As children get older, they begin to meet more abstract concepts in science – things which are not so easily tested in the classroom, such as the bodies of the solar system, or changes of state. They will continue to carry out experiments but may also use more secondary resources for research or investigation.
Investigation work should form part of the broader science curriculum. During Year 5, some of the skills your child might focus on include:
• Plan different types of scientific investigation, including controlling variables
• Take measurements with increasing accuracy and precision
• Record data and results using diagrams, labels, keys, tables and graphs
• Use test results to make predictions and to set up more testing
• Identify the evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas
• Describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird
• Describe the life processes of reproduction in some plants and animals
Life cycles include different stages for the main vertebrate groups, such as eggs, larvae and pupae. These can be seen in tadpoles and frogs, caterpillars and butterflies, and of course the chicken and the egg.
• Describe the changes as humans develop to old age, including puberty
• Compare the various properties of materials such as hardness, solubility and conductivity
• Use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to separate mixtures and solutions through filtering or evaporation
• Know that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes
• Know that some changes cannot be reversed, such as burning, rusting or chemical reactions
• Describe the movement of the planets, including Earth, around the Sun
• Describe the movement of the Moon around the Earth
• Use these ideas to explain how day and night occur, and why the Sun appears to move across the sky
Since 2006, scientists have defined Pluto as only a dwarf planet. Consequently, children are now taught that there are only eight planets orbiting the Sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune), although many will also explain the history of Pluto’s past.
• Explain that gravity is a force which acts on objects pulling them towards the Earth
• Identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction
• Recognise that some mechanisms, such as levers, pulleys and gears, can be used to increase the work of a force