Year 1 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Under the SeaThe Toy BoxArhh Me HeartiesJurassic ParkJack and the BeanstalkWho am I?

Under the Sea

The activities in this unit are designed to help the children make the transition between the Early Years Foundation Stage and KS1.  The children are supported in developing friendships within their new class, settling into their new classroom environment, and taking part in daily routines. The classroom has EYFS style continuous provision activities set up so children feel familiar, comfortable and secure in their new learning environment.  

 The children learn about a variety of sea creatures through fun, hands-on and informative activities and by sharing lots of books linked to the topic. After reading Boo! A Fishy Mystery by Kate Read the children explore a variety of art skills and techniques, such as collage, observational drawing and colour mixing to create their own sea creatures, quickly turning their classroom into an artistic aquarium. The children then transfer these skills to design technology when they create 3D fish tanks and a magnetic fishing game. 

 In science, the children explore the world beneath the sea further. They begin to classify animals into birds, mammals and fish, start to identify and name sea creatures and investigate simple food chains. The children build on their knowledge of floating and sinking from EYFS by recording results as part of a scientific investigation. Someone Swallowed Stanley by Sarah Roberts and Clem and Crab by Fiona Lumbers spark discussions around pollution and sorting rubbish by material.  

 In their geography learning, the children begin to look at the differences between land and sea to find out what a continent and an ocean is. They also explore the meaning of the word island and understand that we live on one.  

 In music lessons, the children build on their experiences of singing in EYFS and learn some under the sea songs and poems as a class, thinking about how to perform them together. Beginning to think about fast and slow tempos and loud and quiet sounds, they create a composition around ocean waves.  

The Toy Box

On launch day the children bring in their favourite toy and share them with the rest of the class, discussing why they are important to them. They then observe their toys closely, focussing on the details, and use paint to create an image of them.  

 The children use their prior learning about the specific features of materials to help them identify what their toys are made of and explain what they think is the best material for a particular toy. They then use this scientific knowledge to help them to sort different toys into different categories.  The children also consider the functions of different toy and identify whether they have any moving parts. 

 During their history learning, the children investigate how toys have changed over time.  They compare old and new toys and look at a range of Victorian toys and games and play some out on the playground! The children are encouraged to speak to family members and ask questions about the toys they played with as children and then make comparisons with the toys that are played with today. Using artefacts, pictures and accounts, the children gain an understanding of chronology and changes in living memory and create a toy timeline of popular toys through the years.  

 In art, the children explore artwork and illustrations of different teddy bears found in children’s literature and bring in their own teddy bears to sketch. In design technology they then work through the design, make and evaluate process to make their own sock teddies, considering which materials are suitable for the different parts of their design. 

 In music the children listen to Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’. They explore creating movements in response to the music and how to move rhythmically in time to music. Towards Christmas, the children also listen to a variety of festive songs and then build on their composition and performance skills to compose their own festive piece of music using a selection of percussion instruments. 

 The children discuss special times of the year in religious education by listening to the Christian story of Christmas and talk about how special events are celebrated in their families.   

 During this half term, the children in EYFS and Key Stage One work collaboratively to learn and perform a Christmas performance to which parents and carers are invited.  

Arhh Me Hearties

During the launch day, the children become pirates for the day and experience pirate life first-hand. They learn how to talk like a pirate, dress like a pirate and act like a pirate, including hoisting the sails and scrubbing the decks! They use their art skills to create hats, eye patches and telescopes to build their pirate identity. The children also work with textiles to create their own pirate flags.  

 In music, the children continue to learn about rhythm and dynamics when singing sea shanties and pirate songs, while finding out that pirates would sing them while working together.  

 In history, the children learn about the famous pirates Blackbeard and Anne Bonny and create wanted posters with key facts about what they have learned. They explore the names and uses of different pirate-related objects and think about how a day in the life of a pirate was very different to the activities we do!  

 In geography, the children explore maps, atlases, globes, and Google Earth to identify where we live, the differences between oceans and land, and to find the north and south pole.  They also look at physical and human features on a map, looking closely at coordinates so they can identify them on a map. The children then use this knowledge to create their own treasure map. 

 Building on their scientific knowledge of materials from our Toy Box unit the children continue to think about the properties of materials by exploring whether they are waterproof or not. In design technology, they use this understanding to then identify suitable materials for making a boat, using waterproof materials for the hull, wind-catching materials for the sails and strong materials for the mast. The children also use what they have learnt about making healthy choices about food to create their own healthy version of pirate grog. 

Jurassic Park

This unit starts with the children becoming palaeontologists by investigating dinosaurs and their habitats. On launch day, the children discover frozen dinosaur eggs and explore different ways to melt their eggs and ‘hatch’ their dinosaurs. They begin looking at the different features of dinosaurs and talk about what they already know and want to find out.  

 In history the children learn about famous palaeontologists, such as Mary Anning, and talk about the significance of her discoveries, imagining what a day in the life of a palaeontologist would be like. The children also find out about a local dinosaur fossil discovery and use aerial photos to pinpoint Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes, where an Ichthyosaur was discovered in 1982! 

 The children are given the opportunity to investigate fossils further by using brushes and magnifying glasses.  They learn about how fossils are formed and in art lessons make their own fossils and dinosaur footprints using modelling clay. The children then use their knowledge and understanding to design and create their own dinosaur skeleton, using an X-ray effect, and invent and design their own made-up dinosaur. 

 In design technology, the children use hinge and lever mechanisms to create dinosaur hinge cards. 

 In science, the children learn about the different features of carnivores and herbivores. They investigate the skeletons and appearance of herbivore and carnivore dinosaurs by looking at the similarities and differences between them, the defensive armour of herbivores and the dangerous weapons of predatory dinosaurs. Making links to their maths understanding, the children learn about sorting and classifying in science. They sort living things into animals, insets, plants and dinosaurs.   

Jack and the Beanstalk

In this unit, the children develop their scientific enquiry skills and build on their experiences in EYFS by investigating how plants grow.  They plant a variety of different types of fruit, vegetables and flowers from seeds and are given the responsibility of tending to them throughout the growing process. They also grow their own beanstalk and keep a record of its development over the half term. The children use their maths skills to measure the height of their growing plants and to measure out the correct amount of water their plants need. They then use photography to record the progression and process of plant growth.   

 Also in science lessons, the children learn to identify some common garden and wild plants as well as some types of trees. They learn about the different parts of a flower, as well as what a plant needs to grow.  

 In history, the children look at how farm machinery has changed over the years and how changes in technology have helped farmers. 

 In geography, the children begin to look at weather and seasons and consider the effect of these on how things grow, preparing them for their weather topic in Year 2.  

 Using their existing knowledge of healthy foods, the children design and create and their own fruit salad in design technology. They learn how to measure and weigh ingredients to and, with support, use a range of hand tools such as scissors, graters, zesters, safe knives and juicers to cut, peel and grate ingredients.  

 Observational drawings and sketches of plants in art lessons, help the children to begin to think about tone and shading. The children also experiment with using natural resources to create sculptures in our outdoor area.  

 In religious education, the children use their understanding of fairy tale morals to think about behaviours that are right and wrong. They think about who can help them in different situations and what makes someone a good person. The children also begin to think about how others can have different views and opinions to themselves. 

Who Am I?

This unit begins with our launch day planned on an ‘All About Me’ art theme. The children complete a range of activities based on the work of a variety of famous self-portraits by significant artists such as Andy Warhol and Van Gogh. They look at the techniques the artists used to create their works of art and learn about colour, tone and shape. The children then sketch their own self-portraits by carefully looking at their unique facial features. Later in the unit, the children use another medium, such as paint and pastels, to build on their understanding of primary and secondary colours and their use in portraits. They investigate how emotions can be explored through art by matching colours to different emotions and explaining their choices. 

 Talking about groups they belong to, similarities and differences between us and our beliefs are the building blocks for religious education this half term. The children spend time thinking about what makes them unique, consider why others are special and compare how they celebrate important events in their lives. 

 In history, the children create a family tree to help them to understand the terms ‘past’ and ‘present’.   

In geography, they explore the place where they live and the features of their local area. They then compare their findings to other children’s homes around the world. The children expand their knowledge of aerial photographs and simple geographical terms to help them describe buildings and create maps of our school. 

 In science lessons, the children learn about the main parts of the body and their functions, helping them gain an understanding of the workings of their own bodies. They explore how humans change and grow. Using this knowledge, the children plan and make a moving marionette puppet of themselves in design technology.  This activity enables them to begin to understand the design process, including the importance of prototypes, design development and following a plan, which they will evaluate after each stage.  The children use both peer and self-evaluation to assess their work and think about modifications they could make to both their work and the design process itself.