Science 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 are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice.

They are 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 are encouraged to start using 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. Most of the learning about science is done through the use of first-hand practical experiences, but there is also some use of appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos.

Pupils are taught to read and spell scientific vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word reading and spelling knowledge.

During years 1 and 2, pupils are 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.

Topics Covered include:

  • Plants
  • Animals, including humans
  • Light
  • everyday materials
  • Seasonal changes
  • Uses of materials
  • Living things and their habitats

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 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 are encouraged to 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.

Pupils are also taught to read and spell scientific vocabulary correctly and with confidence, using their growing word reading and spelling knowledge.

During years 3 and 4, pupils are taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
making systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers
gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions
recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

Topics Covered include:

  • Plants
  • Animals, including humans
  • Rocks
  • Light
  • Forces and magnets
  • Electricity
  • Sound
  • States of matter
  • Living things and their habitats

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 will 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.

Pupils are also taught to read, spell and pronounce scientific vocabulary correctly.

During years 5 and 6, pupils are 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.

Topics covered include:

  • Animals, including humans
  • Properties and changes of materials
  • Light
  • Forces
  • Electricity
  • Earth and space
  • Evolution and inheritance
  • Living things and their habitats