What Science Is Taught in Year One?

Written by Dan

In Year 1, pupils are introduced to the exciting world of science as part of the national curriculum in England, fostering curiosity and a sense of exploration.

The Key Stage 1 (KS1) science curriculum is designed to lay down the foundational understanding of the natural and physical world. At this stage, the emphasis is on observing, exploring, and asking questions.

Young learners begin to understand the basic structure of plants and animals, including humans, and are guided in recognising a variety of materials and their properties through their educational journey.

Related: For more, check out our article on The 10 Best Science Games Online

A classroom with colorful posters and books on basic science concepts, a teacher explaining simple experiments, and children engaged in hands-on activities

Through a hands-on learning programme, students in Year 1 are encouraged to engage in practical work to ground their scientific knowledge.

Exploring through experiences allows children to grasp the basic concepts of biology, chemistry, and physics in a manner tailored to their developmental stage.

Moreover, these early science lessons are complemented by other subjects in the KS1 curriculum, such as English and maths, interlinking knowledge and skills across different areas of learning.

Key Takeaways

  • Year 1 science introduces the basic principles of the natural world.
  • Practical work is central to the KS1 science curriculum.
  • The science curriculum is integrated with other key subjects.

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Understanding the Basics of Year 1 Science

In Year 1, pupils gain fundamental insights into the natural world, beginning with the basics of botany and zoology and extending to meteorological patterns.

They learn how living things grow and the varied transformations that come with the seasons.

Exploring Characteristics of Living Things

Year 1 science education introduces children to the diverse characteristics of living things. Children learn to identify and categorise different plants and animals, understanding the attributes that define them as living organisms.

They explore the structure of plants, learning about parts such as the seeds and bulbs, and discover the basics of nutrition and how various organisms get their nourishment.

Introduction to Seasonal Changes

An integral part of the Year 1 science curriculum is grasping the concept of seasonal changes. Pupils observe the changing climate and weather, learning how it affects themselves and the world around them.

The curriculum covers not just the identification of seasons but also their impact on living things, such as the way plants adapt by shedding leaves or how hibernation patterns in animals are influenced by the colder months.

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Make Science Fun In School

Getting to Know Materials and Their Properties

In Year One science, children are introduced to the fundamentals of materials science, focusing on identifying everyday materials and understanding their various properties.

Investigating Everyday Materials

Pupils explore a range of materials they encounter in daily life. They learn to distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made.

For example, they may examine a wooden spoon, noting that the material is wood and separate from the spoon’s purpose. They are encouraged to identify the names of these materials, such as plastic, glass, and metal, enhancing their observational skills.

Grouping Materials by Their Properties

Once familiar with different materials, students learn to group them based on observable properties such as texture and flexibility. This involves categorising materials like rock, water, and textile into groups demonstrating similarities or differences.

Young learners understand that materials can be sorted by hardness, transparency, and absorbency. They begin to comprehend that the properties of a material affect its use, forming an early understanding of properties and changes of materials.

Experiencing Science Through Practical Work

Students conducting experiments with beakers, test tubes, and measuring tools. A teacher guiding them through the process, with charts and diagrams on the walls

In Year One science, practical work plays a crucial role, allowing students to engage hands-on with scientific concepts. They begin developing core science skills through interactive experiments, using simple equipment to observe and classify the world around them.

Developing Science Skills with Simple Equipment

Year One pupils delve into scientific exploration using simple equipment such as magnifying glasses, measuring cups, and basic balances. These tools help them investigate properties of materials and understand the natural world.

By observing closely, they start to foster a curiosity for science, laying the groundwork for more complex concepts as they progress. They learn to engage different senses, noting changes and patterns which form the basis of scientific thought.

Recording Observations and Data Accurately

As young students conduct experiments, they learn the importance of recording data clearly and accurately. This often involves drawing pictures of their observations, writing down numbers from their measurements, and learning to use charts or simple tables.

Accurate recording helps them see the cause-and-effect relationship intrinsic to scientific enquiry. They must comprehend early on that science is as much about meticulous observation and documentation as it is about conducting the experiments themselves.

Building Foundations in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

A classroom with biology, chemistry, and physics textbooks on a desk. Beakers, microscopes, and models of atoms are displayed on shelves

In Year One science, students embark on an exciting journey through the basics of biology, chemistry, and physics.

This foundational knowledge equips them with the understanding of the natural world and encourages critical thinking by exploring fundamental scientific principles.

Learning About Animals Including Humans

Students begin by learning about various animals including humans, starting with simple classifications such as identifying fish, birds, and mammals.

They explore basic body parts and discover how these parts function. The curriculum may include understanding the importance of exercise for health and delving into basic concepts of reproduction to appreciate life cycles in nature.

Through careful observation and asking simple questions, they develop a curiosity about living organisms.

Exploring the Basic Principles of Light and Sound

The curriculum introduces students to the basic principles of light and sound through engaging activities. They learn about light and how it is necessary for seeing and its effects when it interacts with different surfaces. Investigating the nature of sound, children comprehend how it is produced and travels.

These physical science components encourage asking questions and seeking answers, fostering a scientific approach to learning.

Enhancing Learning with Resources and Activities

What Science Is Taught in Year One?

To optimise Year 1 science education, a varied selection of resources and activities is vital. These stimulate young minds and solidify their understanding of key scientific concepts, including living things and their habitats and a range of animals.

Utilising a combination of free resources and worksheets, as well as science games and group activities, can greatly enhance the learning experience.

Utilising Free Resources and Worksheets

Free resources, such as printable Year 1 science worksheets, offer an accessible way for children to review and test their knowledge. Worksheets can be specifically tailored to various topics, such as:

  • Living Things and Their Habitats: Worksheets that classify and sort different kinds of animals based on their habitats.
  • Materials: Identifying and grouping common materials like wood, plastic, and metal.

Parents and educators can find these worksheets on platforms like TheSchoolRun, which align with the National Curriculum.

Engaging with Science Games and Group Activities

Incorporating science games and group activities into the learning process is excellent for fostering teamwork and reinforcing scientific concepts through practice.

Grouped activities, such as habitat exploration, can teach pupils about a range of animals and where they live. Moreover, interactive experiments, like creating a home for a fictional animal, combine creativity with the application of scientific ideas.

For example, the BBC’s Bitesize resource offers a collection of games and activities designed for Year 1 students. These activities are crafted to be enjoyable while educational, enabling young learners to apply their classroom knowledge in an engaging and memorable manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

A classroom with colorful posters, microscopes, and beakers on desks. A teacher pointing to a whiteboard with diagrams of plants and animals

The Year 1 science curriculum in the UK is tailored to give young pupils a foundational understanding of the world around them through engaging topics and practical experiences.

What topics are covered in the Year 1 science curriculum in the UK?

The Year 1 science curriculum includes studying plants, animals including humans, everyday materials, and seasonal changes. Pupils learn to identify and classify different species and understand basic structures of plants.

How is the KS1 science curriculum structured for Year 1 students?

For Year 1 students, the Key Stage 1 science curriculum is designed to be exploratory and practical, enabling children to experience and observe phenomena, encouraging curiosity and questioning.

Which basic scientific principles are introduced to pupils in Year 1?

In Year 1, pupils are introduced to scientific principles such as observation, prediction, and testing. They start learning how to conduct simple experiments and how to communicate their findings.

What learning objectives are set for plant science in the first year of primary education?

The objectives set for plant science in Year 1 include recognising and naming a variety of common plants, understanding basic parts of plants, and observing growth and changes over time.

How does the national curriculum shape science teaching for Year 1 children?

The national curriculum outlines a clear framework for science teaching, ensuring that all Year 1 pupils receive a comprehensive introduction to scientific knowledge and skills, with a strong emphasis on practical, hands-on learning.

Can you outline the typical content of a Year 1 science lesson in UK schools?

A typical content of a Year 1 science lesson might include activities such as examining different types of materials, discussing the seasons and weather patterns, or exploring the diversity of animal life. These lessons are designed to spark curiosity and teach children the basics of classification and observation.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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