Mathematics, Science and Design and Technology

Mathematics

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Pupils at Balgowan work within the framework of the 2013 National Curriculum for mathematics and teachers plan learning that is appropriately pitched to the ages and abilities of pupils across the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and 2. The National Curriculum for Maths aims for children to

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

The mathematics curriculum incorporates key skills, knowledge and understanding all of which are crucial for understanding the world in which we live and for meeting the challenge of everyday life. These include: Numbers and the number system (eg: counting, place value, ordering, estimating, fractions, percentages, decimals, ratio etc)

  • Calculations (eg: rapid mental recall of number facts, mental calculations, informal jottings, formal pencil and paper methods, use of calculators, understanding number operations etc)
  • Solving problems (eg: making decisions: deciding which operation and method of calculation to use, ‘real-life’ money and measuring problems)
  • Measures (e.g: choosing units and instruments, estimating, reading scales)
  • Shape and space (eg: properties of 2D/3D shapes, position, direction, movement, angles)
  • Handling data (eg: collecting, presenting and interpreting data including Venn and Carroll diagrams, block graphs, bar charts, pie charts etc)

Mathematics is learnt best when it is based on a rich diet of practical work and visual images combined with mathematical talk – with an emphasis not just on vocabulary but on the language of reasoning. This is what we aim to provide at Balgowan along with opportunities to problem solve and to apply mathematics on a frequent basis. Real opportunities for applying mathematical learning in other areas of the curriculum such as English, Science, Art and Design, Design and Technology, ICT, History, Geography, Religious Education and Music enhance pupils’ understanding. For example in Science, within a practical investigation, teachers’ planning will maximise opportunities for measuring, calculating and estimating. In Art where pupils are working on a three dimensional design, mathematical vocabulary, knowledge and understanding concerning the properties of shape and symmetry etc.. will also feature as a part of learning.   Where relevant learning links exist within a subject and across subjects, the school aims to make those connections to support the breadth and balance of learning, and bring greater meaning and purpose to all the experiences we provide for the pupils. All pupils in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 experience a dedicated Mathematics lesson of between 45 and 60 minutes each day in addition to any Mathematics work carried out in other subjects.

Science

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Pupils’ work in Science at Key Stage 1 includes the studies of ‘life processes and living things’, ‘materials and their properties’ and ‘physical processes’ (linked to electricity, light and sound etc). Scientific enquiry and an emphasis on investigation skills underpins all the pupils’ work at all times and asking questions as to ‘How?’, ‘Why?’, ‘What will happen if …?’ are crucial to learning in Science.  Pupils are taught that it is important to collect evidence by making observations and measurements when trying to answer such questions. At Key Stage 2 pupils learn about a wider range of living things and materials and scientific enquiry continues to be central to teaching and learning.  Balgowan follows the guidance from the QCA documents (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) to ensure that our Science curriculum provides continuity and progression between Key Stage 1 and 2.

Design and Technology

Design and Technology across Key Stage 1 and 2 involves pupils in designing and making assignments using a range of materials, including food, electrical and mechanical components, mouldable materials, stiff and flexible sheet materials, and textiles.  The school’s programmes of study ensures that pupils develop knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes which will enable them to engage in a broad range of creative activities in response to identified needs and problems.