We are currently in the process of updating our science curriculum in preparation for September. Utilising work by Chris Quigley, we have developed a curriculum which progressively develops an understanding of core scientific concepts which we call threshold concepts.
Science at Ashleigh is taught as a discrete subject for 2 hours per week. The curriculum has been derived at Trust level and then as a school, we have further developed the provision to best meet the needs of our children.
Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘threshold concepts’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied whereas threshold concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, students return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them.
For each of the threshold concepts there are three Milestones, each of which includes the procedural and semantic knowledge students need to understand the threshold concepts. This provides a progression model. Knowledge categories in each subject give students a way of expressing their understanding of the threshold concepts.
Within each Milestone, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic (B), advancing (A) and deep (D). The goal for students is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone and for the most-able to have a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage. The time-scale for sustained mastery or greater depth is, therefore two years of study.