Home Page

Year 6

How the children should learn science at Upper Key Stage 2


The principal focus of science teaching in Upper Key stage 2 is to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a wide range of scientific ideas. They should do this through exploring and talking about their ideas; asking their own questions about scientific phenomena; and analysing functions, relationships and interactions more systematically. At Upper Key Stage 2, they should encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They should also begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time. They should 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. Pupils should 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.


Further guidance

These opportunities for working scientifically should be provided across years 5 and 6 so that the expectations in the programme of study can be met by the end of year 6. Pupils are not expected to cover each aspect for every area of study.

Planning enquires. Children should plan different types of enquiry to answer questions.

Identifying variables. Children should recognize and control variables where necessary.

Secondary sources. Children should recognize when secondary sources will be most useful to research their ideas and begin to separate opinion from fact.

Using equipment. They should choose the most appropriate equipment. Children should take measurements, using a range of scientific equipment with increasing accuracy and precision.

Collecting data. They should make their own decisions about what observations to make, what measurements to use, and how long make them for.

Recording. They should choose how to record data. Children should record data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables and bar and line graphs. They should report and present findings from enquires, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of results (in oral and written forms).

Analysing data. Children should use test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair test. They should use simple models to describe scientific ideas. They should identify scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.

Making Improvements. They should use their results to identify when further tests and observations might be needed


Programmes of study


Animals including humans

Parts of this unit will need to be taught in accordance with your school’s drug education policy and in line with the schools sex education policy.

The learning journey - Animals including humans

  • Identify and name the main parts of the human circulatory system, and explain 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.

Working Scientifically

Pupils will 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.



The learning journey – Electricity

  • 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.

Working Scientifically

  • Pupils will work scientifically by: systematically identifying the effect of changing one component at a time in a circuit; designing and making a set of traffic lights, a burglar alarm or some other useful circuit.



As a Church of England school we will have a sensitive approach as to how this unit of work will fit in with other viewpoints as to how animals and plants were created and changed over time.

The learning journey – Evolution and inheritance

Pupils should be taught to:

  • 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.

Working Scientifically

Pupils will work scientifically by: observing and raising questions about local animals and how they are adapted to their environment; comparing how some living things are adapted to survive in extreme conditions, for example, cactuses, penguins and camels. They will analyse the advantages and disadvantages of specific adaptations, such as being on two feet rather than four, having a long or a short beak, having gills or lungs, tendrils on climbing plants, brightly coloured and scented flowers.



The learning journey – Light

  • Recognise that light appears to travel in straight lines;
  • 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.

Working Scientifically

Pupils will work scientifically by: deciding where to place rear-view mirrors on cars; designing and making a periscope and using the idea that light appears to travel in straight lines to explain how it works. They will investigate the relationship between light sources, objects and shadows by using shadow puppets. They will extend their experience of light by looking a range of phenomena including rainbows, colours on soap bubbles, objects looking bent in water and coloured filters (they do not need to explain why these phenomena occur).


Living things and their habitats

The learning journey - Living Things and Their Habitats

  • 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.

Working Scientifically

Pupils will work scientifically by: using classification systems and keys to identify some animals and plants in the immediate environment. They will research unfamiliar animals and plants from a broad range of other habitats and decide where they belong in the classification system.