Warden Park Primary Academy, New England Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3JR

01444 451264

Warden Park Primary

'Reach for the Stars'

Year 5


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. 


National Curriculum for Year 5

Living Things and their Habitats:  

  • describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird  
  • describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals

Animals including humans:

  • describe the changes as humans develop to old age. 

Properties and Changes of Materials:

  • compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets  
  • know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution  
  • use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating  
  • give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic  
  • demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes  
  • explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible, including changes associated with burning and the action of acid on bicarbonate of soda.

Earth and Space:

  • describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system  
  • describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth  
  • describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies  
  • use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky. 


  • explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object 
  •  identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces  
  • recognise that some mechanisms, including levers, pulleys and gears, allow a smaller force to have a greater effect. 


Home challenge ideas:

Living Things and their Habitats 

Secondary sources research – How does the pollen from one flower reach another flower?

Children can find examples on the internet and in books of different methods by which the pollen reaches the ovary of the flower. 



Research – What can you find out about the different stages of life cycles of different animals?

The following BBC web pages have a huge amount of videos on different aspects of the life cycles of different animals:


Using secondary sources research – How do different mammals develop as they get older?

The children can start by trying to find out the gestation period for the mammals that they are finding out about. They can then find out more about: the average life span, the developments at different ages, and maybe any courtship behaviour.

National Geographic - http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/mammals

The following video explains the mating rituals of grey squirrels: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p007g7yv

Life cycle of amphibians

Secondary research – What are the life cycles of amphibians?

The following video shows the journey toads go through to reach their breeding grounds: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p006x6yg

Secondary sources research – How do animals make babies?

Generally speaking, you need to help the children to establish that cells from the male must combine with cells from the female.

YouTube is often a good source of videos on animal life cycles. Examples could include: dragonflies, hedgehog (mating rituals – Attenborough – Life of Mammals), and frogs 

The following video takes the story further by looking at the development of the foetus. http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/development-of-a-foetus/861.html

Animals including humans 

Research – How long are the gestation periods of different animals?

Explain to the children what ‘gestation’ means.

If possible, allow the children to use books and websites to find out about the gestation periods of different animals. 

Pattern-seeking – Is there a relationship between the mass of an adult animal and the length of the gestation period?

Puberty – What happens to the human body during puberty?

Resources that could be used to help children understand puberty better can be found linked to the NHS website - http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/puberty/Pages/Pubertyinfoforchildren.aspx

A short video of children talking through puberty can be found at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/puberty/Pages/pubertyhome.aspx

Research - Becoming old – What happens to adults as they become older?

In order to encourage children to recognise the parts of the body that change as you get older, visit the science museum website and click on the ear. 

A few short videos will show how features such as the ear and nose change as adults become older. http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/whoami/findoutmore/yourbody/whatisageing/whathappensasyouage.aspx


Data analysis – How does the length of a baby change over time?

Provide the children with the table below. Ask them to transfer this information into a line graph; plotting the length of the baby over time.

Source – World Health Organisation


Age of baby (months)

Boy length (cm)

Girl length (cm)

Birth (0)

48.5 – 51.0

48.0 – 50.3


59.9 – 62.7

58.4 – 61.2


66.3 – 69.0

64.2 – 67.3


70.3 – 73.4

68.6 – 71.9

Properties and Changes of Materials

Comparative test – Which material is best at conducting heat?

Give children spoons all made from different materials. 

Warm water can be placed in a bowl. 

Cut holes in a card lid for the bowl large enough for the handles of spoons to poke through. 

Place spoons made from different materials through each of the holes in the lid and place on the bowl. 

Place a blob of butter on the end of each of the spoons. 

The children could time how long it takes the lump of butter to reach the lid. 

Simple test – What effect will a coat have on a person and an ice man?

Children could make an ice balloon (water frozen in a balloon) for the iceman and beaker containing warm water (up to 60 degrees Celsius) for the person.

Allow children to investigate what happened to the ‘iceman’ and ‘person’ when they are wrapped with an identical piece of fabric.

They could further extend this investigation to find out which material makes the best insulator for the iceman (i.e. the material that will be best at slowing down the rate at which it melts).

Simple test – How can we separate mixtures of different solids?

Give children an opportunity to separate some mixtures through using sieves with different sizes of mesh: lumps from flour, rice from salt, coffee from coffee beans, stones from soil, different size seeds, sugar from sugar lumps, buttons in a button box, etc

Problem-solving – How could you separate water from salt if your only heat source was the Sun

Investigative fair test – What affects how quickly carbon dioxide is created in the reaction between a vitamin tablet and water?

 Explore – The children should add a piece of an effervescent vitamin tablet to a beaker of water. 

Ask them to explain what the bubbles are and where they came from. 

Now ask the children to part fill with water a small container with a push down lid (e.g. a Benecol yoghurt drink container).

 The children can then place a whole vitamin tablet into the container, and then quickly push down the lid. After a short while the lid should pop off. To control the mess, do this investigation in a tray.

The children could choose to change: the amount of tablet, the temperature of the water, the type of liquid, the type of tablet or the amount of water. They should use a stopwatch to measure how long the reaction takes until there is enough gas to blow the lid off.

Earth and Space

Modelling - Make a scaled model of the solar system


How far is the Sun from the Earth?

The following videos will show children how a class modelled the solar system: http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/stargazing-challenge-building-the-solar-system-from-fruit/13901.html



The following website will allow you to work out the size of the models for the planets and the distances from the Sun based on the size of the Sun which you can choose: http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/

 For example, by choosing the Sun to be 1000mm (i.e. 1 metre) the nearest planet (Mercury) will have the diameter of 3.4mm and will be over 41 metres away from the ‘’Sun’.

Research - What is it like on the other planets in the solar system?

As part of finding out about the orbits of the planets in our solar system relative to our Sun, the children could find out more about what the effect their position has on the conditions on their planets.

Children can use books and the internet to find out what it is like on the other planets.

Information about each of the planets can be found on NASA’ website:



Modelling- How does the shape of the Moon appear to change over time?

The following video shows how to model the phases of the Moon:



Sun must be an OHP/desk lamp, a white ball is the Moon, and the head of the pupil is the Earth. 

The white ball is mounted on a stick which the child holds up and out. The OHP is aimed at the ball. The child rotates (sitting on a swivel chair) with a stick and comments on what he/she can see. (Best done away from a wall to avoid light being scattered back and thus illuminating the dark side.)

Problem-solving – How can we use the Sun to tell the time?

The children could be challenged to make a shadow clock. They could probably make one that will be reasonably accurate for a few days.

After this, they could have a go at putting together a sundial and gnomon. This will allow them to tell the time using the Sun throughout the year (as long as there is enough sunlight!). You will need to look up the latitude of where you are on Earth.


Pattern-seeking investigation – How does the length of shadows change over day?

The focus is trying to enable the children to make a link between the direction and length of the shadows throughout the day with movement of the Earth on its axis. 

By placing a rounders pole on the playground throughout a sunny day the children can measure the length of the shadow every hour. 

They could also note down the compass direction of the shadow.


Investigative fair-test– What affects how well a parachute falls?

Allow the children to try dropping parachutes. Show children how to make a parachute by:

1.      Tie and elastic band around a teddy bear.

2.      Tie a length of string to a corner of a square of plastic bag, pass this through the elastic band and tie to the corner of the bag that is diagonally across from the first corner.

3.      Repeat ‘2’ using a piece of string starting from one of the other corners.

Ask them what about the parachute (including string and bear) affects the rate at which it falls. 

Investigative fair-test Investigation – What affects how well the tub travels?


To start with, allow the children to explore how to propel the tub using an elastic band stretched between the legs of a chair. 


The children can plan their own investigation. They might want to change: the number of elastic bands, how far back it is pulled, the surface on which it is travelling, etc.

Problem-solving – How can we slow down the tub when it is travelling?


This is now an opportunity to combine what the children have previously learnt about parachutes with what they now know about tubs travelling along the ground. 

The context could be that the theme park owners want the carriage to slow down quickly, but without hurting the occupants. 

The children can design and test a parachute that will open from the back of the tub when it begins to travel.

Problem-solving – Can you make the blue tac fall in 3 seconds?

The children will need to use what they have learnt about the shape of the blue tac in relation to the amount of water resistance in order to make a shape that will fall in a set amount of time.

Pattern-seeking – How much force is required at when the fulcrum is in a different place to lift a mass at the other end?

Label one end of the ruler with ‘L’ post it (load). 

Label the other end with a ‘F’ post-it for ‘force’.

Place a rubber at the ‘L’ end. 

Place the fulcrum (pencil) under the middle of the rule. 

Add masses to the ‘F’ end of the ruler. 

Find out how many grams were required to lift the load to horizontal. 

The children can then try moving the fulcrum to find out what affect this has on the amount of force required to lift the load to horizontal.

Working Scientifically: 

During years 5 and 6, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content: :  

  • planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  • taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate  
  • recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs  
  • using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests  
  • reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations  
  • identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments


Websites for investigation ideas: