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 topic 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 classes, settling into their new classroom environments, and taking part in daily routines.

The children learn about a variety of sea creatures through fun, hands-on and informative activities.  In art and design technology the children learn a variety of methods and techniques, such as collage, observational drawing and colour mixing. They use them to create 3D fish tanks, chromatography fish and model jelly fish—quickly turning their classroom into an artistic aquarium.

In science, children explore the world beneath the sea. They identify, name and group sea creatures, and also investigate simple food chains. Children build on their knowledge of floating and sinking from EYFS by recording results as part of a scientific investigation. As part of their geography curriculum they begin to look at what a continent and an ocean is and discover the names and locations of these.

In English, the children start by recapping the foundation skills of writing that they learned in their first year at school. Using lots of sensory and visual prompts to build on their vocabulary, they develop their creative writing skills using ‘Under the Sea’ stories such as Rainbow Fish and Tiddler.

In music, the children build on their experiences of singing in EYFS. Beginning to think about fast and slow tempos and loud and quiet voices, the children learn some under the sea songs and poems as a class and think about how to perform them together.

In computing, the children learn basic skills such as how to turn the laptops on and off, how to log in independently and how to use the track pad. They build on these skills by using a search engine to explore topic related games and activities.

The Toy Box

For their Wow Day the children bring in their favourite toy.  They join in with a show and tell where they share their toys with the rest of the class and discuss why they are important to them. They begin to think about the materials that their toys are made of and their functions. The children then look in detail at their toys to paint a picture of them and write descriptions.

During their history learning, the children investigate how toys have changed over time.  They 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. This is supported by looking at the features of non-fiction books in English lessons.

In music the children watch videos of fireworks, bonfires and sparklers. They think carefully about the sounds they make and experiment with percussion instruments to create their own sounds to accompany the videos. They think carefully about the structure, duration and dynamics and then watch the videos back with no sound, performing their own bonfire night music. Towards Christmas, the children listen to Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ and then build on their composition and performance skills to compose their own festive piece of music using a selection of percussion instruments.

Children discuss special times of the year in religious education by listening to the Hindu story of Rama and Sita and discussing Diwali and also the Christian story of Christmas. They build on their learning in EYFS by talking 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.

In design technology the children work through the design, make and evaluate process to make a toy. This links closely to the children’s science learning by looking at which materials are suitable for different toys, how mechanical toys move and thinking about forces.

To develop their enquiry skills, the children use their scientific knowledge and understanding to investigate how far a car will travel when the height and surface of a ramp changes. They then use their Talk for Writing skills in English to write a recount of their science experiment.

Arhh Me Hearties

This topic ignites imagination and creativity through drama, music, art and role play.  For their Wow 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!

In music, the children continue to learn about rhythm and dynamics when singing sea shanties and pirate songs. In history, children learn about the famous pirate Blackbeard and where in the world he went by building on their knowledge about the world’s oceans and continents from our Under the Sea topic.

In geography, the children also learn to use keys and co-ordinates to read maps, including treasure maps. They design and make their own treasure maps and in computing use a programme to navigate around a desert island using their knowledge of positional language and directions; they also guide their shipmates around their islands.

In their art and design technology lessons in this topic, the children work collaboratively to create their own pirate ship role play area and desert island. They create pirate face collages, hats, eye patches and telescopes to build their pirate identity.

In English, the children look at stories and create their own adventures and characters, using drama activities as stimuli for extended writing.  They also have to follow instructions to make a pirate’s drink, grog, which is not very nice to drink! The children use their Talk for Writing skills to order the instructions and learn about imperative verbs. Luckily, in design technology the children then get to design and make their own, much better tasting, drink from tastier ingredients which they have to measure carefully and mix together.

Jurassic Park

This topic starts with the children becoming palaeontologists by investigating dinosaurs and their habitats. On Wow Day, children will 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 they look at key palaeontologists such as Mary Anning and talk about the significance of her discoveries. The children then imagine what a day in the life of a palaeontologist would be like and create story boards of this. They look closely at a local dinosaur fossil discovery and use aerial photos to pinpoint Caldecotte Lake, where an Ichthyosaur was discovered!

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

Making links to their maths understanding, the children learn about sorting and classifying by examining the features of different types of dinosaurs and comparing them. They investigate the skeleton and appearance of herbivores and carnivores, looking at the similarities and differences between them, the defensive armour of herbivores and the dangerous weapons of predatory dinosaurs.

In English, the children will be developing their previous knowledge of the features of non-fiction books and texts and use their topic knowledge to create their own dinosaur non-fiction book. There will be lots of opportunities for them to use both computing skills and non-fiction texts for their research and presentation. The children will create fact files about some of their favourite dinosaurs and other pre-historic creatures.

Jack and the Beanstalk

This topic uses scientific enquiry to enable children to investigate how plants grow, building on the children’s experiences of growing in EYFS.  The children will grow 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 will also grow their own beanstalk and keep a record of its development over the half term.

The children will 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.

In geography they will 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.

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

In computing, the children will begin to use the internet as a research tool, loading websites that can help them identify and describe the different parts of the plant such as roots, stem and leaves. They are also introduced to coding using the programme ScratchJr to sequence instructions and edit their own characters on the game.

Children will use non-fiction texts about plants and gardening in English to help them understand what a plant needs to grow. They will also discover a variety of fairy tales and consider how they vary, by looking at different versions of Jack and the Beanstalk. Using drama, the children consider characters’ motives and behaviour, and develop their understanding of the structure of a story, settings and common themes that underpin fairy tales.  The children then write their own versions of traditional tales and create a ‘what happens next?’ sequel to fairy tales such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

In religious education 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. They begin to think about how others can have different views and opinions to them.

Who Am I?

This topic begins with our Wow Day, based on an ‘All About Me’ art theme. The children will 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 also look at the techniques they used to create their works of art. The children will learn about colour, tone and shape and will have the chance to sketch their own self-portraits by carefully looking at their unique facial features. Later in the topic, children will have the opportunity to use another medium, such as paint and pastels, to build on their understanding of primary and secondary colours and portraits.

Building on their understanding of emotions from the PHSE Jigsaw programme, the children will also learn about emotions and explore them further through art by matching colours to different emotions and explaining their choices.

Talking about groups we belong to, and similarities and differences between us and our beliefs are the building blocks for religious education this half term. 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 English, children use drama to act out a range of emotions and work through everyday friendship scenarios, writing a leaflet on how to be a good friend and solve friendship issues. As well as learning about themselves, children will also get the opportunity to write poetry about others and their surrounding environment. Using the skill of questioning, the children will interview their friends and teachers and use their answers to write riddles about themselves and others in the class.

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, building on their EYFS experiences of exploring their surroundings. They then compare their findings with other homes around the world. They expand on their knowledge of aerial photographs and simple geographical terms to describe buildings and create maps of our school.

In Science lessons, the children learn about parts of the body and their functions, helping them gain an understanding of the workings of their own bodies. They also explore how humans change and grow. Using this knowledge, the children plan and make a moving 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 will 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.