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Topics and skills covered

The Early Years Foundation Stage

In their Reception year, children follow the 'Development Matters' milestones. Science knowledge and understanding is in the section: Understanding the World. The end of year expectation is for each child to reach the Early Learning Goal (ELG) in this section detailed below: 


ELG: Children know 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. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.


They will be taught basic scientific skills (on the same lines as those detailed below) and will experience lots of interesting scientific topics.


Topics covered: 

Children in each class follow a rolling program over two years. They will cover all of the topics by the time they leave Church Lench First School. The table below details the science topics covered in each class. 


Topics covered:


Plants, animals including humans, everyday materials, seasonal changes.


Rocks and soils, living things and their habitats, animals including humans, light, plants, everyday materials, forces and magnets.


Earth and space, forces, sound, electricity, animals including humans, living things and their habitats, states of matter, plants, properties and changes of materials.


Science topics are taught as much as possible through our main class topics. For example, when learning about the seaside in Class 1, children would be taught about the structure of different fish and how they are adapted to the level of the ocean that they live in. In our toys topic, we look at the different materials toys are made from and complete experiements about wind up toys to look at predicting and fair testing. 

Science Skills

From Years 1 to 5, the children are taught key scientific skills to allow them to explore and gain a good understanding of different scientific concepts. These skills are planned into each topic that the children will cover in science lessons and are differentiated for each year group. 


Each skill has a 'Plan, do and review' section. Key skills with some examples:


Observation over time- Children may watch plants grow from seeds, mould grow on bread (for 'germ type' experiments), chickens hatch from eggs or how shadows change over the day/month/season. They would record data over time to look at changes. 


Identifying and classifying- Children will be taught how to use different sorting diagrams such as Venn or Carroll diagrams up to sorting keys and branching databases. They will look for similarities and differences between groups of items, animals or plants. 


Pattern seeking- Children will work on collecting data using a range of sources e.g. measures, observation or data loggers. They will record this data in a variety of ways (tables, graphs etc.) to look for patterns and be able to draw conclusions. 


Research- Children are given, or may decide upon an area to research and will use primary and secondary sources to find answers to questions. 


Fair testing- Children will design experiments and learn how to control variables so that their test is fair. They will work on the skills of predicting, working out methods, collecting/presenting results and drawing conclusions. 


Here is an example of one of these key skills broken down into Plan, do and review for a child in one of the year groups in Key Stage 2: 


Key skill: Identifying and classifying.


Plan: I will talk about what criteria I will use to sort and classify things. I will decide what information and equipment to use to identify and classify things. I will talk about things that can be grouped and decide when questions can be answered by sorting and classifying. 

Do: I can use Carroll diagrams, Venn diagrams and more complex tables to sort things. I can use simple keys and branching databases to identify things. I can make my own branching databases for things that have clear differences.

Review: I can draw conclusions about the things that I have sorted and classified. I can talk about the similarities and differences that I have identified using scientific language. I can suggest improvements to the way I sort and identify things.