Science – Junior

At Toftwood Junior School, we believe science is a vital part of children’s learning, enabling them to gain an understanding of how the world around them works.

In our school each class has a weekly science lesson linked to topics where possible covering the science objectives in the National Curriculum (Sept. 2013, updated May 2015). Scientific enquiry skills are emphasised and addressed in each lesson.

Lessons have clear learning intentions, which are shared and reviewed with the pupils. A variety of strategies, including questioning, discussion, concept mapping and marking, are used to assess progress. Activities inspire the pupils to experiment and investigate scientific subject matter and to help them raise their own questions such as “Why…?”, “How…?” and “What happens if…?” Activities develop the skills of enquiry, observation, locating sources of information, selecting appropriate equipment and using it safely, measuring and checking results, making comparisons and communicating results and findings. Pupils have regular opportunities to develop their skills and show progress in their approach to enquiry throughout their time with us.

A range of enrichment activities and visits take place to enhance the children’s science learning e.g. Sculthorpe Moor as part of “Living things and their habitats” and Year 5 were able to study borrowed “moon rocks” for “Earth and space”. These activities provide the children with further opportunities to develop their skills of observation and encourages the generation of independent questions.

Science Core Knowledge for Key Stage 2

The National Curriculum Objectives are grouped into the following areas:

  • Year 3 – plants, animals including humans, rocks, light and, forces and magnets.
  • Year 4 – living things and their habitats, animals including humans, states of matter, sound and electricity.
  • Year 5 – living things and their habitats, animals including humans, properties and changes of materials, forces and, Earth and space.
  • Year 6 – living things and their habitats, animals including humans, evolution and inheritance, light and electricity.

The main focus in all of our science work is to encourage children to work scientifically in all the areas of study. This approach means that children are constantly asking questions about the new ideas they meet and then deciding how they can find answers which are sensible and convincing. As they move through Key Stage 2, they develop their questions from the simple to more complex. Along with this, the ways in which they choose to investigate their ideas also progresses from using straightforward scientific evidence to identifying evidence which both supports and refutes their ideas.

Since asking questions is a vital part of scientific enquiry, you can support your child at home by asking them questions about what they have been learning in science. You might just find your kitchen turning into a laboratory!!

For example, you could ask:

  • “How do you know that is true?”
  • “Can you show me something which proves that?”
  • “Can you give me another example?”
  • “I’m not sure that’s true, can you give me another example?”

Science Summer 2018

Year 3

Year 3 have learnt lots of interesting facts within their science lessons this term. We began by learning about different scientists and inventors and researched the discoveries they made. We learnt that William Smith used fossils to find the age of rocks and then set up an experiment to show different materials being separated into layers. We also learnt about Marie Curie and her involvement in the introduction of X-RAYS. We had a radiographer visit our classes and tell us about her job taking X-Rays. She was able to show us different X-Ray pictures of broken bones and we enjoyed guessing which bone was being shown on the X-Ray. We used our knowledge to create our own X-Ray pictures using black paper and art straws and explained what function the bone we created had.

After the half term, we started our Fantastic Beasts topic and looked at different animals including humans. We looked at how living things obtain food and discussed the different food groups, thinking about the importance of a balanced diet. We also discussed the importance of the different nutrients as well. As part of our topic we visited Banham Zoo and learnt about the different types of skeleton and the reasons why animals need skeletons. We were able to hold different animals and discuss the skeleton is has and also what food it would need to eat in order to survive. We continued our learning in school and labelled the different bones on an outline of a person using both the common names such as ‘skull’ and scientific names such as ‘cranium’. We learnt more about the functions of bones: support, movement and protection and labelled the bones based on their function.

Year 4

In the last term, our science focus in year 4 has been on biology. At the start of the term, the children were thinking about how we classify all living organisms into different groups. They developed their observational skills by looking carefully at the features of a variety of organisms and deciding which of the five kingdoms of life they belonged to. When working scientifically, they also surveyed our school field to find out which different types of plants they could identify and to answer the question “Are daises or dandelions more common on our field?” In the second half of the term, the pupils have been looking more closely at the animal kingdom and learning about eating and digestion. They have particularly been focussing on the names and function of the organs of the human digestive system. Finally, we looked at food chains and considered the events which can cause animals to become threatened by losing their sources of food.

As well as all this, on STEM Day, we investigated human fingerprints. The children took their own fingerprints and examined them carefully to determine which of type of fingerprint they had (arch, whorl or loop). They went on to use the data they collected for their class to find out if the fingerprints of children in year 4 showed the same ratios as the rest of the population. They constructed graphs and charts to show what they had discovered.


By Anais and Kobe

By Sam and Emily

Year 5

This term in Year 5 we have been learning about different Animal Life Cycles. We have looked at the parts and functions of flowering plants and even had a go at growing our own plants. We took cuttings from the parent plant so that the new plant produced was a clone of the parent. We have enjoyed watching these changes over the last few weeks. We discovered that there are three different types of mammals; marsupials, monotremes and placentals. They all have different characteristics and we used the internet to safely research the life cycles of these different mammals. We had great fun in creating and performing a TV advert that was designed to persuade the audience to donate money to the Jane Goodall institute for all her hard work with chimpanzees. Year 5 have also been exploring metamorphosis. We looked at animals that go through metamorphosis and compared these with those that do not. Year 5 have been asking many meaningful questions to support their learning and have learnt lots of new scientific vocabulary!

Year 6

This term, year 6 have been learning about living things in their environments. The children classified animals according to specific characteristics (for example 2 legs/more than 2 legs or mammal/not mammal), created a classification system and identified the features of mammals, reptiles, crustaceans and the other animal groups. They really enjoyed creating a new creature which had features of more than one animal group, which they then had to describe.

We also learnt about micro-organisms, in particular viruses, bacteria and fungi, and planned and carried out an investigation into the conditions which best encourage the growth of mould on bread.

Year 6 have also done some cross curricular work involving art, as we studied and sketched plants living in their habitats within the school environment. In addition, we enjoyed learning about fingerprints and how they are used to solve crimes on our STEM day in June. We then used our own finger prints to create some pictures.

Spring 2018

Year 3

During the topic “Stone Age”, Year 3 studied rocks. The children compared different types of rocks and worked scientifically to sort them into groups depending on their properties. They also thought about what you could use different rocks for and explained their ideas. Year 3 were even able to look at some ancient bones!

Year 4

In Year 4, the children have been thinking about electricity including where we get it, what we use it for and how it moves. They have used scientific thinking to make simple, complete circuits and crazy ones too!

The children also thought about different ways to generate electricity and took part in a competition to design and build wind turbines. They had to use their scientific knowledge to help them create the most effective machine.

Year 5

In the Spring term, Year 5 investigated forces. This has meant they have been thinking about their previous learning on space including gravity and air resistance. The children also really enjoyed the visit from a Northgate High School teacher when they had to think about all the forces a spacesuit has to cope with. The children carried out tests so that they could design their own suit.

Year 6

In Year 6, the children have been learning about Evolution and Inheritance. They have thought about why different plants and animals look the way they do and why some organisms are better at surviving in different habitats. They even had a go at showing how evolution happens to change the way a bird’s beak looks if they need to eat different foods and how their wings might change. Some of the “evolved birds” were not as successful at picking up food and might even have become extinct!!

Autumn 2017

Year 3

Year 3 have been thinking about light, why we need it, how it moves and how to keep safe around light. They have investigated how light behaves with different materials.

Year 3 also enjoyed thinking about how scientific ideas have been used by people for thousands of years. As part of their learning in history, they followed the methods of the Ancient Egyptians to see if the materials they used for mummification really worked – they did! Don’t worry, they only mummified tomatoes, not people!

Year 4

Year 4 have been thinking about the properties of different materials. They have learned about the three states of matter and used their understanding to explain how they know if an item is solid, liquid or gas. They practiced using the correct scientific vocabulary to explain their ideas.

They also learned about the water cycle and how the water we drink today was also drunk by dinosaurs! The children made a working water cycle in a bag – wow!

Year 5

Year 5 have been thinking BIG! The children have been studying the Earth and space and have discovered just how big our solar system is by making our own version in school. They needed to work as a team and check their measurements really carefully to be sure they got the correct size.

The children have also thought about ways to show that the Earth is moving around the sun. We used changes in shadows as a way to demonstrate what is happening. To do this, we needed to work accurately to set up a reliable investigation and to draw and measure carefully to show what we had found out.

Year 6

In Year 6, the children have been extending their understanding of light and how it works. They have been learning more about how light travels to our eyes and posing questions they would like to discover the answers to. The children challenged themselves to come up with different ways to investigate the properties of light and then carried out their own experiments. They worked together in teams, used different ways to measure including using dataloggers and recorded their findings in order to explain to someone else what had been discovered.

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