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Topics this half term

Every half term each key stage takes on a new topic of study.  

Our children learn about 12 different topics over a two year cycle in every key stage (one for each half term every year).  Our pupils learn about all sorts of interesting topics, from 'Burps, Bottoms and Bile' to 'Star Gazers' to 'Alchemy Island'.  Tap on the expanding boxes below to read about the topics for each of our key stages this half term.  

EYFS (Nursery and Reception)

What is a Shadow? (Nursery)

Glorious sunshine casts curious shadows. What is a shadow? Do you like the dark? It’s time to explore night and day, and light and dark in this project about shadows.

This half term, we’ll head outside to go shadow hunting, exploring our environment to find and make shadows. How will our movements affect our shadows? Back in the classroom, we’ll investigate light by using prisms, torches and kaleidoscopes, discovering which materials light does and doesn’t shine through. On a journey around school, we’ll spot different light sources and trace around the shadows outside. Will these shadows change throughout the day? In our literacy lessons, we’ll predict and complete rhyming strings and write about the different things we do in the day and at night. Using our mathematical skills, we’ll explore opaque and translucent 2-D and 3-D shapes, grouping them and making patterns. Getting creative we’ll try out some shadow puppetry, make lava lamp sensory bags and craft beautiful stained glass windows. We’ll also share our experiences and feelings about the dark.

At the end of the project, we’ll reflect on what we have learnt about light and dark, draw shadows and make a night time scene out of blocks and battery-operated tealights.

Help your child prepare for their project
Shadows can be spooky, but they are also great fun! Why not practise making animal shadows together by projecting a beam of light onto a wall and using your hands and fingers to create shadowy creatures? You could also draw a picture of your house and garden, adding shadows. Increase the difficulty by adding the Sun to the sky and predicting the direction the shadows would be cast, depending on the Sun’s position. Alternatively, venture out into the garden on a sunny day and use both your bodies to create weird and wonderful shadows.

 

Why Do Ladybirds Have Spots? (Reception)

Incy wincy spider climbed up the waterspout! Why do ladybirds have spots? Why do spiders spin webs? It’s time to find out more about minibeasts and their habitats.

This half term, we’ll visit a local park to carry out a minibeast safari! Magnifying glasses clutched firmly in hands, we’ll look under logs, leaves and stones for creatures that wriggle, crawl or fly. We’ll find out about minibeast habitats, features and colours, and compare them. Observing snails in a tank, we’ll think about how they move. Can we move like that too? We’ll also move like ants, working together to collect and carry objects to move and rebuild a structure, piece by piece. To get to know these creepy crawlies better, we’ll make and monitor a mini wormery, minibeast hotel and a butterfly garden. Can we predict what will be these minibeasts’ favourite foods? In our literacy sessions, we’ll use sequential vocabulary to retell stories, and write a story from the perspective of a spider. In our mathematics sessions, we’ll predict and count ladybird spots and compare the lengths of caterpillars made from cubes, counters and beads. Getting creative, we’ll make leaf confetti, minibeast finger puppets, and learn to waggle dance like a bee.

At the end of the project, we’ll invite you to an assembly where we’ll share our learning with you. We’ll also make brightly-coloured pebble beetles and give them scientific names.

Help your child prepare for their project
Minibeasts are marvellous! Why not visit your local pet shop together and take a look at some exotic minibeasts. Can you find out what countries they came from? You could also try worm charming in your garden. Put a large hoop on an area of earth, water the area with a watering can, and tap your fingers lightly on the ground. Can you entice any worms to the surface? Alternatively, read minibeast-themed stories together, such as Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Bad-Tempered Ladybird, to find out more about these incredible creatures.

Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)

The Scented Garden

Let’s tiptoe through the tulips together and discover the sights, sounds and smells of the garden.

This half term, we’ll visit a florist’s shop or a garden centre. We’ll find out how to look after plants, ask the experts questions and appreciate the flowers. We’ll write an information book about plants, follow instructions, enjoy the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and write stories of our own. Discovering our green fingers will be fun when we plant and tend a pizza garden of herbs. We’ll also learn about the different parts of a plant and create our own ‘planting and growing’ action rhyme. Our senses will help us describe and sort a range of smells and we’ll make beautifully scented products. We’ll look closely at a wide variety of plants, create detailed, observational drawings and press real flowers to use in collages.

At the end of our project, we will have become plant experts! We’ll create a presentation about plants, share the information books that we have made and design a fantasy garden.

Help your child prepare for their project
Gardens are so special and are an excellent place to visit together. Why not take close-up photographs of flowers and use a plant identification app or spotting guide to find the name of each plant? You could also buy some wild flower seeds and watch them grow. Alternatively, bake recipes containing fragrant herbs and spices! Cheese and chive scones, cinnamon biscuits and lavender cake are all delicious!

Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4)

Potions

Poisonous potions, aromatic brews, vapour or a sticky goo… Welcome to the amazing world of potions!

By reading an extract from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, we’ll learn all about mysterious potions, and write a safety label for Alice’s bottle. We’ll sort everyday items into solids, liquids and gases. Using our investigation skills we’ll explore capacity and the properties of liquids. We’ll also design fabulous bottles for magical potions. Becoming super scientists, we’ll investigate chemical reactions and states of matter. We’ll research the use of anaesthetic and learn what life was like without it! The play, Romeo and Juliet will inspire us to write scripts, and we’ll think of an alternative ending for this tragic tale. We’ll write spells with magical, strange or gruesome effects – what ingredients will we use? It will be great fun to make chocolate hearts and bath bombs! We’ll also create canvas art on a large scale!

At the end of the ILP, we’ll invite you to visit our class of potion masters. We’ll even make delicious potion treats for you to taste!

Help your child prepare for their project
‘Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.’ Why not hunt around the house to track down a wide variety of items and sort them into solids, liquids and gases? You could also sketch interesting bottles or containers that you have at home. Alternatively, you could try baking something new together, thinking about how the ingredients change when you mix and cook them.

Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6)

Darwin's Delights

Ship ahoy! We’re off on an exciting journey with Charles Darwin and his crew on the HMS Beagle.

During this half term, we’re going to investigate a range of animal specimens, describing the characteristics of the creatures, and labelling their body parts using software. We’ll use a range of non-fiction books to investigate adaptation, natural selection, variation and inheritance. After examining letters and journal entries written by Darwin, we’ll write our own examples. We’ll collect natural items and discover what plants live around our school. We’ll retrace Darwin’s steps using maps and create sketchbooks to record the plants, flowers and trees we encounter. Using maps and globes, we’ll plan an expedition. What will the weather be like and what physical and man-made features might we encounter?

At the end of the ILP, we’ll think about why the Galapagos Islands developed such diverse animal life, and why they might be under threat. We’ll also think about what Darwin would have worked on if he were alive today. How would he use our technology?

Help your child prepare for their project
Charles Darwin was a world-renowned naturalist, geologist and physicist, and we’re going to follow in his footsteps. Why not collect samples of plant life from your garden and see if you can identify them? You could make detailed sketches of the plants you find, just like Darwin. Alternatively, visit a museum that has fossils on display. What can you learn about the animals from which they were formed?