Main points and highlights of the draft science curriculum
Key Stage 1
These years introduce children to life processes, habitats, basic structures and classification of common plants and animals, night and day, forces causing movement, speed change and altered shape, and stories about scientists such as Darwin.
Working scientifically includes observing closely using simple equipment, simple tests, identifying and classifying and recording findings.
Year 1 in brief
Plants: pupils can identify and name a variety of both evergreen and deciduous plants including daisy, oak, and holly, becoming aware of structures such as roots, stem, leaves and flowers
Animals: pupils can identify and name a variety of common animals, (including humans) of all types, those with different diets, describe and name their structures and how they are suited to their environment.
The local environment should be used for these studies.
They will also identify, name, draw and label the basic parts of the human body and explain which parts are associated with the different senses.
Light: pupils will practice naming sources of light, using simple comparisons and comparative vocabulary. They will also describe the movement of the Sun across the sky.
Year 2 in brief
All living things: pupils will learn the differences between living things and those which have never lived, discussing life processes common to plants and animals, and can be introduced to the idea that all living things are made of cells.
Plants: How seeds and bulbs grow; what plants need to keep them healthy. Pupils can show how plants need light and water to stay healthy, but do not need to conduct a fair test or predict outcomes.
Animals including humans: pupils will learn that they have offspring which grow into adults, about basic needs for survival (water, food, air) and the importance for humans of exercise and eating the right amounts of different food types. Growth is covered: reproduction is not until Year 5.
Habitats: pupils should use the local environment regularly to observe the weather, to identify and study plants and animals, and learn about habitats and microhabitats. They should be taught that living things live in habitats which suit them, identify and name plants and animals in a variety of habitats, and describe a simple food chain.
Everyday materials: pupils should learn to distinguish between an object and the material it is made from, to identify and name a variety of everyday materials, compare and group a variety of everyday materials through their simple physical properties, and find out how some solid shapes can be changed. They should also identify and compare the uses of a variety of everyday materials.
Forces and motion: pupils describe how things move at different speeds and vary those speeds using simple comparisons and comparative vocabulary. This does not include forces or energy. This can involve simple tests.
Lower KS2 overview
This should ensure pupils know about a variety of plants and animals, materials and everyday phenomena. They will work scientifically and practically with research methods including books and ICT. Working scientifically includes aspects of setting up simple comparative and fair tests, beginning to make accurate measurements using standard units, recording and reporting on findings, and using results to draw conclusions and make predictions for setting up further tests.
Year 3 in brief
Plants: pupils are introduced to the relationship between plant structure and function; comparing different plants and their requirement; identifying the requirements for life and growth and how nutrients, water and oxygen are transported. A simple test might include putting carnations in coloured water and observing how the water travels up the stem to the flowers.
Animals including humans: more on nutrition; how animals (unlike plants) cannot make their own food; how nutrients, water and oxygen are transported within animals; how some animals have skeletons and muscles for support and movement.
Everyday materials: use tests to explore differences between materials (magnetic, floating, sinking) and compare and group everyday materials on these grounds.
Rocks: pupils understand that there are different kinds of rocks and their properties relate to how they were formed; compare and group together different types, describe simply how fossils are formed.
Sound: pupils identify and name a variety of sound sources and how they are made; use comparisons, comparative vocabulary and superlative vocabulary; develop understanding of patterns of pitch and volume; use comparative tests to explain how sounds are heard; explain that sound travels away from its sources and gets fainter.
Forces and magnets: pupils explore how a push or pull acts on something else; describe how some forces act in contact and others at a distance; explain how gravity pulls things down; describe the use of magnets, and make a magnet.
Year 4 in brief
Classification of living things: pupils use the local environment to identify and study plants and animals, and write with increasing precision about the characteristics associated with classifying plants and animals. This might include flowering and non-flowering plants, vertebrates and invertebrates.
Animals including humans: pupils learn about the digestive system, and simple functions of human teeth.
Habitats: pupils identify and name a variety of living things which can be grouped as predators, consumers, producers, prey herbivores, carnivores and omnivores, including both plants and animals. They also explain feeding relationships in the local environment using food chains and webs.
Evolutions and inheritance: pupils are taught how plants and animals resemble their parents in many features, how the human skeleton has changed over time, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being on two feet rather than four.
States of matter: pupils should be taught to compare and group materials according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases, explain that some materials change state when heated or cooled, and measure the temperature of this in degrees C. They are also taught to compare and give reasons (based on measurements) for changes to the state of water, using correct scientific vocabulary, and identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle. They should regularly practise measuring temperature; testing when water boils and freezes; and practise using the relevant vocabulary.
Light: pupils continue to discuss how light travels from a source to our eyes and should be taught to explain how shadows are made and investigate their size.
Earth and space: Pupils are taught to explain that the Sun is at the centre of our solar system, that it is one of many stars in the galaxy called the Milky Way, and that this is one of a vast number of galaxies in the universe. They also learn about other planets around distant stars, name some constellations, explain the movement of the moon, earth and Sun, and identify the four seasons.
Electricity: Pupils learn how to describe its use to power appliances, construct a simple circuit, explain that some materials conduct electricity, and explain about closed and open circuits. They learn about precautions in working with electricity and draw the circuit as a picture.
Upper KS2 overview
Pupils will know about a variety of plants and animals (including humans), materials and everyday phenomena. Recommended science biographies include David Attenborough, Gerald Durrell, Galen, Sir Isaac Newton, and the Wright Brothers.
Working scientifically now means planning investigations, including controlling variables, taking measurements with increasing accuracy and precision, recording results of increasing complexity, reporting on findings including conclusions, presenting reports in different forms, and continuing to develop the ability to use test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests.
There is emphasis on ensuring pupils read and spell all scientific vocabulary correctly.
Year 5 in brief
Living things: pupils taught to describe life cycles for animals and plants, and describe respiration as the activity that releases energy from food as a fuel, and identify that plants also respire. They will study the local environment as part of this, and use biographies of Attenborough and Durrell.
Animals including humans: pupils identify and name the basic parts and organs of the human circulatory and gaseous exchange systems, and explain their functions. They might compare human organs with those of other animals.
Properties of everyday materials and reversible change: pupils compare and group everyday materials based on comparative and fair tests, including solubility, hardness and insulation. They can explain that some substances will dissolve to form a solution, and how to recover a substance from a solution. They demonstrate dissolving, mixing and change of state are reversible changes. Pupils plan investigations including recognising and controlling variables, and measuring using scientific equipment with precision.
Static electricity and magnetism: pupils are taught that magnets have two poles which attract and repel, and describe the effects of static electricity and how it occurs.
Year 6 in brief
All living things: pupils are taught to explain the classification of living things into broad groups and introducing them to the five kingdoms of all living things, vertebrates, invertebrates and ways of splitting these larger groups into smaller ones. Pupils study their local environment throughout the year and recognise the stages of growth and reproduction in a variety of living things. They compare the life processes of reproduction among plants and animals, and describe the changes as humans develop from birth to old age.
Evolution and inheritance: pupils should be taught to give reasons why living things produce offspring of the same kind but which are often not identical with each other or their parents. Fossils should be used as evidence for evolution.
Changes that form new materials: pupils should learn how some changes result in the formation of new materials and this kind of change is difficult to reverse. These changes can include burning, oxidisation and cooking.
Light: pupils are introduced to the idea that light travels in straight lines so we can think of it as a ray, and go on to understand that we see things because light enters the eye, use a ray box and a prism, and learn about Sir Isaac Newton and the first reflecting telescope. They will learn that the ray model of light explains the size of shadows, and that light can be broken into colours.
Forces: pupils are taught to explain the idea of speed, and determine the distance travelled based on speed and time of travel. They can be introduced to the idea of a mathematical model through speed.
Electricity: pupils identify and name parts of a simple electric series circuit, explain that short circuits may make wires heat up, that fuses are safety devices triggered through short circuits; and explain the effect of changing the voltage of a battery.