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what we are going to learn this term

 

Our learning for Spring Half-term 2 (Feb- Mar) is exciting and inspiring.
Please see below for a detailed breakdown of the content covered in each year group:

Year 3

Plants

 

In this unit, pupils will look more closely at flowering plants, their features and the functions of their features. They will look at specific species including hydrangea and cacti and there is scope for including flowering plants that grow in the local area if relevant. Pupils will learn that the scientific study of plants is called botany and that what we understand about plants comes from contributions from many botanists over the years (disciplinary knowledge). In the first lesson, children will learn about Joseph Banks, the famous botanist who gathered over 30,000 plant specimens on his travels around the world with Captain Cook (pupils will learn about Captain Cook in Year 5 Geography when they Study Australia) and Agnes Arber, who was one of the first women to be recognised for her contribution to botany.

 

Year 4

Light

This unit builds on knowledge from Year 3 Light, particularly around how the eye sees as they focus on how the ear hears in this unit. In this unit pupils will learn that sound is caused by a back-and-forth movement: a vibration. A vibrating object will make the particles of air around it vibrate too. The air particles, which are pushed one way, push neighbouring particles in the same way, and then bounce back, so the vibration spreads outwards. This vibration spreading outwards is what we call sound. How far away you can hear a sound depends on its volume. This is to do with the amplitude (size) of the vibration. A quiet sound, like a whisper, doesn’t travel very far. But a really loud sound can travel for hundreds of miles. Pupils will learn that more than a hundred years ago when a volcano exploded on the island of Krakatoa, the sound could be heard in Australia, almost three thousand miles away. This will be linked to their knowledge of world geography. Pupils will learn that when you sing a high note, your vocal cords vibrate very fast, hundreds of times a second. We call this a high frequency sound, and we hear it as high pitch. When you sing a low note, your vocal cords vibrate more slowly. Lower frequency vibrations make a sound with a lower pitch. This will link to their learning in Music. Pupils will work scientifically by investigating the different sounds made by vibrations using a range of objects, including musical instruments. They will ask and answer questions and explain what they find out using scientific writing and diagrams.

Year 5

Forces

This unit builds on learning from Year 3 Forces and Magnets, giving children the opportunity to build on their knowledge of forces such as pushes and pulls. Pupils will learn that forces can make things increase their speed, reduce their speed, change direction or change shape. They will study gravity, friction, air resistance and water resistance, looking at ways in which all of these forces act upon objects such as parachutes, boats and footballs. Pupils will work scientifically to plan and undertake an investigation to see how water and air resistance act in opposition to gravity. They will use two identical pieces of paper and drop them from a height, recording the time it takes for the paper to reach the ground using a stopwatch. Since both pieces of paper have the same mass, the force of gravity will be the same. If we fold or crumple one piece of paper, the force of gravity pulling on it remains the same as the mass is the same. However, the force of air resistance slowing down the paper falling will differ as this depends on surface area. In this investigation, the variable is the surface area of the paper. Pupils will have the opportunity to research scientists who worked on developing our understanding of forces, such as Isaac Newton. They will consider how understanding forces is vital to many different roles today.

Year 6

Light

This unit builds on directly from Year 3 Light. It is really important to check how much prior knowledge children come to this unit with, and if necessary, clarify conceptual understanding about how light behaves. If pupils have not studied the Year 3 unit on light, please read it, and adjust lesson 1 of this unit to cover content such as light sources and how shadows are made. In this unit, pupils will look more closely at light and how it behaves. They will learn that light is the visible part of a spectrum of energy. Pupils will be reminded that some surfaces reflect light, some allow it to pass through them and some block it. They will look again at shadows and how light travels. Pupils will test the hypothesis that shadows are always the same shape as the object that made them. They will work scientifically to plan how to test the hypothesis, before carrying it out. Pupils will also look at how the eye functions, how light travels through it and how our brain receives messages from the eye. Going beyond the national curriculum requirements, pupils will also look at prisms and how they split white light into its constituent colours. This will give pupils some prior knowledge when they come to study the different frequencies of light and prisms in KS3 Physics. Unit Rationale Light (Physics) Year 6 Finally, pupils will use their knowledge of how light behaves to make a periscope. This will help them to see that by understanding the behaviour of light, scientists and engineers have harnessed light to create a device that can help us see something that is out of our line of sight. They will need to work carefully using measurements to ensure their mirrors are at a 45° angle, recognising the precision required by scientists at work.