Science


Purpose of study

A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

Aims

To ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

Scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding

The programmes of study describe a sequence of knowledge and concepts. While it is important that pupils make progress, it is also vitally important that they develop secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Insecure, superficial understanding will not allow genuine progression: pupils may struggle at key points of transition (such as between primary and secondary school), build up serious misconceptions, and/or have significant difficulties in understanding higher-order content.

Pupils will be able to describe associated processes and key characteristics in common language, but they should also be familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately and precisely. They will build up an extended specialist vocabulary. They will also apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science, including collecting, presenting and analysing data.

Attainment targets

By the end of each key stage, pupils will know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

Key Stage 1

The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. They will be encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They will be helped to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They will begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. 

Pupils will read and spell scientific vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word reading and spelling knowledge at key stage 1.

Year 1 Programme of Study

Plants

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Animals, including humans

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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, including 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.

Everyday materials

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Seasonal changes

Pupils will be taught to:

  • observe changes across the four seasons
  • observe and describe weather associated with the seasons and how day length varies. 

Year 2 Programme of Study

Living things and their habitats

Pupils will be taught to:

explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive
identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other
identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including micro-habitats
describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain. 

Plants

Pupils will be taught to:

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

Animals, including humans

Pupils will be taught to:

  • notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults
  • find out about and describe the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival (water, food and air)
  • describe the importance for humans of exercise, eating the right amounts of different types of food, and hygiene.

Uses of everyday materials

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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 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 will 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 will 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 will draw simple conclusions and use some scientific language, first, to talk about and, later, to write about what they have found out.

Year 3 Programme of Study

Plants

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Animals, including humans

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Rocks

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Light

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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 an opaque object
  • find patterns in the way that the size of shadows change.

Forces and magnets

Pupils will be taught to:

  • compare how things move on different surfaces
  • notice that some forces need contact between two 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 two poles

Year 4 Programme of Study

Living things and their habitats

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

States of matter

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Sound

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Electricity

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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

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 will 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 will encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They will also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They will 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 will 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.

Pupils will read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly.

Upper Key Stage 2 Programme of Study

During years 5 and 6, pupils will be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

  • planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  • taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  • recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
  • using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  • reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations
  • identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.

Year 5 Programme of Study

Living things and their habitats

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Animals, including humans

Pupils will be taught to:

  • describe the changes as humans develop to old age.

Properties and changes of materials

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Earth and space

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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 Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.

Forces

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Year 6 Programme of Study

Living things and their habitats

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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

Pupils should be taught to:

  • 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.

Evolution and inheritance

Pupils will be taught to:

  • 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.

Light

Pupils should be taught to:

  • 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.

Electricity

Pupils should be taught to:

  • 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.