We aim to deliver a high quality science education which enables learners to :

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
  • be equipped with the scientific skillsrequired to understand the uses and implications of science, today and in the future.


We understand that children are naturally curious and we encourage this inquisitive nature. Science fosters a healthy curiosity in children about our universe and promotes respect for the living and non-living. As we follow the programmes of study in the National Curriculum, children will acquire and develop these skills throughout their primary years. We ensure that Scientific Enquiry skills are built-on and developed throughout their time at Whirley so that they can use equipment, conduct experiments, build arguments and explain concepts confidently and continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings.


Science Rationale


In Reception we build on knowledge gained in pre-school settings and home environments. Children develop a range of scientific skills through continuous provision and adult led activities. Children enjoy Welly Walks where we discover plants, animals, natural and found objects and discuss them with reference to what they can hear, see, touch, feel and smell. Over time we take note of the different seasons and look at growth, decay and changes over time. Children learn why some of these things occur, and talk about change, recording their observations through images and words. The children enjoy our playdoh table where they develop scientific enquiry skills, ask questions and develop an enquiring mind. “What happens if….” The children enjoy regular baking opportunities where they watch materials change form, such as pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and melting chocolate to make Easter Krispy Cakes. Finally, the children learn to care for living things, such as worms in the mud kitchen, beanstalks that we plant and our stick insects in the classroom.


Year 1

During term 1 of Year 1, we build on our scientific knowledge of the human body gained in Reception by identifying, naming and labelling the basic parts of the body and associate the body parts with senses. Building upon our observation of animals in Reception, we begin to compare and contrast animals, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, where we begin to group common animals into carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.

In Term 2, we begin to build upon our knowledge of basic materials from Reception and start to identify, name and classify different materials, describing their properties using the appropriate vocabulary. We also compare and group a variety of everyday materials based on the properties we have already covered and perform a variety of simple tests using these materials. We study the inventions of Charles Mactintosh, looking particularly at the importance of the material he used.

In Term 3, children build upon their understanding of looking after plants and can identify a variety of common plants thinking about where these would be found. Children can describe the basic structure of a variety of plants and can compare the similarities and differences of these. Children are also given the opportunity to grow their own plants in order to keep a record of how plants change over time.

Having been introduced to seasons in Y1, children observe the changes across the four seasons and describe the weather associated with the season using tables and charts.


Year 2

Building on from the work in Year 1 (where children have learnt about different groups of animals and specifically about humans and the names of their body parts), a detailed study of humans is carried out. This allows the children to find out about the basic needs of a human and how a human grows and stays healthy.

In Term 2 the children also build on the knowledge they developed in Year 1 about different groups of animals. Using our local environment and comparing it with habitats from other continents (to support our work in Geography) the children learn how animals are suited to these environments and understand what the habitat provides for them. This then allows the children to build up an understanding of how animals depend on each other and they show this by building up simple food chains.

In the final term, the children build on their knowledge of plants to investigate the conditions required for healthy growth.

The focus on materials is on their suitability for a particular purpose and how their shape can be changed. Research is carried out to see how humans have been able to develop new materials to meet their requirements and the impact these new developments have had.


Year 3

During term 1, children build upon the knowledge they were taught in Year 2 (based on naming materials and grouping according to their properties) and move forward by focusing on the structures and properties of different materials. Children are introduced to magnets where they learn to group materials which are magnetic and non-magnetic, how and why magnets can attract or repel and also how a surface will impact on how an object moves across it. Children learn about making predictions and fair testing as well as looking at results and drawing up conclusions. Following on from forces and magnets, children learn about the different types of materials and properties in rocks, soils and fossil formation.

In term 2, children are introduced to a new area of study ‘Light and Dark’. Children learn about the importance of light and how light can reflect from different materials and surfaces. Children are taught about the dangers of the sun and the importance of how to protect themselves from it. Children then move onto shadows where they learn that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object. Children learn all of this through exploring, investigating and measuring.

We then move onto our next unit where we focus on ‘Plants’. Building on from the work in Year 2 (where children have learnt to describe the conditions required for a seed to germinate and for a plant to grow and stay healthy), children are taught how to describe functions of different parts of plants of requirements for a plant to survive. They also learn about pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

In the final term, a detailed study of the human body and skeleton is carried out. Children learn about the main body parts associated with the skeleton and muscles and are taught how to describe some of their functions. Following on from this they are then able to group animals according to whether they have a skeleton. Additionally, children learn about healthy eating and the importance of a healthy diet. They do this through designing meals which fulfil requirements of a healthy diet.



Science rationale for Y4

Children begin by differentiating between the three states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. This unit involves practical and experimental work encouraging the children to make careful and systematic observations and use results to draw simple conclusions. Crossing over with our geography learning, children gain  knowledge of the water cycle and the science behind the terms evaporation, condensation and precipitation.

Building upon knowledge from previous years, children then go on to learn about animals including humans, with specific focus on the parts and functions of the human digestive system and teeth. Children work scientifically by comparing teeth of herbivores and carnivores as well as investigating what damages teeth.

Children then begin learning about how sounds are made and how they travel to the ear. They explore the patterns between pitch and features through practical investigation with instruments from the wind, string and percussion family. Children also study the relationship between the volume of sound and the strength of vibrations. Children even have a go at making their own telephones from string and plastic cups and test them out on the field with a partner!

During the electricity unit, children construct simple series circuits using different components such as bulbs, buzzers, motors and switches. They draw the circuits pictorially leading them up to drawing the conventional symbols required when in year 6. Through investigations, children observe patterns in circuits. Additionally, they become familiar with the terms conductor and insulator and test materials, separating them into one of the two groups.

Taking advantage of the warmer weather, the science focus in summer involves fieldwork where children identify and study plants and animals in Whirley’s habitat. Building on their learning in Key Stage 1 the children learn what specific features to look for when grouping vertebrates into fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals; and invertebrates into snails and slugs, worms, spiders and insects.  During this unit, children consider the effect of human impact on environments, both positive and negative, and create a bespoke guide about the plants and animals that can be found in Whirley’s environment.


Rationale for Science – Year 5

Within Year 5 a variety of teaching and learning styles are used in science lessons. The principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding and to develop an enquiring mind. We encourage children to ask and answer scientific questions and wherever possible, we encourage the children to use and apply their learning in everyday situations.

Children will begin the school year by learning all about Earth and Space. Within this unit, children will learn the names of the planets, research and compare time of day at different places on Earth, create models showing the solar system and explore time by constructing shadow clocks. Practical work will support developing investigation skills, activities include: the effects of air/water resistance, friction and gravity.

Building upon knowledge from previous years, children will move on to learn about materials and their properties. Children will explore, research and discuss how chemical changes have an impact on our lives, and the creative use of new materials such as polymers, super-sticky and super-thin materials. They will investigate reversable changes, for example; evaporating, filtering, sieving, melting and dissolving, and recognise that melting and dissolving are different processes. Furthermore, they will explore changes that are difficult to reverse, for example; burning, rusting.

Children will then move on to the unit living things and their habitats. Children will observe and compare the life cycles of plants and animals in their local environment with other plants and animals around the world (in the rainforest, in the oceans, in desert areas). They will explore the work of David Attenborough and Jane Goodall and learn about the different types of reproduction in plants and animals.



Year 6

We begin the year studying evolution and inheritance. The children are given the opportunity to study variation in offspring and learn how animals and plants adapt to their environment overtime which may lead to evolution. During these studies the children learn about the work of eminent palaeontologists such as Mary Anning and about how Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace developed their ideas on evolution.

The children build on their learning in Year 3 on the subject of light. Making periscopes and shadow puppets allows the children to enjoy learning how light travels and the relationship between light sources, objects and shadows. Phenomena relating to light, including rainbows, is explored and discussed to develop more enquiring minds.

In term 3 a significant amount of previous learning is drawn upon as the children study the human circulatory system and how nutrients and water are transported within animals. The children are given the opportunity to present their learning on the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function. Presentations draw upon skills they have developed in both English and Computing lessons.

Building on the foundations of Science lessons in Year 2 and 4, the children classify animals into commonly found invertebrates and vertebrates before using classification systems and keys to identify different animals and plants.

Again, building on studies about electricity in Year 4, the children learn to use formal scientific symbols when representing a circuit. Through hands on experience the children learn about the impact of changing a component in a circuit, learning that the voltage of cells directly impacts on brightness of bulbs and volume in buzzers.

Assessment in Science

When creating the short-term plans for the teaching and learning, essential knowledge, as cited on the curriculum maps, is referenced and retrieval practices implemented  – to know more and to remember more. 

Over the period of study the children will be encouraged to ‘bridge back’ retrieving their prior learning and over time, being able to explain links and develop a deeper understanding of the science learned across key stages.

At the end of a unit of study the children are tasked with completing a low stakes quiz – these may be multiple choice or short answers. These quizzes will be revisited later to ensure retention is true. The scores will determine whether the child has been able to know more and remember more. 

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Whirley Primary School

Whirley RoadMacclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3JL

Rebecca Gregory | SEN Contact

01625 783815