Science – Junior

At Toftwood Junior School, we believe science is a vital part of children’s learning, enabling them to gain an understanding of how the world around them works.

In our school, each class has a weekly science lesson linked to topics where possible covering the science objectives in the National Curriculum (Sept. 2013, updated May 2015). Scientific enquiry skills are emphasised and addressed in each lesson.

Lessons have clear learning intentions, which are shared and reviewed with the pupils. A variety of strategies, including questioning, discussion, concept mapping and marking, are used to assess progress. Activities inspire the pupils to experiment and investigate scientific subject matter and to help them raise their own questions such as “Why…?”, “How…?” and “What happens if…?” Activities develop the skills of enquiry, observation, locating sources of information, selecting appropriate equipment and using it safely, measuring and checking results, making comparisons and communicating results and findings. Pupils have regular opportunities to develop their skills and show progress in their approach to enquiry throughout their time with us.

A range of enrichment activities and visits take place to enhance the children’s science learning e.g. Banham Zoo as part of “Living things and their habitats” and Year 5 were able to study borrowed “moon rocks” for “Earth and space”. These activities provide the children with further opportunities to develop their skills of observation and encourages the generation of independent questions.

In our KS2 classes, we all have a Science working wall. On this we have out Federation Stars, which set out what we think good Science teaching and learning looks like, and the five types of Scientific enquiry we work with throughout our time in the Federation. They may all look different because they reflect our learning and development through a Science area of learning over time. Have a look and see if you can see what we have been studying in Science. We use our working walls to support and reinforce our learning over time, and to help us recall the important information and make sure we remember it over time.

  • Year 3 School Trip Autumn 1 2023

    Autumn 1 2023, Year 3 School Trip

    On Wednesday 11th October, Year 3 visited the Norwich Cathedral and participated in their Sacred Science programme of study. We explored different aspects of Science and learnt all about the history of why the cathedral was constructed. We re-capped our geographical learning with compass points and absorbed the magnificence of the cathedral as a historic building.

    As part of our current Science unit: Forces, we explored how effective the force of gravity was in the construction of the cathedral during William the Conqueror’s reign. We used the medieval mason’s template to re-create an archway. We worked together beautifully to create our arches, we displayed determination, resilience and perseverance which enabled us to be successful medieval stonemasons.

    As part of our upcoming Science unit: Light, we also explored Opaque, Translucent and Transparent materials. We discussed how our bodies block the sun, causing shadows.

    We examined the effect of stained glass on light. Exploring the translucent qualities that create the vibrant colours of the cathedral windows. We compared the stained glass windows with the clear glass of the modern section of the cathedral and observed that it was transparent.

    We all had the opportunity to create our own stained glass window, with opaque and translucent materials. We explored depth of colour and during the process we explored the effect of light on our own creations. The work was amazing and we are creating a year group display of them.

    After learning so much new information, including that the cathedral has its own cat: Budge, we left at the end of the day able to talk about our fabulous experience.

    Pupil quotes about the day:

    “I loved going to the cathedral because we learned more about Forces which is our Science topic.” Emmy-Mae

    “I liked making the stained glass windows because they were really colourful. It showed us how the stained glass is translucent.” Anni and Alice.

    “I loved being in such an old building and knowing people still go to pray today.”

    “I really liked learning about how the windows tell a story.” Kendra

    “I liked learning about gravity because I didn’t know what it was.” Elliott

  • Science Autumn 1 2023

    Year 3

    This half term we have been learning about Forces and Magnets. The children started their learning by classifying whether objects were magnetic or non magnetic. Using bar magnets the children observed what happened when the same poles on two magnets were placed together and when different poles were placed together. We learned the vocabulary attract and repel to describe what happened. Using a selection of magnets the children carried out an experiment to see which magnet was the strongest. We made a prediction at the start and after displaying the results on a bar graph we decided whether our predictions were correct.

    We then moved on to learning about push and pull forces, the children acted out a force for the class to guess which they were!

    Our final experiment saw the children deciding which material had the greatest friction. Discussions were had to decide how to make the experiment a fair test. Our recent trip to Norwich Cathedral was the perfect way to introduce our next topic – Light! 

    Year 4

    In Science, our topic has been States of Matter, the children have been very enthusiastic about the experiments and particularly enjoyed melting different solids (even if it did make some of them hungry). They have enjoyed demonstrating their understanding of how solids, liquids and gasses move and how they can change state when heated or cooled. We ended the topic by exploring the water cycle and the children loved learning the water cycle rap and even making up their own dance moves!

    Year 5

    During Autumn 1, Year 5 have been studying the topic of Space.  

    We began this topic by working in groups to sort evidence cards into groups. We decided whether then card supported the idea that the Earth was spherical or that the Earth was flat. We then summarised our findings as a class. 

    Year 5 then moved on to look at the movement of Earth and other planets in relation to the sun. We conducted our own shadow investigation demonstrating the spinning of the Earth. We carried out an observation over time and made predictions about how we thought our shadow may change over the day. Once an hour over the school day we went out to the playground and observed how our shadows have changed by drawing around them using chalk. We then discussed our findings at the end of the day and linked them to the use of sun dials.  

    From our knowledge gained from the shadows experience in the following lesson we could begin to explain day and night. We used globes and torchers to recreate the day and night effect.  

    Year 5 have also looked at the movement of the moon and created their own research page using tablets. Finally we found out about Galileo and his work on pendulums before making our own pendulums and writing up our findings. 

    Year 6

    We started year 6 by learning about animals, including humans. We learnt about the circulatory and digestive systems and carried out an investigation into how exercise affects our heart rate. We found that after 2 minutes continuous exercise our heart rates speeds up to help oxygen reach our organs more quickly. We also learnt about how to live a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise. Over the course of a week, we did regular exercise each morning to see if this helped us to be more alert during our lessons. Most of us found that we did find it easier to concentrate in our morning lessons after five minute jog or continuous exercise.

  • Science Summer Term 2023

    Year 3

    This term, we have been learning about Plants and observed over time the experiment of planting bean seeds in soil, sand, and just water. We then observed the changes each week and recorded these observations over time on a table.  At the end of the experiment, we planted the beans plants outside and we have been studying a biology unit – ‘Animals including Humans’. We have learnt about different types of skeletons in animals including comparing human and animal skeletons. We have become budding doctors, learning the names of major bones and muscle groups.

    Then we moved on to nutrition, studying what is needed for a healthy diet, the names of food groups plus how to examine food packaging. We were very surprised at the nutritional content of some of our favourite fast food items!

    Year 4

    In Year 4, children have been learning about classification an habitats. We have looked at why we might need to classify living things into different categories. The children have also looked at how animals are well suited to the environment they live in – their habitat. They discovered how changing habitats could pose a danger to the living things within them and how we can better protect living things.

    We then moved on to look at our teeth and digestive system. The children loved learning about all of the organs in the digestive system. They created some excellent piece of writing to describe how food moves through our bodies! We also conducted an experiment to see how different drinks can affect our teeth. The children used eggs, as the eggshells resemble the enamel on our teeth.

    Year 5

    Year 5 enjoyed going on a visit to Sculthorpe Moor, near Fakenham where they were able to add to their prior learning about living things and their habitats in Summer 1. They participated in pond dipping, learning to identify what they had caught. A walk through the Carr area linked nicely to the Broads environment work too. They also made observations of birds, in the hides and identified them too. Bug hunting was also an exciting challenge for them. Observing, classifying, grouping and identifying are important scientific skills.

    Summer 2 followed on with animals including humans, where we looked at timelines, babies and their growth and development, puberty and old age; this also reinforced our learning in RSE.

    Year 6

    Year 6 have been studying Living things and their habitats as well as Electricity this term.

    Within Living things and their habitats, the children have looked to classify animals through the animal’s characteristics and learning about and how to use the Linnaean system. 

    Our electricity work was also cross-curricular with our History topic and after learning about how to create a simple lighting circuit. We investigated how differing voltages can affect the brightness of a bulb. Using this we looked for patterns in correlation to the number of cells used to the number of batteries. After adding a switch to these circuits, we then created a lighting circuit that could be used in our Reproduction Anderson Shelters that could provide light (but not too much) when our doors were closed if there was an air raid warning. 

  • Lifecycles Year 5 – Summer 1 2023

    Year 5 have been very lucky to have the opportunity to have cared for some ducklings as part of their science and living things topic.

    Five eggs were delivered and kept in an incubator and the children made close observations, daily, in their diaries. We have been studying the lifecycles of birds, animals, insects and amphibians.

    A week later, they were allowed to swim in a shallow pool. The children enjoyed watching them use their webbed feet as they had learnt about these when studying water resistance in the Spring Term.

    After their swim, we watched them drying and preening themselves in the sunshine and pecking at the grass. The children were very relaxed, watching them exploring their new environment.

  • Science Spring Term 2023

    Year 3

    In Year 3, our focus in Science was Mary Anning in Spring 1 and rocks and fossils in Spring 2. First, the children made their own fossils and excavated using tools. We learnt how to identify igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks from their physical features and this helped us to remember how each rock was formed.

    C:\Users\LJacobs\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.MSO\92C55240.tmp C:\Users\LJacobs\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.MSO\8BEBB24E.tmp During Science Week, we explored the science of making toothpaste! We agreed that a good toothpaste should kill bacteria, have a nice scent and stay on the toothbrush! We carefully mixed ingredients to make our toothpaste. We then needed to think scientifically to plan a fair test to compare our own toothpaste to branded toothpastes. Finally, we collected the results in a tally chart and presented the results in a series of bar graphs.

    Year 4

    Year 4 have loved learning all about electricity this term. We have been creating simple circuits out of bulbs, wires and cells and discovering the scientific symbols for each component. We even tested which switch works best in order to switch our light bulb on and off the quickest!

    More recently, the children have been using their geographical knowledge of maps and mountains alongside their scientific knowledge of electrical circuits to create electrical board games! They have put a lot of thought into the bright, eye catching design of their games and we have discussed how important it is for our “wires” (made from foil and masking tape) not to cross over so that the circuits are complete and the games work properly. The children have loved researching different mountains in Europe and then plotting them on their maps. Some of them were surprised to learn about the mountains we have in the United Kingdom!

    Year 5

    During the Spring term, Year 5 have looked in depth at Forces. The children can now explain balanced and unbalanced forces. Making links to their Autumn term learning, they know that gravity was first discovered by Sir Isaac Newton and that the measure of force is named after him, and that we can measure the force of gravity with the use of a Newton Meter.

    When working scientifically, the children had fun experimenting with different types of helicopter blades to see which ones offered the greatest air resistance and so stayed in the air longer. The children were able to make a prediction, as well as draw conclusions from their findings.

    They could then build on this knowledge to show their understanding about water resistance. The children enjoyed working scientifically and learnt many skills such as managing variables (controlled and independent) to keep tests fair and reliable.

    Working scientifically, the children enjoyed experimenting with how friction can act as a force, creating heat, and how this can be a hindrance or important in terms of safety. Forces were also investigated in terms of gears and pulleys.

    Year 6

    This term Year 6 have been investigating the theories and scientific research around Evolution and Inheritance. We have studied Darwin’s theories on this and looked at adaptive traits (creating our own species for a given habitat) and inherited traits (how offspring might vary and why). Following Darwin’s theories we created our own experiment where we investigated how hand shape could affect an animal’s ability to eat, which the children thoroughly enjoyed.  

    We investigated how fossils are created (making our own) and then how these can help and expand our understanding of the evolutionary process in different species (our research into Mary Anning also supported this). With all this knowledge and understanding we then looked at how our own species has developed and evolved over time. 

    Our final area of research and investigation was around extinction and how many different factors can affect the animals that live, or have lived, on our planet. With the children writing a report about an animal, thought to be extinct, that has been spotted locally! Could there be hope that this species is still alive? 

  • Science Autumn 2022-23

    Year 3

    In Science, the children have been learning about light sources and their necessity in our everyday lives. They have completed many investigations including classification of light sources and reflective materials. They also investigated patterns in shadows when manipulating the light source and then with their shadow theatres. The children also thought about the reflection of light rays in plane, convex and concave mirrors and observed the changes in the image dependent upon the type of mirror.  

    Year 4

    During Autumn 1, the children studied changing states of matter and experimented with reversible and irreversible changes. They then applied this to understanding the process of the water cycle and created a poster describing this.

    For the second half of the Autumn term, the children have been looking at how we can hear sound and have learnt how to label lots of the different parts of the ear. We thoroughly enjoyed trying out the different experiments to discover that sound is made by a series of vibrations. The children’s favourite experiment was using the tuning fork in the water (even if the vibrations from the tuning fork did make the water splash a little) and creating their own ‘sound sandwich’ to explore the effect of vibrations on pitch.

    Year 5

    During the autumn 1, Year 5 have looked at Earth and Space. This focused on describing the movement of Earth, and other planets relative to the sun in our solar system, understanding why we have night and day as well as looking at the different moon phases. When working scientifically, the children planned an experiment to show the spinning of the Earth. The children were able to clearly write a prediction, as well as a conclusion.

    During autumn 2, the children learnt about the properties and changes of materials. The children used a Carroll diagram to compare and group materials, studied soluble materials, separated mixed materials – using filter paper, sieve, magnet and heat. The children enjoyed working scientifically and learnt many skills such as managing variables (controlled and independent) to keep tests fair and reliable.

    Year 6

    We started year 6 by learning about animals, including humans. We learnt about the circulatory and digestive systems and carried out an investigation into how exercise affects our heart rate. We found that after 2 minutes continuous exercise our heart rates speeds up to help oxygen reach our organs more quickly. We also learnt about how to live a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise. Over the course of a week, we did regular exercise each morning to see if this helped us to be more alert during our lessons. Most of us found that we did find it easier to concentrate in our morning lessons after five minute jog or continuous exercise.

    In the second half of the term, we have been learning about light. We have carried out lots of practical investigations to explore refraction, reflection and the spectrum.