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Year 1

How the children should learn science at Key Stage 1

The principal focus of science teaching in Key Stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. They should be encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice.


Further guidance

These opportunities for working scientifically should be provided across Years 1 and 2 so that the expectations in the programme of study can be met by the end of Year 2. Pupils are not expected to cover each aspect for every area of study.


Asking questions

Children should ask simple questions and recognise that they can be answered in different ways.

Scientific enquiries. They should be able to do the following types of enquiry:

  • Observations. They should observe closely, using simple equipment.
  • Simple tests
  • Identifying and classifying
  • Secondary sources. They should use simple secondary sources to find answers.

Recording. They should gather and record data to suggest answers to their questions. With help, they should record in a range of ways and begin to use simple scientific language.

Analysing observations. They should use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions. They should notice patterns and relationships in their observations. They should talk about what they have found out and how they found out.


Programmes of study


Animals including humans

The learning journey - Animals including humans

  • Identify and name a variety of common animals that are birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals;
  • Identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores;
  • Describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals (birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, and including pets);
  • Identify, name draw and label the basic parts of the human body and say which parts of the body is associated with each sense.

Working Scientifically

Pupils will 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

The learning journey – Materials

  • Distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made;
  • Identify and name a variety of everyday materials, including wood, plastic, glass, water and rock;
  • Describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials;
  • Compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their physical properties.

Working Scientifically

Pupils will 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?’



The learning journey - Plants

  • Identify and name a variety of common plants, including garden plants, wild plants and trees, and those classified as  deciduous and evergreen;
  • Identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common plants including roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers.

Working Scientifically

Pupils will 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 will 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.


Seasonal Change

The learning journey - Seasons

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Observe changes across the four seasons;
  • Observe and describe weather associated with the seasons and how day length varies.

Suggestions for Working Scientifically

Pupils will 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.