This site uses cookies to store information on your computer Please review our cookie policy



Science is an exciting and dynamic subject and on this page we hope to inform you about our approach to teaching it. We have broken this page into three broad sections: 

Intent: the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain 

Implementation: how the curriculum developed or adopted by the school is taught 

Impact: the outcomes that pupils achieve as a result of the education they have received


Curriculum Vision Statement:

By the time pupils leave Navigation they will have developed a deep understanding of the world through the scientific disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics and the scientific method.  They will have an appreciation of the power of science to inform our world view and the benefits it has brought to humanity. Children will develop a curiosity about the world and the skills and vocabulary to enquire scientifically.



Our curriculum vision statement outlines our broad goals for science, whereas our whole school curriculum progression map gives a detailed breakdown of what each year group is taught.  There is also an overview of the different units of work that each year group covers. Go to the bottom of the page and you can open these documents and take a look.



You can see from the documents above how the skills progress and which units the children cover in each year group. These are arranged with regard to ensuring that children are able to revisit and build on their previous learning. However, we do not simply see science as a corpus of knowledge to be acquired but also as a means of understanding the world through enquiry-based learning. Below are five types of scientific enquiry which we teach the children. Through these types of enquiry, children are encouraged to work like scientists by planning investigations, making observations, recording results in different ways and asking further questions.


website enquiries.png


Comparative and fair testing

This is changing one variable (something we can change in an experiment) to see its effect on another whilst keeping all the others the same. We might start talking about comparative or fair testing with children by first talking about what can be changed (the 'variables') and whether this might make a difference to the outcome. For example, consider a car rolling down a ramp. We might ask the children: What will affect how far the car travels?

  • Possible variables: the height of the ramp, the surface of the ramp, what the wheels of the car are made from, the shape of the car, the mass of the car and whether the car is pushed.
  • Comparative test: If I change the car (the independent variable - thing you change), what will happen to the distance the car travels (the dependent variable - thing you measure)? Note: it is unlikely that you will have cars of different mass that are exactly the same shape, or cars of different shapes that are exactly the same mass, so this is a comparative test. You can compare different cars by keeping other variables the same. It is not a 'fair test' because at least two variables are being changed (e.g. mass and shape).
  • Fair test: If I change the surface of the ramp (the independent variable), what will happen to the distance the car travels (the dependent variable)?



This is using secondary sources of information to answer scientific questions. Pupils might use pictures, books, websites or information sheets that have been pre-prepared to help them to find out answers to questions about any area of science. They may visit a museum or talk to a visitor in school or parent about science. Children particularly like learning using online materials. We choose websites for children that are age appropriate so that children are not discouraged from their research by too much text or complex vocabulary or inappropriate content. Examples of research: 

  • Why is drinking salt water bad for humans? Children could watch a film clip showing the effect of a salt solution on living cells. 
  • How do some animals manage to live in salty water? Children could use a website to find out which animals are able to drink salt water and how they are able to do this. 
  • Can you explain some notable features of some of the bizarre creatures that can be found in the deep-sea?
  • How do these features help them to survive? Children could look at pictures in books or images easily obtained from the internet. Can you name all the planets in the Solar System? Children could watch film clips or read texts in books or on websites to find out the answers.


Observation over time

This is observing changes that occour over a period of time from a few minutes to a few months. All sorts of questions can be answered through observation over time. The period of time might be seconds, minutes, days or even months depending on the question asked. Examples of observation of time:

  • How do some materials change when they are heated? Children may investigate what happens to chocolate when it is heated for a few minutes and then cooled.
  • How do shadows change throughout the day? Pupils might observe the shadow they cast at different times of the school day.
  • Which drinks are bad for your teeth? Pupils might observe egg shells in different liquids for a few days.
  • What happens to frog spawn? Children might observe tadpoles developing for a few weeks.
  • What changes happen to a tree? Pupils might visit the same tree every month for a complete year.


Pattern Seeking 

This is identifying patterns and looking for relationships in enquiries where variables are hard to control. Pattern seeking often starts with a question about a possible link between two events or phenomena (variables). You may start by asking the children 'I wonder whether the smallest ...' or 'I wonder if the largest....'

To answer these types of questions, children will need to collect data: observing, measuring and recording events or systems. Or, they could collect data from secondary sources such as images or texts. Pattern-seeking enquiries provide excellent opportunities for children to learn about habitats, adaptation, growth, staying healthy (diet, exercise, disease), the weather, rocks and soils and the solar system.

Sometimes, pupils will identify a direct relationship between two variables. For example, a shadow is taller when a light source is moved closer to the object. In this case, the tall shadow exists because the light has moved nearer the object: this is an example of a causal relationship. There are no other factors that can explain the relationship between the cause (the distance between the light and the object) and the effect (the size of the shadow). Note: it is important that children understand that a direct relationship between two variables does not always mean a causal relationship exists. It is more common to find a direct relationship between two things that is not completely the result of one variable directly affecting the other.

In extreme cases, two variables can be related to each other without either variable directly affect the other. An example of this could be a relationship between children's height and their hair colour. For example, children might measure their height and record their hair colour on a numerical scale (1-5 representing black, dark brown, brown, pale brown, blonde) and conclude that 'in our class, the tallest children have the fairest colour hair'. This might be true but the tall children have not grown taller because they have blonde hair and their hair is not fair because they are tall. If you can find a direct relationship that exists that is clearly not a causal relationship, this is may help the children understand that not all relationships are causal.

Examples of pattern seeking:

  • Where do daisies grow? Children could count the number of daisies growing inside a hoop in different parts of the school grounds.
  • Do the biggest apples have the most seeds? Children could measure the mass or circumference of an apple and record the number of seeds inside.
  • Where do we find the most woodlice? Children could record the number of woodlice they find in different habitats.
  • Can children with the longest legs run fastest? There is often a child in the class who is smaller than average but can run faster than his/her peers. It is useful to find anomalies to these kinds of patterns and to discuss what other factors might be responsible for the effect. For example, this child may have more efficient muscles, larger lungs, do lots of sports.
  • How do musical instruments produce low notes? Is there a pattern? Pupils could look at the width of strings on a guitar, the number of holes covered on a recorder, or the volume of water in a glass bottle.


Identifying, grouping and classifying

This is making observations to name, sort and organise items. Young children perform simple grouping tasks, sorting items by simple observable features such as colours, shape and size. As children develop their knowledge of plants, animals and materials, they will sort and classify living things and materials using specific criteria. Older children may make charts or keys to help identify different animals and plants according to their observable features, and materials according to their properties.

Examples of identifying, grouping and classifying:

  • Can you sort these materials? Explain how you have grouped them. Young children may identify simple observable properties of materials such as hard/soft, rough/smooth, shiny/dull, whereas older children could compare and group materials according to transparency, electrical or thermal conductivity or solubility.
  • How are sounds made by musical instruments? Pupils could explore sounds made by string and wind instruments and identify and group the ways in which sounds are made. They could identify patterns, such as the thicker strings on a guitar produce the lower notes or shorter strings produce higher-pitched notes.
  • How can we sort animals into groups? Younger children may group animals according to their appearance (e.g. number of legs, presence of fur or scales), their habitat (e.g. live in nest or a burrow), or their diet (carnivore, herbivores, omnivores). Older children with a greater knowledge of the features of vertebrate and invertebrate groups could identify and classify animals as fish, amphibians reptiles, birds, mammals or snails, slugs, worms, spiders and insects.


Problem solving

This is applying prior scientific knowledge to find answers to problems. To help children develop independence in scientific enquiry, pupils should be encouraged to use their own initiative in problem-solving. You might challenge your pupils directly with a question or show a particular phenomena and ask them to explain it. Often, posing problems with a real-life context will stimulate children's interest and thinking. 

Examples of Problem Solving:

  • How do chemical rockets work? This problem allows children to investigate a chemical reaction which produces gases 
  • What would you do next? This question is asked to challenge children to consider what further questions they may want to ask and research after learning about a famous scientist's work.


Science Week

Although throughout the year we teach science every week, at Navigation, we hold a science week each year which involves exciting investigations and inspiring visitors across the school. Our 2022 theme ‘Growth’ allowed us to investigate living things, materials and even energy consumption! Each classes investigates the theme using some of the enquiry-based learning discussed above. Then there is an exhibition in the hall during which each class can show all the wonderful things they have been learning about. We also have a school-wide competition; see below a photograph of our fantastic poster competition winners’ work on display. 


website posters.png


Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

This year we are taking part in the Young People’s Book Prize. Our panel will be reading and reviewing the shortlisted books below so that we can select our winner to send to the Royal Society. Once judging is complete, keep an eye out for the books in our school library!


website book prize.jpg



Each subject is driven forward by a member of staff who monitors the attainment and progress of our children. We do this in a variety of ways including speaking to children, looking at their learning in their books, observing lessons and using data gathered from our school’s assessment system. This analysis can then be used to provide support and resources where needed to maintain high standards across all subjects.

We have also had a headteacher from another Trafford school come to look at our science provision. He gave a great deal of positive feedback about the science provision at Navigation.



Files to Download


Navigation Primary School

Hawarden Road



WA14 1NG

Contact Mrs Turner

0161 912 5937


'Working Together. Learning Together.'