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Science

Vision: Experiencing Science, Enriching Mind
Central to the Science curriculum is the inculcation of the spirit of scientific inquiry. Taking cognizance of this, the Science department aims to provide our students with a range of learning experiences such as scientific investigations, authentic learning tasks and learning journeys that will create the opportunities for our students to think and talk about issues and questions that are related to the roles of science in our daily lives, society and the environment.


School-Based Curriculum
The Science syllabus is based on themes that students can relate to in their everyday experiences, and to the commonly observed phenomena. The five themes the syllabus focuses on are: Diversity, Cycles, Systems, Energy and Interactions. Although the content is organized into five themes, there are some topics that are common to different themes. In addition, the syllabus adopts the spiral approach, which means that concepts and skills taught are revisited at different levels and with increasing depth. This allows students to learn scientific concepts and skills that match their cognitive development. 

The table below provides an overview of the Science Syllabus:

Themes

Lower Block (Primary 3 and 4) P3 – Diversity and Systems P4 – Cycles, Interactions and Energy

Upper Block (Primary 5 and 6) P5 – Cycles and Systems P6 – Energy and Interactions

Diversity

·         Diversity of Living and Non-living things

·         Diversity of Materials

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Cycles

·         Cycles in plants and animals (Life Cycles)

·         Cycles in matter and water (Matter)

·         Cycles in plants and animals (Reproduction)

·         Cycles in matter and water (Water)

Systems

·         Plant System (Plant parts and functions)

·         Human System (Digestive System)

·         Plant System (Respiratory and Circulatory systems)

·         Human System (Respiratory and Circulatory systems)

·         Cell System

·         Electrical System

Interactions

·         Interaction of forces (Magnets)

·         Interaction of forces (Frictional force, gravitational force, force in springs)

·         Interaction within the environment

Energy

·         Energy form and uses (Light and Heat)

·         Energy forms and uses (Photosynthesis)

·         Energy conversion


To develop in our students the skills, habits of mind and attitudes necessary for scientific inquiry, the school adopts the 5E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate) instructional model. This model advocates that teacher leverages and builds on students’ prior knowledge and experience to help them construct new knowledge or idea, and to continually assess their understanding of a concept.

Each of the 5E’s describes a phase of learning:

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Learning Science is more than just the learning of science facts and concepts.  The other dimension of it is the process of doing Science, which essentially are the process skills that scientists use in the process of doing science. 

Science process skills form the foundation of scientific methods and they include: image005.png

I ntegrated processes are complex operations that call upon the use of several basic process skills. At the primary level, the integrated processes expected of pupils are:
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5 Minds for the Future

 As the school’s initiative to develop our students to survive in the VUCA world, we adopted Howard Gardner’s 5 Minds for the Future. In Science, we developed 5 Minds lessons in P5 and P6 where our students develop the 5 thinking skills ie Disciplined Mind, Synthesizing Mind, Creating Mind, Respectful Mind and Ethical Mind.

 In these 5 Minds lessons, tasks are designed with authentic scenarios. Students work collaboratively to break down the problem and research for information that helps them arrive at a suitable solution or prototype. For example, the P6 students take a stand on a controversial statement that deals with Man’s impact to the environment and support their stand with evidence. They then present their findings and defend their stand as their peers critique their work.

 Student’s understanding and application of the concepts learnt as well as certain 21st century competencies are then assessed and graded that forms part of the grades for the Academic portion of the EAGLES progress report.

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Enrichment

E2K

E2K (or Excellence 2000) is an enrichment programme catered for P4 and P5 students who displays a high interest and ability in Science. Students are selected for this programme based on various criteria. This 2-year programme is a collaboration with the GE branch where students go through a series of hands-on experiments which targets specific scientific and critical thinking skills and other important 21st century competencies such as resilience, resourcefulness and effective communication skills.

The E2K programme is delivered in the form of weekly 1.5 hour sessions. In the programme, students are expected not to only be able to carry out experiments on their own, but also to critique each other’s methodology and/or results. This mirrors the way how scientists do their research. Through collaborative learning and guidance provided by the teacher, students practice scientific thinking and reasoning, developing confidence and independence in carrying out scientific inquiry as well as scientific habits, attitudes and dispositions.

The content covered in the programme extends beyond the primary curricula. Students get to experience some of these concepts as they conduct the experiment and explore the phenomena and attempts to explain them in their own words.

The following are some of the lessons that the students go through in the 2-year programme:

Year 1

Year 2

High and Dry

Rising to the Occasion

Yeast in Action

Jewel in the Crown

The Red Sea

Let’s build a Car

Doctor and Baker

The Mystery of the Bear Fur


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Da Vinci Junior Programme

Da Vinci Junior programme is a collaboration with NUS High for a group of specially selected P5 pupils who possess keen and strong interest in Math and Science. Our students, together with students from 6 other schools, attend workshops conducted by lecturers and professors of NUS High School. These workshops include workshops on Research Methodology, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Astronomy. After the workshops, our students embark on a research project, guided by the NUS High lecturers and our teachers, which they will present at a research congress held at NUS High School at the end of the programme.

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SCALE

SCience Authentic LEarning (SCALE) is a P5 Science enrichment activity where students have to practice their application skill in terms of their knowledge to an authentic given scenario. Students attend this 1-day activity jointly organised by the Science teachers as well as a group of parent volunteers during the March holidays. The students learnt extended content in 6 stations on the topic of Body Systems to solve a murder mystery. At the end of each station, students receive a piece of evidence which they had to piece together at the end of the activity to solve the murder case.

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Innovation Programme (IvP) 

Innovation programme (IvP) provides a unique opportunity for selected Primary 5 pupils to develop their problem-solving and inventive skills. The Innovation Programme aims to equip the pupils with the mind-set, skills & knowledge of an Entrepreneur and to assist the pupils to generate new, innovative ideas that can help the society and improve our living conditions.

The 1.5hr training sessions are once a week and they usually start at the end of Term 1, which continues throughout the year. The various training sessions that the pupils attend helps to nurture a “problem-solution” mind-set for pupils and to enhance the pupils’ creative and innovative thinking skills. The pupils are expected to develop a prototype that helps improve the lives of people and to present their idea in front of a panel of judges who will select the best innovative product as well as the best presentation group.

Authentic Learning through Learning Journeys

We believe that learning should not be restricted to only in the classroom and that the learning becomes more real and long-lasting as the students see for themselves how the concepts in the textbook are lived out in real life. As part of the department’s vision of “Experiencing Science, Enriching Minds”, we plan learning journeys that ties in with at least 1 of the main topic for each level. These learning journeys authenticate their classroom-based learning as students make real and concrete what they have learnt in school. This allows our students to better appreciate Science in daily life and society, and understand the relationship between Science and the environment.

P3 Learning Journey to Zoo

The main theme for P3 is on Diversity, where students learn the variety of living and non-living things and how to classify them, based on the characteristics that they exhibit. As part of the learning of Diversity of Animals, the P3 students go on a learning journey to the zoo. The Science teachers conducts the tour for the students, to highlight to them the different groups of animals and how the different characteristics look and feel like.

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P4 Learning Journey to the Science Centre

As part of the learning of Energy in P4, the students attended two days of fun-filled workshops on the topic of Light and Heat in Science Centre, where they explored the nature of light with a series of hands-on activities such as how different mirrors, lenses and materials affect how light travels. Students also observed what happened to objects when they are heated up or cooled down during the hands-on sessions on the topic of Heat.

The learning journey ties in with the syllabus that will be taught in Semester 2. This would help students to understand the topics better through experiential learning. The students were fascinated by the intriguing stimulations and they learnt the concepts in a fun and meaningful way!

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P5 Learning Journey to NeWater

In the topic of Water, the P5 students go to the NeWater Visitor Centre at Kok Sek Lim Road allows the pupils to learn and understand the 3rd National Tap of Singapore – the technology and also the importance of having a sustainable water supply for Singapore. Our students go through a guided interactive tour where they learn through completing a series of questions on an iPod and an engaging introductory explanation of the NeWater technology in reclaiming water for our use.

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P6 Learning Journey to Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

This year, the P6 students visit the LKC Museum to learn about how different organisms have different body structures to adapt in their environment to survive. The students go through a 1.5hr guided tour where the guides introduce the various body structures for different organisms to move, to feed and to defend itself. The pupils are able to see real-life specimens up-close and appreciate the differences in these body structures and relate to what they learn about adaptation in the classroom.

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Assessment

Assessment is an integral part of learning and there are different modes of assessment that the Science employ to assess our students’ understanding of the concepts taught as well as to identify the learning gaps for intervention.

Checklists and rubrics are used to monitor the student’s understanding of key learning for each level. Topical worksheets are given at the end of each topic and these help to consolidate the learning of the concepts as the students apply what they have learnt to answer the questions in these worksheets. These form part of the assessment for learning where feedback is given to the students on their work for improvement.

Practical skills are assessed during the performance tasks conducted in Term 3 for P3 to P5. Students are given a series of instructions to follow and they are assess on how well they conducted the experiments and how they analyse and evaluate the data they have collected to draw conclusions. Feedback from the teachers are given to the pupils to help them improve on how they should conduct the experiment accurately.

Mini tests are conducted in Term 1 and Term 3 for P3 and P4. These are bite-sized assessment where the pupils’ understanding of the topics that have just been covered in the term are assessed. Teachers use the results of these assessments to identify learning gaps and address misconceptions that the pupils may have.

Continual Assessments (for P5) and the Semestral Assessments form the Summative assessment where pupils’ overall understanding of Science concepts and ability are assessed.

Special Events and Highlights

Green Programme @ PHPPS

As part of the school’s effort to inculcate social responsibility and respect for the environment, the Science Department dedicates a week in April, known as the Green Week, to share with our students the current environmental issues that are affecting us and the roles they can play to help protect the environment. The theme for 2017 is Reducing Food Wastage. Throughout the week, Environmental Leaders educate the Pei Hwa population through game booths that are set up and manned by both the Environmental Leaders as well as some parent volunteers during the different recesses.

The Environmental Leaders also led the school assembly and educated Pei Hwa population on the importance of reduction of food wastage. They put up an engaging skit and organised a fun-filled quiz at the end of the skit.

 
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Internal Competitions


2013

2014

2015

2 Gold

2 Silver

15 Bronze

2 Gold

2 Silver

13 Bronze

3 Gold

4 Silver

5 Bronze


External Competitions

 

2013

2014

2015

Environmental-related

Environmental awards

·         Sustained Lotus Award

·         Sustained 3R award

Environmental awards

·         Sustained Lotus Award

·         Sustained 3R award

Environmental awards

·         Sustained Lotus Award

·         Sustained 3R award

Cognitive-related

 

Singapore Primary Science Olympiad (SPSO)

·         2 Bronze

 

ICE challenge

·         1 Gold

 

Singapore Primary Science Olympiad (SPSO)

·         1 Bronze


Partnership

National Environmental Agency (NEA)

  • Resources for Green programme @ PHPPS

Tetra Pak

  • Recycling Bins for recycling programme
  • Resources for recycling movement

NUS High

  • Training of pupils in Da Vinci Junior Programme

Parent Volunteers

  • Green programme @ PHPPS
  • SCALE