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SCIENCE at Charlestown

The Charlestown science curriculum is taught through the National Curriculum expectations.

‘Working scientifically’ specifies the understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science for each year group. Our curriculum is designed to enhance the progress of pupils’ knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics alongside their working scientifically skills focusing on the key features of scientific enquiry, so that pupils learn to use a variety of approaches to answer relevant scientific questions.



Why study this concept?


The children begin in the Early Years, exploring the living world around them. They are given opportunities to see a variety of animals and plants and identify different parts of a human’s body. Key Stage One progresses further to identify different plants and animals and understand that humans are also an animal. They develop their knowledge of how animals and plants survive and compare similarities and differences in what animals eat and the habitats they live in. Key Stage Two extends their knowledge by learning about the functions of the human body and identifying similarities and differences between humans and other animals. They recognise how, through cause and effect, changes in an environment impact living things and can link this to evolution.


Using the world around them, Early Years explore changes in weather and develop vocabulary to help them discuss observations they make. They are given experiences of light, forces and sound. During Key Stage one, children identify the different seasons, considering how it affects living things and how daylight and weather are affected. Building on previous knowledge, Key Stage Two looks deeper into natural phenomena such as light, sound, electricity and forces enabling them to have a greater understanding of the world they live in. They understand our place in the solar system and how cause and effect impacts on time.  


Exploring and interacting with a range of materials starts in Early Years, where children are able to explore and develop vocabulary. Scientific vocabulary of material extends in Key Stage one as the children begin to describe basic properties of a range of materials. They observe cause and effect through supported enquiries making decisions about the suitability of materials for different jobs. In Key Stage Two, understanding the properties of rocks and soils, changing states and the water cycle develops pupils' knowledge about how changes in environments can have a big impact, in a variety of ways, to the world they live in. This will progress towards identifying how the relationship between rocks and fossils support our understanding of evolution. Extending the vocabulary used in materials allows Key Stage Two pupils to make decisions around suitability of materials and the effects changes can have on different materials; reversible and irreversible.

Working Scientifically

Children in Early Years are encouraged to develop their scientific skills

through asking questions and making observations. With support, these questioning skills are developed in Key Stage One and children create and complete simple tests allowing for observations, taking measurements and recording of data. With guidance, pupils use their findings to help them answer questions. Independence in scientific skills enhances pupil’s ability to create child led enquiries in Key Stage Two. Pupils take careful measurements and use data from enquiries they plan and evaluate their results raising further questions and predictions. Pupils use prior knowledge to make judgements on how best to communicate their findings.





National Curriculum Expectations SCIENCE

Key Stage one

To ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.

To observe closely, using simple equipment.

To perform simple tests.

To identify and classifying.

To use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.

To gather and record data to help in answering questions.

To identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees.

To identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees.

To observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants.

To find out and describe how plants need water, light and a suitable temperature to grow and stay healthy.

To identify and name a variety of common animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

To identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.

To describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, including pets).

To identify, name, draw and label the basic parts of the human body and say which part of the body is associated with each sense.

notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults

To find out about and describe the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival (water, food and air).

To describe the importance for humans of exercise, eating the right amounts of different types of food, and hygiene.

To distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made.

To identify and name a variety of everyday materials, including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water, and rock.

To describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials.

To compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties.

To observe changes across the four seasons.

To observe and describe weather associated with the seasons and how day length varies.



National Curriculum Expectations SCIENCE

Lower Key Stage 


To ask relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.

To set up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests.

To make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers.

To gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions.

To record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables.

To report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.

To use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.

To identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.

To use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

To identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers.

To explore the requirements of plants for life and growth (air, light, water, nutrients from soil, and room to grow) and how they vary from plant to plant.

To investigate the way in which water is transported within plants.

To explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

To identify that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition, and that they cannot make their own food; they get nutrition from what they eat.

To identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement.

To recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways.

To describe the simple functions of the basic parts of the digestive system in humans.

To identify the different types of teeth in humans and their simple functions.

To construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey.

To explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment.

To recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

To recognise that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light.

To notice that light is reflected from surfaces.

To recognise that light from the sun can be dangerous and that there are ways to protect their eyes.

To recognise that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object.

To find patterns in the way that the size of shadows change.

To compare how things move on different surfaces.

To notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance.

To observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others.

To compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet, and identify some magnetic materials.

To describe magnets as having two poles.

To predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, depending on which poles are facing.

To identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with something vibrating.

To recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear.

To find patterns between the pitch of a sound and features of the object that produced it.

To find patterns between the volume of a sound and the strength of the vibrations that produced it.

To recognise that sounds get fainter as the distance from the sound source increases.

To identify common appliances that run on electricity.

To construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers.

To identify whether or not a lamp will light in a simple series circuit, based on whether or not the lamp is part of a complete loop with a battery.

To recognise that a switch opens and closes a circuit and associate this with whether or not a lamp lights in a simple series circuit.

To recognise some common conductors and insulators, and associate metals with being good conductors.


National Curriculum Expectations SCIENCE

Upper Key Stage 


To plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary.

To take measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate.

To record data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs.

To use test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests.

To report 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.

To identify scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.

To describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird.

To describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals.

To describe the changes as humans develop to old age.

To describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including micro-organisms, plants and animals.

To give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.

To identify and name the main parts of the human circulatory system, and describe the functions of the heart, blood vessels and blood.

To recognise the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function. 

To describe the ways in which nutrients and water are transported within animals, including humans.

To recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago. To recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents .

To identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution.

To compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets.

To know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution.

To use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating.

To give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic.

To demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes.

To explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible, including changes associated with burning and the action of acid on bicarbonate of soda.

To associate the brightness of a lamp or the volume of a buzzer with the number and voltage of cells used in the circuit. 

To compare and give reasons for variations in how components function, including the brightness of bulbs, the loudness of buzzers and the on/off position of switches.

To use recognised symbols when representing a simple circuit in a diagram.

To recognise that light appears to travel in straight lines. 

To use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain that objects are seen because they give out or reflect light into the eye.

To explain that we see things because light travels from light sources to our eyes or from light sources to objects and then to our eyes.

To use the idea that light travels in straight lines to explain why shadows have the same shape as the objects that cast them.

To describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system.

To describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth.

To describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies.

To use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.

To explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object.

To identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces.

To recognise that some mechanisms, including levers, pulleys and gears, allow a smaller force to have a greater effect.

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