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Year 1 Science

Pupils in year  1 should explore the world around them and raise their own questions. 

They should experience different types of scientific enquiries, including practical activities, and begin to recognise ways in which they might answer scientific questions. 

They should use simple features to compare objects, materials and living things and, with help, decide how to sort and group them, observe changes over time, and, with guidance, they should begin to notice patterns and relationships. 

They should ask people questions and use simple secondary sources to find answers. 

They should use simple measurements and equipment (for example, hand lenses, egg timers) to gather data, carry out simple tests, record simple data, and talk about what they have found out and how they found it out. 

With help, they should record and communicate their findings in a range of ways and begin to use simple scientific language. 

Pupils are not expected to cover each aspect for every area of study


Pupils should use the local environment throughout the year to explore and answer questions about plants growing in their habitat. 

Where possible, they should observe the growth of flowers and vegetables that they have planted. 

They should become familiar with common names of flowers, examples of deciduous and evergreen trees, and plant structures (including leaves, flowers (blossom), petals, fruit, roots, bulb, seed, trunk, branches, stem). Pupils might work scientifically by: observing closely, perhaps using magnifying glasses, and comparing and contrasting familiar plants; describing how they were able to identify and group them, and drawing diagrams showing the parts of different plants including trees. 

Pupils might keep records of how plants have changed over time, for example the leaves falling off trees and buds opening; and compare and contrast what they have found out about different plants.

Animals including Humans

Pupils should use the local environment throughout the year to explore and answer questions about animals in their habitat. 

They should understand how to take care of animals taken from their local environment and the need to return them safely after study. 

Pupils should become familiar with the common names of some fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, including those that are kept as pets. Pupils should have plenty of opportunities to learn the names of the main body parts (including head, neck, arms, elbows, legs, knees, face, ears, eyes, hair, mouth, teeth) through games, actions, songs and rhymes. 

Pupils might work scientifically by: using their observations to compare and contrast animals at first hand or through videos and photographs, describing how they identify and group them; grouping animals according to what they eat; and using their senses to compare different textures, sounds and smells.

Everyday Materials

Pupils should explore, name, discuss and raise and answer questions about everyday materials so that they become familiar with the names of materials and properties such as: hard/soft; stretchy/stiff; shiny/dull; rough/smooth; bendy/not bendy; waterproof/not waterproof; absorbent/not absorbent; opaque/transparent. 

Pupils should explore and experiment with a wide variety of materials, not only those listed in the programme of study, but including for example: brick, paper, fabrics, elastic, foil. 

Pupils might work scientifically by: performing simple tests to explore questions, for example: ‘What is the best material for an umbrella? ...for lining a dog basket? ...for curtains? ...for a bookshelf? ...for a gymnast’s leotard?’

Seasonal Changes

Pupils should observe and talk about changes in the weather and the seasons. 

Note: Pupils should be warned that it is not safe to look directly at the Sun, even when wearing dark glasses. 

Pupils might work scientifically by: making tables and charts about the weather; and making displays of what happens in the world around them, including day length, as the seasons change.

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