific methods in growing complexity through their time with us.  Along the way they learn these aspects of the curriculum through development of facts and processes.

Science as a process (disciplinary knowledge):

Practical work instead aims to teach children the processes and information that underpin the way scientists work so that they understand how scientific breakthroughs are made.  Consequently, ensuring children are confident at working with and creating graphs, validating experimental data or using apparatus is important to helping them to fully become alive to the subject.  As a result, teaching of practical skills and knowledge work is carefully matched to the content children are learning so that the right methods are matched to the correct aspect of science.

This includes knowledge of methods that scientists use.  These include:

  • testing, models, chemical synthesis, classification, description and the identification of correlations (pattern-seeking).
  • data analysis, including how to process and present scientific data in a variety of ways to explore relationships and communicate results to others.
  • Apparatus, techniques, and measurement. This covers how to carry out specific procedures and protocols safely and with proficiency in the laboratory and field. Children will learn that all measurement involves some error and scientists put steps in place to reduce this.
  • Use of evidence. This covers how evidence is used, alongside knowledge, to draw careful but valid conclusions. It includes the distinction between correlation and causation.

Science as knowledge (substantive knowledge):

As children progress through the science curriculum they will cover a broad range of topics specific to each area of science and will appreciate their differences.  These particular differences will be reflected in the practical and process learning above:

  • Biology helps children to understand living organisms and life. It must take account of complex systems involving interactions between genes, the environment and random chance.
  • Physics, in contrast, typically assumes things will behave identically and so it relies of measurable quantities and laws. It explores forces and energy that surround us.
  • Chemistry differs again in that it draws heavily on the use of models and modelling to explain the behaviour of matter to explore the substances and matter around us.

However, our colleagues aim to help pupils also see the way these areas interact with each other to help them build a meaningful understanding.  This is done by organising knowledge according to major scientific principles, such as conservation of energy. Pupils will then use these principles to solve problems.

Our teachers aim to deliver the subject in a way that revisits and builds on prior learning to develop an extensive and connected knowledge base. When pupils learn new knowledge, it should become integrated with the knowledge they already have. This ensures that learning is meaningful.

This is done by organising knowledge around the most important scientific concepts, which predict and explain the largest number of phenomena.  Our curriculum therefore identifies the most important concepts and connects these across lower and middle school before developing them at upper school and beyond.  These are outlined in our curriculum section.

Practical work

  • The curriculum is sequenced so that pupils have the necessary knowledge to carry out practical work successfully and learn from it. Practical work is incorporated into the sequence of the learning so it is not simply a demonstration of a principle but a consolidation of their learning and an activity that helps them to show they understand the scientific method.
  • The practical work – and the way that it is built into the curriculum – is linked to the various disciplines of Physics, Biology, and Chemistry so that it acknowledges the different methods, as well as overlap, between these disciplines.
  • Pupils will, over time, encounter the full range of objects and phenomena they are studying through both laboratory and practical work to take them beyond their everyday experiences to develop a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world.
How families can support

Families are encouraged to support their child’s scientific development in a variety of ways. In particular pupils are encouraged to discuss their work at home and to attempt to explain their newly learned knowledge and skills to their parents.

Families can help develop their child’s scientific development through: Visits to Museum and Exhibitions whenever possible. Encouraging pupils to explore their own scientific investigations in a safe and controlled environment. Encouraging their children to explore the Internet to find quality information and presentations from a vast resource.

Possible suggestions include:





Sequencing & Assessment

Exploring scientific knowledge.

We are keen to ensure that your child’s understanding of Science is structured.  In addition to understanding the differences and principles of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics our curriculum structures learning so that pupils and students see the connections between them.

This might, for example, involve explaining what is happening at the cellular level in biology by referring to what molecules are doing at the sub-microscopic level by applying their chemistry knowledge.  To enable this to happen, our curriculum identifies the most important concepts for pupils to learn.  In lower school, for example, our key concepts include:

  • The particle model
  • Energy
  • Waves
  • Forces
  • Interdependence

These strands weave throughout the delivery of all sciences, strengthening links, building understanding, and helping children to ‘sort’ and make sense of the information they will learn.  Making repeated links to these wider concepts also helps them to build their understanding by systematically revising the concepts over time.  This is reinforced by the way the department uses assessment.


We recognise that pupils are more likely to remember knowledge if they practise retrieving that knowledge over extended periods of time. Consequently, our prepare activities revisit prior learning but in our assessments we also revisit relevant prior learning to ensure knowledge has been retained.  Teacher feedback is important for these assessments feedback so even incorrect answers can be corrected and retrieved in the future.

Our revision and re-visiting of prior topics focuses especially on our key concepts as these are the powerful knowledge that ‘holds together’ the content that children will learn.

For each unit, pupils are tested on segments of content delivered with feedback after each to pick up misconceptions.  Consequently, when preparing for an end of topic test, pupils understand the content they need to revise and can see exactly which areas they need to revise to improve.  In doing so, we give them the tools to succeed.

At Key Stage 3 we use GL Assessments throughout the year to check long-term retention of the curriculum and to validate our teacher assessments.

Assessment consists of regular end of topic tests which are designed to not only challenge the pupils on their factual knowledge but on their ability to apply that knowledge to novel situations and subsequently show full understanding of a variety of scientific phenomena.

Routine assessment occurs through marking of homework and classwork. Pupils are encouraged to actively engage by responding to green pen comments in their books using their purple pens. Peer assessment is also utilised with red pen marking of specific content such as objective answers to particular problems.