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Science Curriculum Intent

Connecting with learning

Science at Radcliffe on Trent Juniors hooks the children’s interest enabling them to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about the natural world around them.  We want to create learners who are curious and love learning and are eager to deepen their understanding through experience.  Science is key to creating a culture of innovation by which children can grow up to create a better world for future generations. 

Memorable knowledge and skills have been identified for each unit of learning to ensure progression across the school.  Through carefully planned sequences of lessons, which build on prior learning, they are taught to question, predict, explain and analyse.  Our curriculum ensures that every child makes progress and reaches their full scientific potential. Using their metacognitive learning skills, they work scientifically to develop their understanding of scientific concepts and knowledge.  This is supported by the use of ‘sticky knowledge’ and key scientific vocabulary which is referred to regularly.   Links between other STEM subjects and areas of the curriculum are utilised to enhance a deeper level of learning. 

We aim for children to develop an understanding of how to work with regard to their own safety and that of others and to develop the confidence to choose questions to investigate and create their own investigations.  We teach them to critically question and evaluate evidence and discuss findings whilst considering the views of others. They are encouraged to persevere, linking to our Be Brave and Bounce Back school value and embrace a challenge.

Connecting with our community

The teaching of science at ROTJS will provide children with the foundations for understanding the world around them.   Children explore their local surroundings conducting investigations into materials and habitats in the school grounds and local area which links their learning to real life science.  Adults from the local community with science linked careers such as paramedics, physiotherapists and nurse practitioners are invited into school to share their experiences and inspire children. At ROTJS we link with National events such as British Science week and link learning to significant scientific events across the world. We discuss differences and similarities within the context of our Global Community.

Connecting with others

We aim for our learners to be empathetic towards others and be able to work with everyone in a respectful manner. Science at ROTJS promotes the ability to work both independently and in co-operation with others. Children learn to collaborate through carrying out practical investigations. They develop key communication skills needed to share their learning in a variety of ways.  Children are taught to relate science concepts to their own life experiences.   We foster respect for all living organisms and for the physical environment of the wider world.  Stereotypes around science are challenged through highlighting diverse scientists and their achievements. 

ROTJS Science Curriculum


Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Prior: in KS1 children will have studied: animals including humans, all living things, plants, everyday materials and seasonal changes (physics)


Animals, including humans

*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).

*Identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement.













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

* 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.

* Investigate the way in which water is transported within plants.

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

Animals, including humans

*Describe the simple functions of the basic parts of the digestive system in humans.

*Identify the different types of teeth in humans and their simple functions.

*Construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey.




All living things

*Recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways.

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

*Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Animals, including humans

*Describe the changes as humans develop to old age.










All living things

*Describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird.

*Describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals.


 Animals, including humans

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

*Recognise the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way their bodies function.

*Describe the ways in which nutrients and water are transported within animals, including humans.


All living things

*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

*Give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.


 Evolution and inheritance

*Recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.

*Recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents.

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




*Compare and group together different

kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical


*Describe in simple terms how fossils

are formed when things that have lived

are trapped within rock.

*Recognise that soils are made from

 rocks and organic matter.

States of matter

*Compare and group materials

 together, according to whether they

are solids, liquids or gases.

*Observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure or research the

temperature at which this happens in degrees Celsius (°C).

*Identify the part played by

evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature.

 Properties and changes of materials

*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.

*Know that some materials will dissolve in

 liquid to form a solution, and describe

how to recover a substance from a


*Use knowledge of solids, liquids and

gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering,

sieving and evaporating.

*Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the

particular uses of everyday materials,

including metals, wood and plastic.

*Demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes

*I can 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.




*Recognise that they need light in order

to see things and that dark is the

absence of light.

*Notice that light is reflected from


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

*Recognise that shadows are formed

when the light from a light source is

blocked by a solid object.

*Find patterns in the way that the size of shadows change.





















Forces & magnets

*Compare how things move on different surfaces.

*Notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic

forces can act at a distance.

*Observe how magnets attract or repel

each other and attract some materials

and not others describe magnets as

having two poles.

*Predict whether two magnets will

attract or repel each other, depending

on which poles are facing.

*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.



*Identify how sounds are made, associating some of them with

something vibrating.

*Recognise that vibrations from sounds travel through a medium to the ear

*I can find patterns between the pitch

of a sound and features of the object

 that produced it.

*Find patterns between the volume of

a sound and the strength of the

 vibrations that produced it.

*Recognise that sounds get fainter as

the distance from the sound source increases.






*Identify common appliances that

run on electricity.

*Construct a simple series electrical

circuit, identifying and naming its

basic parts, including cells, wires,

bulbs, switches and buzzers.

*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.  

*Recognise that a switch opens and

closes a circuit and associate this with whether or not a lamp lights in a

simple series circuit.

*Recognise some common

conductors and insulators, and

associate metals with being good conductors.


 Earth and space

*Describe the movement of the Earth,

and other planets, relative to the Sun in

the solar system.

*Describe the movement of the Moon

relative to the Earth.

*Describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies.

*Use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to

explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.

























*Explain that unsupported objects fall

towards the Earth because of the force

of gravity acting between the Earth and

 the falling object.

*Identify the effects of air resistance,

water resistance and friction, that act

between moving surfaces.

*Recognise that some mechanisms,

 including levers, pulleys and gears, allow

 a smaller force to have a greater effect.



*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.

*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.

*Use the idea that light travels in straight lines to *Explain why shadows have the same shape

as the objects that cast them.









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

*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.

*Use recognised symbols when representing

 a simple circuit in a diagram.



Science Vocabulary

Year 3

Animals, humans, nutrition, skeletons, muscles, support, protection, movement


Function, flowering, plants, roots, stem/trunk, leaves, flowers, life, growth, air, light, water, nutrients, soil, water, transportation, life cycle, pollination, seed formation, seed dispersal


Rocks, appearance, physical properties, fossils, formed, trapped, rock, soils, organic matter


Light, see, light, dark, reflected, surfaces, sun, shadows, formed, light source, blocked, objects, change


Surfaces, forces, objects, magnetic forces, distance, attract, repel, materials, magnets, poles



Year 4

Animals, humans, functions, digestive system, teeth, food chains, producers, predators, prey


Living things, classification keys, group, identify, name, local environment, wider environment, change, dangers posed


Compare, group, materials, solids, liquids, gases, observe, change state, heated, cooled, measure, temperature, degrees Celsius, evaporation, rate, condensation, water cycle


Sounds, vibrations, travel, mediums, ear, pitch, object, features, volume, strength, fainter, distance, sound source, increases/decreases


Electricity, appliances, simple series circuit, cells, wires, bulbs, switches, opens/closes, buzzers, lamp, light, complete loop, battery, conductors, insulators, metals

 Year 5

Animals, humans, changes, develop, young age/old age


 Living things, differences, life cycles, mammal, amphibian, insect, bird, life process, describe, reproduction, plants, animals


Compare, group, everyday materials, properties, hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical, thermal), magnets, materials, dissolve, liquid, solution, substance, solids, gases, mixtures, separated, filtering, sieving, evaporating, comparative/fair tests, metals, woods, plastic, dissolving, mixing, changes of state, reversible changes, formation, irreversible, burning, acid, bicarbonate of soda


Earth, movement, planets, Sun, Solar System, Moon, spherical bodies, Earth’s rotation,


Force, objects, fall, gravity, Earth, air resistance, water resistance, friction, moving surfaces, mechanisms, levers, pulleys, gears, smaller, greater, effect

Year 6

Animals, humans, circulatory system, functions, heart, blood vessels, blood, impact, diet, exercise, drugs, lifestyle, nutrients, water, transported


Living things, classified, observable/specific characteristics, similarities, differences, micro-organisms, plants, animals


Evolution, inheritance, change, time, fossils, inhabited, Earth, produce, offspring, same, vary, not identical, parents, animals, plants, adapted, suit, environment, adaptation, (may lead to) evolution


Light, light sources, travels, straight lines, objects, seen, reflect, eye, shadows, (same) shape, cast


Electricity, brightness, lamp, volume, loudness, buzzer, voltage, cells, circuit, variations components, function, symbols, representing, diagram

Science Sticky Knowledge

Year 3

^To know the importance of a nutritious, balanced diet.

^To describe the skeletal and muscular system of a human.


^To know the function of different parts of flowering plants and trees.


^Compare rocks based on their appearance and properties.


^know that light is needed in order to see and is reflected from a surface.

^Demonstrate how a shadow is formed and changes shape.


^To describe how objects move on different surfaces.

^Explain how magnets attract and repel.



Year 4

^Identify the functions of the human digestive system.

^Identify the functions of different types of human teeth.

^Construct food chains to identify producers, predators and prey.


^Use classification keys to group, identify and name living things.


^Group materials based on their state of matter.

^Explore how some materials can change state.

^Explain evaporation and condensation in the water cycle.


^Identify the components in a series circuit and construct one accurately.

^Explain the differences between a conductor and an insulator.


^To know how sound is made, associating them with vibrations.

^Know how sound travels from a source to our ears.


Year 5

^Create a timeline to indicate stages of growth in humans.


^Explain the life cycle of different living things.

^To know the process of reproduction in plants and animals.


^Explain how a material dissolves to form a solution.

^Demonstrate how some materials can be separated.

^Demonstrate that some changes are reversible and some are not.


^Explain the movement of the Earth and other planets relative to the Sun.

^Explain the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth.

^Demonstrate how night and day are created.


^Explain gravity and its impact on our lives.

^Identify and know the effect of air and water resistance.

^Explain the effect of friction.


Year 6

^Identify and name the main parts of the human circulatory system.

^Explain the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on health. 


^Classify living things into broad groups according to observable characteristics and (similarities & differences).


^Know how the Earth and living things have changed over time (Evolution)

^To know about reproduction and offspring.

^Explain how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment.


^Detail how we see objects.

^Know how simple optical instruments work e.g. periscope, telescope, mirrors..


^Compare and detail why components work/don’t work in a circuit. 

^Demonstrate how the number and voltage of cells in a circuit links to the brightness of a lamp or the volume of a buzzer.