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 unit 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 and carry out an experiment to look at how materials can be changed.  They then identify different types of machinery, including everyday machines, their purposes and how they work. 

 In history, the children look at how machines have changed in our living memory, as well as those that have changed over a longer time period, and consider their importance to our lives, e.g., the development of airplanes. They research several revolutionary inventors who have helped shape the world as we know it in terms of advancing technology, including the Wright Brothers. They also learn about Amelia Earhart and her significance as a female aviator in the early 20th century. 

 The children locate and name the countries of the UK in geography lessons using information they have found about famous inventors from the four countries. Using their knowledge about Amelia Earhart, they also 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 follow the design process to 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, such as 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 lessons, the children look at the work of 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. 

 The children learn more about the Christian faith in religious education, 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 notes and identify when to sing loudly, quietly, softly and explain their choices. 

Light and Dark

In this unit, the children consider the impact that light and dark have had on humans and animals. 

In history, the children go back in time to the 17th century to learn about two significant events in our country’s past. They begin by learning about Guy Fawkes and the foiled Gunpowder Plot and gain an understanding of why Bonfire Night is still celebrated today. In geography, aerial photos of London are used to plot the journey Guy Fawkes took through London to the Houses of Parliament. The children are introduced to firework safety and write instructions that will help them communicate this important message. They then investigate the tragedy of 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. The children find out who Samuel Pepys was and read parts of his diary, which was the main source of information about the fire. The children compare London today to how it was then and write their own diaries from Samuel Pepys’ point of view. 

 In art, the children recreate 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 lessons the children learn all about nocturnal animals, including how they survive in the darkness, what they eat, where they sleep and their different adaptive features. They also create simple food chains relating to these animals. 

 The children learn songs and how to keep in time confidently in their music lessons and perform them in the EYFS and Key Stage 1 Nativity play before parents and carers. 

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

Life in the Freezer

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

 In their geography lessons, the children find out about the location of the Arctic and Antarctic and make comparisons between the climate and physical geography of the two regions. They also compare Antarctica to the United Kingdom. The children use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and 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. The children learn about the lives of Inuit communities and make comparisons with their own everyday lives. 

 In science lessons, the children investigate which types of material are the best insulators and create insulating blankets using a range of materials to stop an ice cube from melting. They learn about the life cycle of a penguin and make comparisons to their own life cycle. They also name and identify other animals and plants that live in these harsh habitats and consider how their basic needs are met.  The children become increasingly more confident when identifying whether something is alive, dead or has never been alive.  

In history, the children find out about famous explorers who carried out 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’ and 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. 

 The children create 3D models of igloos in design technology lessons using papier-mâché, based on 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 discover 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. 

 Wonderful, wild weather

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

 In science lessons, the children plant and grow bulbs and make observations about the best conditions for them to survive in. They 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 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 their art lessons, 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. 

Magnificent Milton Keynes

In this unit, the children learn about the history of Milton Keynes, its culture and community. They discover how the city has changed over time and explore what makes it famous and such 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 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 for plants and animals. The children 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 here.   

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 develop their location and directional language (using 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 in Milton Keynes. The children then create their own map using simple symbols for their own local area.   

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 art lessons, 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. They then then use both manmade and natural resources to print paint onto a canvas. 

A Knight’s Adventure

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

In history, the children investigate 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 the 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 learning. They choose the shape, colour, design, and animal for their shield based on historical meaning and use their science knowledge of everyday materials to help strengthen it. 

In RE, the children continue to 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. 

The children experiment with creating their own music in their music lessons by selecting and combining sounds using a variety of tuned and untuned instruments.