Year 2 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
A Knight’s AdventureLight & DarkLife In The FreezerJust PeachyMarvellous MachinesAt The Movies

A Knight's Adventure

This is a history based unit. The children start Year 2 by looking at different types of houses that people live in and at the different features of the houses. Children list items they would find in a given room (i.e. kitchen) of a present day house and how it differs from a kitchen from the past.

They later identify, name and label different types of castle, briefly looking at the building materials used, and the characteristics and features, which make a castle safer when under attack. They also explore how kings, knights and ordinary people lived during medieval times. The children find out about the different types of food eaten at a medieval banquet and listen to the music from this particular time. All this learning comes together when children visit Warwick Castle (WOW day). In numeracy, children focus on 3D shapes including their special properties, so that they can use this knowledge to design and make castles using recycling material. This is alongside their learning about numbers and what they really mean. They also have the opportunity to consolidate this learning by applying it to everyday situations e.g. by using money and measuring skills. In Literacy, children begin their learning by listening to and role-playing selected traditional tales. They are introduced to a few drama techniques to enhance their understanding of characters and the story plot. Children read poetry about dragons and make model dragons using classroom equipment such as pencils, rulers and chalk. They will also learn the difference between fact and fiction by looking at different textual features.

Wow Day: Trip to Warwick Castle

Fantastic Finish: Parents to come in to see shared work

Light And Dark

The main focus for this topic is the Great Fire of London in 1666, by looking carefully at the causes and the impact of the fire. They learn to distinguish between the ‘past’ and the ‘present’ to help them fully understand this important event in our country’s history.

During research time the children find out who Samuel Pepys was and read parts of his diary- the main source of information about the Great Fire of London.

Through drama and music they will understand what it was like to experience a fire and choose which belongings to save; this gives them a further opportunity to secure some of the drama techniques they learnt in the previous term. They will briefly look at the first fire fighting equipment by looking at different pictures of artefacts. They will then create a well- known painting of the fire through silhouettes of cubes, cuboids and cylinders (recycling materials) linking their learning with science, light sources and shapes.

They will also find out facts about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot – another significant event in our country’s past. Children will also learn about firework safety and have a practical lesson on how to use sparklers safely. They will then write instructions that will help them communicate this important message in writing.

They will begin to learn about the movement of the earth around the sun and how this is linked to day and night. Children will have the opportunity to see some nocturnal birds and find out about their particular physical features as part of the WOW day.

In numeracy, children will begin to learn about fractions practically. Simple investigations carried out in numeracy will provide an engaging opportunity for the whole class to secure their learning in number, measure and shape. In Literacy, children will look in detail at a selection of non-fiction texts, particularly instructions, lists and dictionaries.

Wow Day: Birds of Prey visit

Fantastic Finish: Light and Dark enquiry with children and parents

Life In the Freezer

The children find out about the Polar Regions: Arctic and the Antarctic through a series of simple experiments carried out on WOW day for this topic. The focus of these experiments is for children to understand the difference between extreme cold and heat. They find out simple facts about the environment (weather and landscape) and which people and animals live there. This topic will include exploring different types of materials to choose as best insulators. The children will design and make a shelter for their ice cube so that it stays as an ice cube for as long as possible. This will be conducted as an ‘ice race’.

They will then experiment weaving with different materials and fabrics to find the best insulating container for their ice cube. Children will 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. Learning facts about the failed expedition and the causes of the failure forms an important part of their learning. They will explore writing a letter, based on the diary that Scott wrote. In Literacy, the children will be writing explanations and creating flowcharts focusing on the life cycle of a penguin.

They will learn to identify particular features of explanation texts so that they can recognise them in the various texts they encounter. This skill of writing explanations will be practised a number of times, using their own experience from the WOW day. In numeracy, children will begin to solve simple word problems in order to practise their skills in a range of contexts.

By this time, they will be consolidating number facts and using these to help find solutions to problems with the help of classroom resources such as number lines, hundred squares and practical equipment.

Wow Day: Melting Ice Challenge

Fantastic Finish: Parents to come in to see shared work.

Just Peachy

This topic is based on the story ‘James and the Giant Peach’ by Roald Dahl. Although, this topic starts during the second half of the spring term, the children will hear stories written by Roald Dahl throughout the year. This will ensure that by the time this topic starts, children will be very familiar with some of the characters and story plots by this famous author. The topic starts with a visit to the Roald Dahl museum to understand the author’s motivations and the characters which feature in his books with a particular focus on ‘James and the Giant Peach’.

Children will focus on the journey that James and his friends took and on their dreams. In Literacy, children focus on writing extended stories using Roald Dahl’s stories for inspiration. They will also be looking at plants, growth and the similarities and differences between plants and people.

Part of the topic will focus on healthy eating and recognising fruits and vegetables. We will focus on healthy meals and lifestyles by choosing foods and snacks that help us do this best. In art we explore the different shape, colour and texture of fruits and vegetables through detailed sketches using colour to help achieve the required effect. As a special treat, children will be watching the film ‘James and the Giant Peach’ throughout the topic to use ideas in our lessons.

Wow Day: Exotic Fruit Tasting

Fantastic Finish: Presentations on why we should eat healthily

Marvellous Machines

The WOW day for this topic introduces children to the two different types of forces: pushes and pulls. Simple but effective games using pushes and pulls helps them to understand that a force can affect an object. They discuss and explore a possible definition of force and use non-fiction books to help them do so. In Science children will learn about forces and machines, defining them and what they can do.

They will identify objects which are machines, simple and electronic. They will explore wind – a natural force – and the movement it can cause. This will be done through a simple experiment using balloons and elastic bands. Children will use everyday toys to explore the effect a given force can have on them. In History, they will find out about machines invented for the home to make modern life easier. This is an exciting Design and Technology topic which involves children designing and creating their own machines for the future. They will use different sources of information (internet, books, leaflets, magazines) to learn about everyday machines. In Literacy, they will recognise and identify information texts with a focus on non-chronological reports. Children will then use this information to write a detailed non-chronological report about their machine of choice. Amongst the many different skills that children will use during this topic, IT based research skills will play an important part in this topic. In Art, they will look at the abstract work of Kandinsky and create their own piece of abstract work using 2D shapes. This will enhance their understanding of shapes as they explore lines and angles.

Wow Day: Science investigation: cars down a ramp.

Fantastic Finish: Inventing machines, share these with parents.

At The Movies

The WOW day for this topic takes children on a trip back in time to look at movies through the ages starting with the black and white era of silent movies to modern day animations. The children will watch short movies from different eras to identify the particular features of each type. They will explore the very early devises that created ‘moving pictures’ and will make their own flick books and thaumatropes to experience this. Although challenging, producing these early forms of ‘moving pictures’, is an exciting experience. They get to understand fully, the level of skill required to make some of these movies.

Their learning in Literacy will be based around the stories of Shirley Hughes which have familiar characters and settings. This learning is enhanced when they create a simple animation of a well-known text which they will have explored through a range of drama techniques.

The IT based programs used to make movies will offer many opportunities for children to think about the difference in text based stories compared with stories told through movies. This is to help them understand fully the different ways of communicating a narrative effectively and the choices that they can make to do so. The focus will be on working within a small group to hone speaking and listening and group work skills. In Science, they will learn more about sounds and music. Children will also be making their own junk model instruments to use as part of their animation.

Wow Day: Making a Thaumatrope

Fantastic Finish: Movie Premier in the hall

Yr 2 Curriculum Overview - Download PDF version of this page

Understanding the Year 2 Curriculum - A Guide For Parents