St Michael with St John Church of England Primary School

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Year 5

Years 5 and 6: Working Scientifically


Working scientifically is taught through the Science content. Teachers enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. Pupils encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. Pupils are encouraged to select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information. Following their investigating, pupils draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings.


Year 5 Rationale


Autumn 1 and 2

Chemistry: Properties and Changes of Materials


Using the knowledge they have acquired in Year 3 and 4 about materials, they will further extend their knowledge about the changes some materials go through. They will build a more systematic understanding of materials by exploring and comparing the properties of a broad range of materials, including relating these to what they learnt about magnetism in Year 3 and about electricity in Year 4. Through observing and investigating, they 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. Pupils recognise and know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution. Using their knowledge of solids, liquids and gases from Year 4, they will decide how mixtures should be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating. Pupils are encouraged to give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic; this will be an extension of their learning from Year 3. They demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes. Through careful observations, pupils will be able to explain using scientific vocabulary that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible.


Spring 1

Physics: Earth and Space

Following on from Light and Shadows unit in Year 3, pupils are introduced to a model of the Sun and Earth that enables them to explain day and night; describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system. Through secondary research and using models, they are able to describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth and describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies. They use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.


Spring 2

Physics: Forces


Forces are explored from EYFS onwards so for us to delve deeper into our understanding of forces, pupils will raise questions about the effects of air resistance and explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object. Through working scientifically, they explore and identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces. Also, they explore the effects of levers, pulleys and simple machines on movement and recognise that some mechanisms, including levers, pulleys and gears, allow a smaller force to have a greater effect. Pupils are encouraged to find out how scientists, for example, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton helped to develop the theory of gravitation.


Summer 1

Biology: Living Things and Their Habitats


In Year 5, pupils will use all of their knowledge of the topic from previous years to collaborate and investigate living things further. Pupils will study and raise questions about their local environment throughout the year. They will observe life-cycle changes in a variety of living things, for example, plants in the school grounds or a local park, and animals in the local environment. Pupils will describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird; observing and comparing 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 and in desert areas). Through working scientifically, they will observe changes in an animal over a period of time (for example, caterpillars metamorphosing into butterflies), comparing how different animals reproduce and grow. They describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals.


Summer 2

Biology: Animals, including Humans


The children will further expand their knowledge from Year 2 about the changes humans go through from baby to old age. We encourage pupils to work scientifically by researching the gestation periods of other animals and comparing them with humans; by finding out and recording the length and mass of a baby as it grows. Pupils in Year 5 are also given the opportunity to learn and talk about how their own bodies go through puberty; this will be delivered through the Growing and Changing talk delivered by their class teachers.