Our Learning


Science Curriculum


Our curriculum ensures that pupils:

  • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through biology, chemistry and physics.
  • Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
  • Are equipped with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

At St Mary’s, we encourage children to be inquisitive scientists throughout their time in our school and beyond. Our ‘We are Scientists’ curriculum fosters a healthy curiosity and love for learning about our universe, promoting respect for both the living and non-living.

Throughout the programmes of study, the children acquire and develop the key knowledge that has been identified within each unit and across each year group. The curriculum is designed to ensure that children are able to acquire key scientific knowledge through practical experiences; using equipment, conducting experiments, exploring nature, building arguments and explaining concepts confidently. Cross-curricular links are identified, mapped and planned to ensure not only progression, but an enriched understanding of the core subject of Science. Children are encouraged to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings, in order to become experts in the topics they study. A love of science is nurtured through a whole school ethos and a varied science curriculum, leading to every child viewing themselves as a successful ‘scientist’.


Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce high aspirations for all pupils. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following; Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce high aspirations for all pupils. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following;

  • Science is taught in topic blocks, with a project-based approach. This allows the children to revisit topics and reapply key concepts throughout the key, building on their knowledge as they progress through the school.
  • Curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging, cross-curricular lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills. Tasks are selected and designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.
  • We build upon the knowledge and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
  • For each medium term plan, a key inspirational person is introduced, to encourage children to gain a greater understanding of Science throughout history.
  • Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by exploring our wildlife area and arranging workshops with experts within our community.
  • At the end of each topic, classes produce a collaborative ‘Show What We Know’ display or presentation. Parents and carers are invited to view this (either by coming into school or through our Virtual Gallery on the website).


The successful, cross-curricular approach we take at St Mary’s results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them.

Through our Science modules, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity, as we use units of study as opportunities not only to look back at the history of science, but also through observing and researching current local and global issues as well (eg global warning, pandemics and hygiene).

Children learn the possibilities for careers in science, as a result of our community links and studies of inspirational scientists. From this exposure to a range of different scientists from various backgrounds, all children feel they are scientists and capable of achieving, which results in motivated learners with sound scientific understanding.


Chemistry vs Physics:

Physics  'knowledge of nature', is the natural science that studies matter, its motion and behaviour through space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves, including insights into space and time.

Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with elements and compounds composed of atomsmolecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behaviour and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances. The study of change of matter (chemical reactions) and synthesis lies at the heart of chemistry, and gives rise to concepts such as organic functional groups and rate laws for chemical reactions. Chemistry also studies the properties of matter at a larger scale.

In the scope of its subject, chemistry occupies an intermediate position between physics and biology.

Careers in chemistry and physics

Chemistry and physics are not strictly separated sciences, and chemists and physicists work in interdisciplinary teams to explore the following topics.


Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structurechemical processesmolecular interactionsphysiological mechanismsdevelopment and evolution.

Branches and career options in Biology

Biology is an area of science with numerous subdisciplines that are concerned with all aspects of life, in fact all aspects of modern human life. That said, there are countless career options, ranging from basic science to industrial or agricultural applications. These are the main branches of biology:[78][79][a]

  • Anatomy– the study of organisms’ structures
  • Astrobiology(also known as exobiology, exopaleontology, and bioastronomy) – the study of evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe
  • Biochemistry– the study of the chemical reactions required for life to exist and function, usually a focus on the cellular level
  • Biological engineering– the attempt to create products inspired by biological systems or to modify and interact with the biological systems
  • Biogeography– the study of the distribution of species spatially and temporally
  • Bioinformatics– the use of information technology for the study, collection, and storage of genomic and other biological data
  • Biolinguistics– the study of the biology and evolution of language
  • Biomechanics– the study of the mechanics of living beings
  • Biomedical research– the study of health and disease
  • Biophysics– the study of biological processes by applying the theories and methods traditionally employed in the physical sciences
  • Biotechnology– the study of the manipulation of living matter, including genetic modification and synthetic biology
  • Botany– the study of plants
  • Cell biology– the study of the cell as a complete unit, and the molecular and chemical interactions that occur within a living cell
  • Chronobiology– the study of periodic events in living systems
  • Cognitive biology– the study of cognition
  • Conservation biology– the study of the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife
  • Cryobiology– the study of the effects of lower than normally preferred temperatures on living beings
  • Developmental biology– the study of the processes through which an organism forms, from zygote to full structure
  • Ecology– the study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with the non-living elements of their environment
  • Evolutionary biology– the study of the origin and descent of species over time
  • Genetics– the study of genes and heredity
  • Immunology– the study of the immune system
  • Marine biology(or biological oceanography) – the study of ocean ecosystems, plants, animals, and other living beings
  • Microbiology– the study of microscopic organisms (microorganisms) and their interactions with other living things
  • Molecular biology– the study of biology and biological functions at the molecular level, some cross over with biochemistry
  • Nanobiology– the application of nanotechnology in biological research, and the study of living organisms and parts on the nanoscale level of organization
  • Neuroscience– the study of the nervous system
  • Paleontology– the study of fossils and sometimes geographic evidence of prehistoric life
  • Pathobiology or pathology– the study of diseases, and the causes, processes, nature, and development of disease
  • Pharmacology– the study of the interactions between drugs and organisms
  • Phycology– the study of seaweeds and other algae
  • Physiology– the study of the functions and mechanisms occurring in living organisms
  • Phytopathology– the study of plant diseases (also called Plant Pathology)
  • Psychobiology– the application of methods traditionally used in biology to study human and non-human animals behaviour
  • Quantum biology– the study of the role of quantum phenomena in biological processes
  • Sociobiology- the study of social behavior in terms of evolution
  • Systems biology– the study of complex interactions within biological systems through a holistic approach
  • Structural biology– a branch of molecular biologybiochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules
  • Theoretical biology– the branch of biology that employs abstractions and mathematical models to explain biological phenomena
  • Zoology– the study of animals, including classification, physiology, development, evolution and behaviour, including: