Spring 2

Gravity

Pupils will learn how to represent forces using free body diagrams and how to interpret the size and direction of arrows, as well as calculate resultant force when forces are acting in the same direction and in opposite directions. They will then learn about interaction pairs, covering the fundamentals of Newton’s Third Law of Motion. 

Pupils will apply their understanding to springs and investigate deformation as a possible effect of an unbalanced force. They will practice measuring the extension of a spring as well as measuring the force applied using a Newton meter. 

Pupils will also look at resistive forces and the effect these have on the motion of an object. They will learn about drag forces (air resistance and water resistance) as well as friction and be able to explain when each occurs. They will go on to investigate how the type of surface affects the friction experienced by an object, as well as the effect of lubrication. 

How parents can get involved:

  • Use toy cars and explore how long it takes for these toys to travel on different surfaces
  • Investigate strawberry shoelaces: is there a relationship between how much you can stretch them and the number you have in your hand?

Interdependence

Pupils will learn about feeding relationships and develop an understanding of how organisms within a food chain or food web are interdependent. They will also learn about competition between organisms, and how biotic and abiotic factors affect where organisms can live and how they can co-exist. 

How parents can get involved:

  • Go for a walk in the park and identify the different plants and animals
  • Talk about the different animals and plants found in different countries and why we don’t have them in the UK.

Spring 1

Reproduction

This unit introduces pupils to their first specialised organ system, under the big idea ‘characteristics are inherited’. Pupils will learn that all organisms reproduce and be introduced to some of the ways that different organisms do this. Pupils will learn about the role of the reproductive system in the onset of puberty, and have the opportunity to study some of the changes that take place. Pupils will study the menstrual cycle in enough detail to understand the different stages, before studying the process of reproduction in animals. Pupils will also develop an understanding of plant reproduction, learning how different plant structures are specialised to allow for pollination, fertilisation and germination.

How parents can get involved:

  • Discuss the importance of bees for pollination
  • Find out together if twins can have ‘twin telepathy’
  • Discuss how gardeners can use their knowledge of pollination to make plants that are different from their parent plant like the Carolina Reaper chilli

Atoms, elements and compounds

In this unit, pupils will continue to develop an accurate conceptual understanding of the nature of matter. This unit sits under the big idea of ‘Structure Determines Properties’. Pupils will begin to understand that the properties of a substance are directly linked to the type and arrangement of particles that make it up.

Here, pupils are introduced to the fundamental language used to describe substances and the particles that make them. They will learn about and be able to define atoms, elements, compounds and molecules. Pupils will begin to recognise different types of atoms by learning about the periodic table and its structure. They will study metals and non-metals and their general properties. This unit will introduce pupils to compounds and how to recognise a chemical reaction by observation. Pupils will also learn about the hazard symbols, what these can tell us about the substances they are assigned to, and how to treat these substances to minimise the risk to health.

How parents can get involved:

  • Play spot the element with everyday objects and scenarios
  • Show the safety warnings on household chemicals like bleach
  • Watch the YouTube channel periodic videos together for an element of your choice and discover the story of certain elements of your choice

Autumn 2

Forces

Pupils will learn about contact and non-contact forces and different examples of these as part of the big idea ‘forces predict motion’. They will cover magnetism and gravity as examples of non-contact forces in this unit. Pupils will look at the fundamentals of Newton’s First Law of Motion, determining whether forces are balanced or unbalanced based on the motion of the object, and explaining the possible effects of an unbalanced force.

Pupils will learn how to represent forces using free body diagrams and how to interpret the size and direction of arrows, as well as calculate resultant force when forces are acting in the same direction and in opposite directions. They will then learn about interaction pairs, covering the fundamentals of Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Pupils will apply their understanding to springs and investigate deformation as a possible effect of an unbalanced force. They will practise measuring the extension of a spring, as well as measuring the force applied using a Newton meter.

Pupils will also look at resistive forces and the effect these have on the motion of an object. They will learn about drag forces (air resistance and water resistance) as well as friction and be able to explain when each occurs. They will go on to investigate how the type of surface affects the friction experienced by an object, as well as the effect of lubrication.

How parents can get involved:

  • Discuss what happens as you put your foot on the gas pedal when you accelerate a car
  • Using shoelace sweets, investigate how many are needed to hold a mug
  • If you have weighing scales for luggage, you and your child can look at the spring mechanism and weigh different objects.
  • Discuss why people call mass weight

Autumn 1

Cells

This unit introduces pupils to cells as the building blocks of all living things, under the big idea ‘Cells are alive’. Pupils will learn that all living things are composed of cells, both singularly and in multicellular organisms, working together as tissues, organs and organ systems. They will learn that cells become specialised in order to carry out their function and will study different cells under a light microscope. Pupils will discover how plants are different from animals, and how this is reflected in the structure of their cells.

How parents can get involved:

  • Discuss the issues surrounding organ donation and organ transplants
  • Discuss why Stem cells are important

Particles

This unit introduces pupils to particles as the building blocks of all matter, under the big idea ‘structure determines properties’. Pupils will learn how particles are arranged in solids, liquids and gases using the particle model. As this is the first time that pupils are introduced to a model in science, they will discuss why scientists use models, and the benefits and limitations of this particular model. Pupils will learn how to explain the properties of different substances, to represent expansion, melting, boiling, freezing, condensing, density, diffusion and pressure.

As this is the first time that pupils are introduced to a model in science, they will discuss why scientists use models, and the benefits and limitations of this particular model.

How parents can get involved:

  • Float some raisins in lemonade. Question your child on what is happening and then get them to explain why the raisins move up and then down
  • Point out everyday examples where they mimic particle behaviour, for example, tins of beans are stocked on shelves like the arrangement of particles in a solid.