Science at West Beechboro Primary School
Science at West Beechboro is an important part of the school’s overall academic programs and like art, technology and design and physical education, it forms part of our compulsory program for all students enrolled at West Beechboro from years 1 through to 6, formally engage in.
Science at West Beechboro Primary School
West Beechboro Primary School has a specialist science program that is run by Rachael Lehr, (who set up a dedicated science laboratory in the school in 2011), and all students from years 1 to 6 attend the science lab for one hour of science each week. Science learning occurs in a hands-on, inquiry-based program that provides opportunities for students to wonder, question and to explore the world around them.
This program is aligned with the Australian curriculum content descriptors and has a strong focus on integrating technology, with iPads often used to display our learning using a range of applications. Students undertake learning around the four aspects of Science Understanding (Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Earth & Space Science) over the year and develop their Science Inquiry Skills across each unit of study.
Rachael has recently attended the inaugural STEM X Academy – Excellence in Science Teaching and this has promoted an interest in incorporating ‘real world’ current science dilemmas into the science program at West Beechboro and in deepening the level of student-led inquiry and problem–solving, along with creating maker-spaces in the school. (Note: The science program shares their learning on Twitter at @WBPScienceRocks) The following clip was made by Dana during the year 2 science class. CLICK HERE.
West Beechboro also offers an after school science club for our senior girls, which in 2016 is kindly being supported by the ANZ bank, due to their interest in promoting women in science and business.
Interestingly, girls around the world often outperform boys in science, yet while girls are quite capable scientists, there is an increasing trend for girls to avoid science-based study in high school and on in to university.
The primary school years are an opportune time to nurture a passion and interest in the sciences and to encourage girls to believe in their abilities and to improve their scientific literacy and this is the aim of this girls’ club, which focuses on hands-on science, coding and exploring the success of women in science fields.
At West Beechboro Primary School we have a ‘Talented and Gifted’ (TAGS) program for senior students, where students attend specialist programs in design and technology, science or art. The science TAGS program has followed a Genius Hour/passion project program where students are empowered to explore their passions.
The program encourages creativity in learning and provides students the opportunity to reflect on what topic, question or issue they are particularly passionate about. Students develop a question or inquiry around this area of interest and then conduct guided research to answer their question and to increase their knowledge or develop their skills in this area.
The inquiry and research process required to undertake this project means that students develop their skills in being independent and self-motivated learners. An example of one such project can be viewed by CLICKING HERE. This video was created by Henry (age 8) during Genius Hour. Henry says “this video should help people to understand what electricity really is! And remember… Don’t mess around with electricity!”
Coding – Computer Programming
We live in a world surrounded by technology. And we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. But only a tiny fraction of us are learning computer science, and fewer students are studying it than a decade ago.
That’s why West Beechboro Primary School is ready to teach these foundational 21st century skills of computer programming. We have begun a new initiative where we are exploring coding with our students. All students from year 1 to 6 participated in an ‘Hour of Code’ in 2015 and it is our goal to expand this coding program in 2016, and the use of coding with robotics, to provide our students opportunities to develop these important skills for the future.
Parents are encouraged to talk to their child/ren about what they are learning in science, as they are about all our programs , as there are so many exciting conversations you can be having about the world we live in! If your child has anything they want to bring in to share/ display in the science lab, this is welcomed.
If you have a background in science or work in a science related field and ever want to come and share what you do, please let me know. This would be fantastic.
It’s a fascinating world out there – STAY CURIOUS.
Some examples of the content covered in science include
Science Understanding: Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape
- What’s in the sky? What is weather?
- Clouds/ Rain
- Weather symbols/ reports
Science Understanding: Earth’s resources, including water, are used in a variety of ways
- Earth’s Resources – what are they? How do we use Earth’s resources
- Where does water come from? Water Uses/Water walk – how and where do we use water?
- Rain/ Ground Water
- Saving Water – What would happen if we didn’t have enough water?
- Sanitation/ Cleaning water
Science Understanding: Earth’s rotation on its axis causes regular changes, including day and night
- Earth’s place in the Solar System
- Relative sizes of Sun, moon and Earth
- Earth’s rotation and revolution
- Moon phases
- Sunlight and shadows/ Sundials
Science Understanding: Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity
- Studying soils
- Rocks types and classification
- Uses of rocks and soils
- Weathering/ Erosion
- Land formations
Science Understanding: The Earth is part of a system of planets orbiting around a star (the sun)
- Solar System -The Earth, Sun and Moon – Planets
- Space Research/ Space History/ People in space
- Comets, asteroids, meteors and other space bodies
Science Understanding: Sudden geological changes or extreme weather conditions can affect Earth’s surface
- Structure of the Earth/The Earth’s Crust
- Extreme weather – cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis