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Greenlands Primary


At Greenlands Primary School all children, including SEND and disadvantaged children learn whole school and subject specific concepts through studying different scientific topics.

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

- Carl Sagan 

What Science Looks Like at Greenlands Primary School

The teaching of Science at Greenlands Primary School is underpinned by the National Curriculum and the Greenlands Knowledge and Skills Progression Document.  Knowledge and Skills have been arranged within subject specific themes.  Vocabulary for each topic is identified and explicitly taught to address the recognised ‘word gap’ that exists for many of the children that attend Greenlands Primary School.

Each Scientific topic begins with a ‘hook’ to engage the children and a key question which provides the focus for the topic and gives the topic purpose. The continued revision of whole school concepts and subject specific themes, alongside regular revisiting of previous learning will enable children to know more and remember more.

Concepts and themes running through science

  • Animals including humans
  • Evolution and inheritance
  • Living things and their habitats
  • Plants
  • Materials states of matter
  • Seasonal changes
  • Electricity
  • Forces and magnets
  • Light
  • Sound
  • Rocks
  • Earth and space

Scientific enquiry will be taught through all of these themes, including:

  • asking questions
  • making predictions
  • setting up tests
  • observing and measuring
  • recording data
  • interpreting and communicating results
  • evaluating

Whole school overview



 Science in the reception class is introduced indirectly through activities that encourage the children to explore, problem solve, observe, predict, think, make decisions and talk about the world around them. Children explore creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments. They observe and manipulate objects and materials to identify differences and similarities.

For example, they may look at an egg whisk, sand, paper and water to learn about things that are natural and manmade and their different functions. Children also learn to use their senses, feeling dough or listening to sounds in the environment, such as sirens or farm animals. Children show that they are scientists by knowing about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.

Key Stage 1

Year 1

 Children explore seasonal changes throughout the year with regular observations of the changes that occur across the four seasons. Children observe and describe the weather and compare the changes between the seasons.

In the autumn term children commence their learning with the topic ‘Animals including Humans’. Children compare the structure of a variety of common  animals and explore the diversity of the diets of different eaten.

In the spring term children commence their learning about ‘Everyday Materials’. Children identify and name a variety of materials and compare these so that they can tell the difference between an object and the material it is made from.

In the autumn term children embark on their ‘Plants’ topic during which, they compare and contrast familiar plants and keep records of how plants have changed over time.

Year 2

 In the autumn term children build on the knowledge and skills acquired in year one by completing the topic ‘Uses of Everyday Materials’. Children compare the uses of everyday materials in and around the school with materials found in other places. They observe closely, identifying and classifying the uses of different materials, and record their observations.

In the spring term children build on the knowledge and skills acquired in year one when they complete the topic ‘Living things and their habitats’. Children compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive. They explore the diversity of food that is eaten by animals, and the habitats that they live in.

In the summer term children build on the learning from year one when they cover the topic of ‘Plants’. Children observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants. Pupils observe and record, the growth of a variety of plants as they change over time.

Key Stage 2

Year 3

In the autumn term children begin their learning about ‘Light’.  Children learn that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light. They notice that light is reflected from surfaces and that light from the sun can be dangerous and that there are ways to protect their eyes. Children recognise that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object and they find patterns in the way that the size of shadows change. Children then move onto ‘Animals including Humans’ and build on the knowledge and skills from year one.  Children identify that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition (diversity), and that they cannot make their own food; they get nutrition from what they eat. They identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement . Children identify and group animals with and without skeletons and compare their movement.

In the spring term children start with the topic ‘Rocks’. Children compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties. They describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock and recognise that soils are made from rocks and organic matter. This unit of science links with the children’s learning in history around the Stone Age. Children then move onto ‘Forces and Magnets’. Children compare how things move on different surfaces and learn that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance. Children observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others. They 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. They describe magnets as having two poles and predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, depending on which poles are facing.

In the summer term children build on their learning from year 2 and 3 when they cover the topic of ‘Plants’. Children identify describe and compare the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers. They explore the requirements of plants for life and growth (air, light, water, nutrients from soil, and room to grow) and how these vary from plant to plant. Children investigate the way in which water is transported within plants and explore the significance that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

Year 4

In the autumn term children build on their knowledge and skills from year two when they cover the topic of ‘Living Things and their Habitats’. Children learn that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways. They explore and use classification keys and name a variety of living things in their environment. They investigate the power that humans have had on environments (both positive and negative) and recognise that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things. Children then build on their knowledge and skills from years one, two and three when they cover the topic ‘Animals including humans’. Children describe the simple functions of the basic parts of the digestive system in humans, identify the different types of teeth in humans and compare their simple functions. They construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey.

In the spring term children cover the topic ‘States of Matter’ Children 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). They identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature.  Children then move onto the topic of ‘Sound’. Children identify how sounds are made and learn that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear. They find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it andfind patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it. Children recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases.

 In the summer term children begin their learning about ‘Electricity’. Children  identify common appliances that run on electricity,  construct a simple series electrical circuit, identify whether or not a lamp will light in a simple series circuit, recognise that a switch opens and closes a circuit and recognise and compare some common conductors and insulators, and associate metals with being good conductors.

Year 5

In the autumn term children build on their knowledge and skills about materials in year one and year two when they complete the topic ‘Properties and Changes of Materials’. Children compare and group together everyday materials (hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity electrical and thermal, and response to magnets). They learn that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution. They use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated (filtering, sieving and evaporating). Children give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic. They demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes but 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.

In the spring term children begin their learning with the topic ‘Earth and Space’.  Children describe and compare 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, and use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.

In the summer term children build on their knowledge and skills in year three when they complete the topic of ‘Forces’. Children learn the significance of gravity and that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object. They identify and compare the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction that act between moving surfaces and recognise that some mechanisms, including levers, pulleys and gears, allow a smaller force to have a greater effect.

Year 6

In the autumn term children build on their learning in year four when they complete the topic of ‘Electricity’. Children learn that the brightness of a lamp or the volume of a buzzer is dependent on the number and voltage of cells used in the circuit. They 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. Children use recognised symbols when representing a simple circuit in a diagram.

In the spring term children build on and apply all of their knowledge and skills from previous years when they complete the topic ‘Animals including Humans’. Children identify and name the significant parts of the human circulatory system, and describe the functions of the heart, blood vessels and blood. They recognise the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function and describe the ways in which nutrients and water are transported within animals, including humans.

In the autumn term children build on what they have learnt about fossils in the year three topic ‘Rocks’ when they complete the topic ‘Evolution and Inheritance’. Children recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago. They recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents. Children identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution.