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What is Science?

Science occurs in most aspects of modern life. An understanding of its nature and scientific knowledge is of value to our pupils as we prepare them for adulthood. Science offers the opportunity to acquire a way of thinking and working, which can serve as a basis for understanding the world in which we live. To develop scientific knowledge, understanding and skills, it is necessary to ensure that science is meaningful to all or our pupils.

National Curriculum

Science is a core subject in the National Curriculum. The fundamental knowledge and concepts of the subject are set out in the national curriculum where they are categorised into 6 programmes of study for each of the 6 year groups. Scientific enquiry is taught through contexts taken from the objectives on Life Process and Living Things, Materials and their properties and Physical Processes.

Programmes of Study

Key Stage 1 Years 1 and 2

During years 1 and 2, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

  • asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways
  • observing closely, using simple equipment
  • performing simple tests
  • identifying and classifying
  • using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
  • gathering and recording data to help in answering questions
Year One Year Two

  • identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees.
  • identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees.

Seasonal Changes

  • Observe changes across the 4 seasons
  • Observe and describe weather, associated with the seasons and how day length varies

  • observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into more mature plants.
  • find out and describe how plants need water, light and a suitable temperature to grow and stay healthy.
Animals, including humans

  • identify and name a variety of common animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
  • identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.
  • describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals (fish amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals and pets)
  • identify, name, draw and label the basic parts of the human body and say which part of the body is associated with each sense.
Animals, including humans

  • notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults.
  • find out about and describe the basic needs for animals, including humans, for survival (water, food and air).
  • describe the importance for humans
Everyday materials

  • distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made.
  • identify and name a variety of everyday materials, including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water and rock.
  • describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials.
  • compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties.
Use of everyday materials

  • identify and compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, including wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper and cardboard for particular uses.
  • find out how the shapes of solid objects made from some of the materials can be changed by squashing, bending, twisting and stretching.

Lower Key Stage 2 – Years 3 and 4

The principal focus of science teaching in lower key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They should do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. They should ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They should draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out.

Year Three Year Four

  • identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers.
  • explore the requirements of plants for life and growth (air, light, water, nutrients from soil, and room to grow) and how they vary from plant to plant.
  • investigate the way in which water is transported within plants.
  • explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.
Living things and their habitats

  • recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways.
  • explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment.
  • recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things
Animals, including humans

  • identify that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition, and that they cannot make their own food; they get nutrition from what they eat.
  • identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement.
Animals, including humans

  • describe the simple functions of the basic parts of the digestive system in humans.
  • identify the different types of teeth in humans and their simple functions.
  • construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey.

  • compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties.
  • describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock.
  • recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter.

  • identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.
  • recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear.
  • find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it.
  • find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it.
  • recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases.

  • recognise that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light.
  • notice that light is reflected from surfaces.
  • recognise that light from the sun can be dangerous and that there are ways to protect their eyes.
  • recognise that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by a solid object.
  • find patterns in the way that the size of shadows change.

  • identify common appliances that run on electricity.
  • construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers.
  • identify whether or not a lamp will light in a simple series circuit, based on whether or not the lamp is part of a complete loop with a battery.
  • recognise that a switch opens and closes a circuit and associate this with whether or not a lamp lights in a simple series circuit.
  • recognise some common conductors and insulators, and associate metals with being good conductors.
Forces and magnets

  • compare how things move on different surfaces.
  • notice that some forces need contact between 2 objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance.
  • observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others.
  • compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet, and identify some magnetic materials.
  • describe magnets as having 2 poles.
  • predict whether 2 magnets will attract or repel each other, depending on which poles are facing.
States of matter

  • compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.
  • observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure or research the temperature at which this happens in degrees Celsius (°C)
  • identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature.

Upper Key Stage 2 Years 5 and 6

The principal focus of science teaching in upper key stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They should do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. At upper key stage 2, they should encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They should also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They should select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information. Pupils should draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings.

‘Working and thinking scientifically’ is described separately at the beginning of the programme of study, but must always be taught through and clearly related to substantive science content in the programme of study. Throughout the notes and guidance, examples show how scientific methods and skills might be linked to specific elements of the content.

Pupils should read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly.

Year Five Year Six
Living things and their habitats

  • describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird.
  • describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals.
Living things and their habitats

  • describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals.
  • give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.
Animals, including humans

  • describe the changes as humans develop to old age.
Animals, including humans

  • identify and name the main parts of the human circulatory system, and describe the functions of the heart, blood vessels and blood.
  • recognise the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function.
  • describe the ways in which nutrients and water are transported within animals, including humans.
Properties and changes of materials

  • compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets.
  • know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution.
  • use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating.
  • give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic.
  • demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes.
  • explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible, including changes associated with burning and the action of acid on bicarbonate of soda.
Evolution and inheritance

  • recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.
  • recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents.
  • identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution.
Earth and Space

  • describe the movement of the Earth and other planets relative to the sun in the solar system.
  • describe the movement of the moon relative to the Earth.
  • describe the sun, Earth and moon as approximately spherical bodies.
  • use the idea of the Earths rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.

  • recognise that light appears to travel in straight lines.
  • use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain that objects are seen because they give out or reflect light into the eye.
  • explain that we see things because light travels from light sources to our eyes or from light sources to objects and then to our eyes.
  • use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain why shadows have the same shape as the objects that cast them.

  • explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object.
  • identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces.
  • recognise that some mechanisms including levers, pulleys and gears allow a smaller force to have a greater effect.

  • associate the brightness of a lamp or the volume of a buzzer with the number and voltage of cells used in the circuit.
  • compare and give reasons for variations in how components function, including the brightness of bulbs, the loudness of buzzers and the on/off position of switches.
  • use recognised symbols when representing a simple circuit in a diagram.

Science Enrichment

The whole school wholeheartedly enjoyed participating in a Science/DT Challenge Day. The children were set a challenge to work in house teams to design and make the tallest tower using marshmallows and spaghetti. Staff and governors worked alongside the children and finished designs were then tested in a whole school assembly. Teesside University organised for KS2 children to have a Stardome in school as an enrichment experience linked to the ‘Earth and Beyond’ topic. Year 6 children had the opportunity to develop their investigative skills through a link with a local secondary school.



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