At Woodchurch Road we are studying CUSP science.  Through this pupils become more expert as they progress through the curriculum, accumulating, connecting and making sense of the rich substantive and disciplinary knowledge.

  1. Substantive knowledge - this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used to learn about the content. Common misconceptions are explicitly revealed as non-examples and positioned against known and accurate content. In CUSP science, an extensive and connected knowledge base is constructed so that pupils can use these foundations and integrate it with what they already know. Misconceptions are challenged carefully and in the context of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge. In CUSP Science, it is recommended that misconceptions are not introduced too early, as pupils need to construct a mental model in which to position that new knowledge.

  2. Disciplinary knowledge – this is knowing how to collect, use, interpret, understand and evaluate the evidence from scientific processes. This is taught.


CUSP Science is built around the principles of cumulative knowledge The effect of this cumulative model supports opportunities for children to associate and connect with significant periods of time, people, places and events. 



Pupils study the Seasons and develop an early conceptual understanding of how day becomes night. An understanding of change over time connects to the study of Plants, including trees. This focus enables children to associate trees as belonging to the plant kingdom and notice the changes deciduous trees go through connected to the seasons.

Contrasting that study, pupils learn about Animals, including humans. Non-examples of plants are used to contrast the features of an animal.

Pupils are introduced to identifying and classifying materials. Scientific terms, such as transparent, translucent and opaque are taught explicitly through vocabulary instruction and pupils make further sense by applying it to what they know and then to working and thinking scientifically tasks. This substantive knowledge is enriched by pupils’ use of disciplinary knowledge through scientific enquiry.

Within the study of Living things and their habitats and Uses of everyday materials new substantive knowledge is constructed and made sense of through Working and Thinking scientifically tasks.



The unit on Rocks is studied and connected with prior knowledge from ‘Everyday materials’ in KS1. A study of Animals, including humans is built upon from KS1 and contrasts the physical features with the functions they perform, including the skeleton and muscles.

Rocks is revisited again to sophisticate and deepen pupils’ knowledge, advancing their understanding.

Forces and magnets are introduced and connect with KS1 materials, including twisting, bending and squashing. Contact and non-contact forces are taught and understanding applied through Working and Thinking Scientifically. The abstract concept of Light is made concrete through knowing about light sources and shadows. Plants are studied to develop a more sophisticated understanding of their parts and functions, including pollination.

A study of Living things and their habitats pays close attention to classification and is directly taught using prior knowledge to ensure conceptual frameworks are secure. Animals, plants and environments are connected in this study with a summary focusing on positive and negative change.

Electricity is introduced and pupils acquire understanding about electrical sources, safety and components of a single loop circuit. 

Animals, including humans focuses on the sequence of digestion, from the mouth to excretion.

States of matter and Sound are taught using knowledge of the particle theory. Practical scientific tasks and tests help pupils build a coherent understanding of the particle theory by applying what they know through structured scientific enquiry.

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Pupils reuse and draw upon their understanding of states of matter in the study of Properties and changes of materials. Change is also studied within Animals, including humans, focusing on growth and development of humans and animals. Earth in Space develops the conceptual understanding of our place in the universe. 

A study of Forces sophisticates the substantive knowledge acquired in KS1 and LKS2. Enhancing this study of Forces, pupils learn about Galileo Galilei 1564 - 1642 (considered the father of modern science).

Living things and their habitats focuses on differences in life cycles of living things and how they reproduce. This study also contrasts previous scientific thinking.

A further study of Living things and their habitats enables pupils in UKS2 to revisit and add to their understanding of classification through the taxonomy created by Carl Linnaeus.

More complex animals are studied. Light is revisited and taught with advanced substantive knowledge. This is physics study with a focus on the properties of light, not the biology of the eye.


An essential component to CUSP lessons is the systematic and coherent approach that we embed focusing on the six phases of a lesson.