Year 2 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Marvellous MachinesLight & DarkLife In The FreezerWonderful, Wild WeatherMagnificent Milton KeynesA Knight's Adventure

Marvellous Machines 

This is a mainly science and design technology topic in which the children learn all about how machines work, identifying whether they are simple or automatic, and how they can be improved for the future.

In science, the children look at the physical properties of materials and how they are used in engineering. They carry out an experiment looking at how materials can be changed.  They then identify different types of machinery, their purposes and how they work. The children use different sources of information (internet, books, leaflets, magazines) to learn about everyday machines and find out why they were made and how they work. They look at how machines have changed in our living memory and also those that have changed over a longer period of time, and consider their importance to our lives, e.g., the development of airplanes.

In history, the children learn about and research several revolutionary inventors who have helped shape the world as we know it in terms of advancing our technology, including the Wright Brothers. They also learn about Amelia Earhart and her significance as a female aviator in the early 20th century.

In geography, the children locate and name the countries of the UK using information about famous inventors from the four countries. Using knowledge learnt about Amelia Earhart, they plot a trip around the world which journeys through all seven continents and across the oceans.

In design and technology, the children become designers and following the design process create their own machines for the future.  They review the designs of existing products/machines to see if they are still fit for purpose and look at technological changes seen locally in Milton Keynes, i.e., driverless delivery boxes. The children also learn about the original ideas and designs of Leonardo Da Vinci and see how they are still used today.

In art, the children learn about the Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi and discuss their ideas about his machinery inspired art. They then produce their own examples of machinery art using styles, patterns and shapes from his work.

In RE, the children learn more about the Christian faith by looking at how Christians use their place of worship and how they celebrate important times in Jesus’s life.

In music, the children use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes with a focus on keeping in tune and keeping time. They also focus on how to sing from simple notation, how to use high and low pitch note and identify when to sing loudly, quietly, softly and explain their choices.


Light and Dark 

In this topic, the children go back in time to the 17th century to learn all about the foiled Gunpowder Plot and the tragedy of the Great Fire of London. They then look at nocturnal animals and how they survive in the darkness.

In history, the children learn about two significant events in our country’s past. They begin by learning about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot and gain an understanding of why Bonfire Night is still celebrated today. They then investigate the Great Fire of London in 1666, by looking carefully at the causes and the impact of the fire. The children learn to distinguish between the ‘past’ and the ‘present’ to help them fully understand this important event. During research time, the children find out who Samuel Pepys was and read parts of his diary, which was the main source of information about the fire. They compare London today to how it was then and write their own diaries from Samuel Pepys’ point of view.

In art, the children create a well- known painting by Robert Hooke of the Great Fire of London by using silhouettes and the technique of colour washing for the skyline.

In science, they learn all about nocturnal animals including how they survive, what they eat, where they sleep and their different adaptive features. The children also make simple food chains related to nocturnal animals.

In geography, the children use aerial photos of London to plot the journey Guy Fawkes took through London to the Houses of Parliament.

In music, the children learn songs and how to keep in time confidently by performing in the Key Stage 1 Nativity play.

In RE, the children learn about the use of symbols in everyday life for Christians. They also look at how and why Christians believe they should care for the world.

In English, the children write a letter using the events of the Gun Powder plot as inspiration. They also write a set of instructions to create a handprint bonfire. They then learn about the author Oliver Jeffers and write stories based on his books.


Life in the Freezer

In this topic, the children learn all about how animals and humans survive the extreme climates of the North and South Polar regions.

In geography, the children find out about the location of the Arctic and Antarctic and make comparisons between their climate and physical geography as well as comparing these to the UK. They also compare Antarctica to the United Kingdom. The children use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise key human and physical features of both polar areas. They also identify the location of hot and cold areas in the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles.

In science, the children investigate which types of material are the best insulators and create insulating blankets to keep an ice cube from melting. They design and make a shelter for their ice cube to slow down the melting process and conduct an ‘ice race’. They then experiment with weaving different materials and fabrics to find the best insulating container for their ice cube. The children look at food chains and sources of food in the Polar Regions, exploring how different Arctic and Antarctic animals have adapted in order to survive the freezing conditions of such extreme habitats. The children also learn about the life cycle of a penguin.

In history, the children find out about famous explorers and dangerous expeditions to the Poles and investigate which materials and supplies would be good to take on an expedition. They learn about the historical journey of the ‘Race to the South Pole’, order and sequence events relating to Captain Scott’s exploration of Antarctica, using drama to re-enact the treacherous conditions of the journey. The children also learn about Shackleton’s explorations and make comparisons to those of Captain Scott.

In art, the children make sketches of the shape and form of different species of penguins from direct observation and use a range of sketching skills, such as cross hatching, to add detail.

In design technology, children create 3D models of igloos using papier-mâché using what they have found out about the Inuit way of life, and how these people survive and live in the Arctic regions. They also design their own micro habitat for an animal in either the Arctic or Antarctic using a shoe box and a range of other materials.

The RE focus in this topic involves looking at important and special celebrations in our lives and how we celebrate them. The children also look at why and how other children and people celebrate different events.

In music, the children are taught how to play tuned and untuned instruments. They learn how to perform in tune and keep rhythm and timing by copying and playing simple rhythms. The children also learn how to vary the pitch of their instruments to play louder and quieter as well as at different tempos and pulses.

In English, the children write a non-chronological text about different species of penguins explaining how they survive. They then write postcards about a penguin’s adventures around the world. The children then move on to writing persuasive letters to persuade the head teacher to let them have a penguin as a school animal. To end our unit of writing, the children create a hero story, where a penguin protects his friends from the attack of a leopard seal.


Wonderful, wild weather

In this mostly science and geography-based topic, the children learn all about weather and how it affects the world we live in, investigating the different weather types that are found across the whole world.

In science, the children plant and grow bulbs and make observations about the best conditions for them to survive in. The children explore the four different seasons in greater depth and investigate the weather and climate linked to each one, discussing the natural changes throughout the year.

In geography, the children locate different types of weather across the seven continents, using globes, and investigate how the weather affects the daily lives of people who live there, making comparisons to their own locality in Milton Keynes. Next, they build on the work they did in Life in the Freezer to investigate further differences between hot and cold climates and also compare the UK’s climate and seasons to that of a different country. Finally, the children look at extreme weathers such as tornadoes and find out where these happen.

In art, the children develop their awareness of contrasts in texture and colour to create weather collages that show the four seasons in the form of a tree, using different media and a range of tools

In music, the children use percussion instruments to create different weather sounds, such as rain, lightning and thunder, and compose a piece of weather music that they then perform.

The RE focus for this topic looks at which festivals are celebrated within the different seasons. The children then learn about Bible stories that have links to weather, such as the story of Noah’s Ark and the parable of The Sower and the Seeds.

In English, the children will become reporters and create a transcript of an extreme weather incident. They then perform and record their news report.


Magnificent Milton Keynes

In this topic that is close to home, the children learn about the history of Milton Keynes, its culture and community. They learn about how the city has changed over time and explore what makes it famous and a great place to live in!

In history, the children investigate how the idea for the new town of Milton Keynes began, and how and why it has evolved since. They interview members of the local community (at home and in school) to share their experiences of growing up in Milton Keynes over the years, so that comparisons can be made with the children’s own experiences. The children look at the growth of New Chapter Primary School and compare photos and maps from when the school was first built, to how it is now. They explore other historical events linked to Milton Keynes, including the impact of the Roman era in this area.

In science, the children build on their knowledge of plants and growing. They visit the local area to observe the plants that grow in their local environment and see why natural spaces are important. They make links to geography and explore how Milton Keynes has been designed to promote and encourage a variety of habitats, plants and animals. The children will extend their knowledge by making comparisons to the habitats and environments they learnt about in Life in the Freezer. They work scientifically to describe the different conditions in the different habitats and micro-habitats and find out how these conditions affect the number and types of animals and plants that live there. In addition, the children grow and observe sunflowers to help them understand the different parts of a flower, what it needs to grow and how it grows. The children also monitor changes in the weather across the term and the seasons, and observe any patterns.

In geography, the children name and locate significant places within their community and use basic symbols in a key to show their location on a map. They use fieldwork to collect information on their local environment including key human and physical features of the area. They investigate what facilities are available locally and conduct a local traffic survey. The children use aerial photos to recognise landmarks, key human and physical features and significant places and develop their location and directional language (supported by the use of compasses) to describe the location of significant places in their local area compared to New Chapter. The children also complete a survey with their families about where they grew up and where this is located in Milton Keynes. The children look at playgrounds in the local area and compare them to others in Milton Keynes. Using their geographical skills and the data they have collected, the children suggest improvements that could be made to their local area.

In design and technology, the children explore the features of a good playground, and apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt in their geography and science lessons to design their own one.   They design a purposeful and functional playground which includes a park surrounded by nature with microhabitats. They then use a range of tools, equipment and materials to make their model. On completion, the children evaluate their design against their original criteria and suggest improvements that could be made. The children then present their research and findings in a class exhibition.

In RE, the children look at symbols used in Judaism and their meaning to the faith. They also explore how people of the Jewish faith learn about God and the natural world from the Tanakh and other special texts.

In music, the children continue their work experimenting in creating music using tuned and untuned instruments with a focus on the use of different pitch, rhythms and tempos.

In art, the children practise the skill of mixing colours to match those found in the environment around New Chapter by closely observing sticks, leaves, petals and rocks. The children also use clay to sculpt cows using tools and techniques to link to the concrete cows of MK.


A Knight’s Adventure

This history-based topic takes us back in time to 1066 to learn all about life in the Middle Ages.

The children learn all about life in the Middle Ages, including the role of the monarchy and the knights, what weapons were used in battles and the importance of castles. They begin to use timelines to order and sequence the reigns of significant monarchs during this period of British history. The children make comparisons between court life and village life in Norman England, as well as comparing life then to our lives now, looking in particular at clothes and jewellery worn and weapons used.

In science, the children continue to explore the properties of different everyday materials and consider how they were used to make armour and weapons, and to build castles. They compare the strength, hardness and suitability of the materials and make judgements on why they were used for the particular purpose.

In geography, the children look at the characteristics of castles found in the different countries of the UK and make comparisons between them. They look at the physical location of these castles and understand why particular locations were chosen. The children also look at castles from around the world and compare their shape, style and detail to UK castles; they consider how they relate to the culture of the countries they are found in.

In art, the children find out about the different forms that printing takes, such as books, pictures, wallpaper and fabrics, and use this knowledge to create their own tapestry using inspiration from historical examples such as the Bayeaux Tapestry.

In design technology, the children design, make and evaluate their own shield created out of cardboard using knowledge and ideas from their history lessons. They choose the shape, colour, design and animal for their shield based on historical meaning and use their knowledge of everyday materials to help strengthen it.

In RE, the children learn about Judaism, including how people of the Jewish faith use synagogues as a place of worship, how special events are celebrated and why these events are so important.

In music, children experiment with creating their own music by selecting and combining sounds using a selection of tuned and untuned instruments.

In English, the children write a narrative in which a hero defeats a villain using the text ‘George and the Dragon’ by Chris Wormell. They also write a non-chronological report about the Middle Ages.