Year 3 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
A Bug's LifeAncient EgyptiansThe Iron ManChocolateBlitz KidsAlong The Coast

A Bug's Life

This unit introduces the children to the characteristics and habitats of a range of minibeasts and plants and enables them to develop their scientific skills.  

 During the launch day, the children investigate the living conditions of mealworms, finding out what they eat and where they like to live. The children then apply this knowledge to create an appropriate living environment for a mealworm.  

 The children explore the school environment and identify the different plants and insects found here. They then use this knowledge in geography lessons to create their own maps of the school grounds, highlighting the different trees, plants, and minibeast locations. 

 In science, the children are immersed in the world of plants. They learn about the structure of a plant, and what requirements plants have for growth. They also learn about the lifecycle of a plant and seed dispersal, and how water is transported up a plant’s stem. The children investigate the role minibeasts, particularly bees, have in the lifecycle of plants, and how they are necessary for creating the correct environment for plant growth. The children also find out how to identify an insect and use this knowledge to work out if all minibeasts are insects. A range of firsthand experiences support their scientific understanding, such as: nurturing caterpillars to butterflies; building wormeries and ant farms; learning how to collect and observe minibeasts; and going on nature walks around the school grounds and local area to identify trees and plants. 

 In art, the children carry out an artist’s study on Henri Matisse and his Snail painting and learn how to mix different secondary and tertiary colours. They then apply the artist’s techniques, and the colour-mixing skills they have learnt, to create their own Matisse-inspired minibeast paintings. The children move on to explore different patterns found in nature and how this was replicated in the prints of Victorian artist, William Morris. They design their own versions of his prints and patterns, applying the knowledge they have learnt about plants and minibeasts during their science lessons and using a range of printing, rubbing, collaging, drawing, and painting techniques. 

Ancient Egyptians

This history-based unit introduces the children to the life and times of the Ancient Egyptians. 

On launch day, the children take part in an immersive experience that enables them to explore the world of Ancient Egypt. They start by becoming archeologists, learning how to catalogue and describe the artefacts found in an Egyptian dig site. They then investigate mummification and its purpose in Ancient Egyptian religion. They also find out about the significance of ornate jewellery in Ancient Egyptian culture as they make their own Egyptian-inspired pieces. 

Further history lessons enable the children to explore the daily lives of the Ancient Egyptians in greater depth using a range of sources. The children investigate where the Ancient Egyptians lived, what they ate, and what they wore. They learn about religious beliefs and the significance of key Egyptian gods in people’s lives; what the Ancient Egyptians believed happened in the afterlife; and social structures. The children also learn about the chronology of Ancient Egypt and investigate the lives of some significant Ancient Egyptians, such as Tutankhamen, Cleopatra, and Rameses the Great. 

In geography, the children locate Egypt on a world map and find out about the physical and human features of the country. They learn about why the river Nile was so important to ancient Egyptian life, and how that importance has continued to the present day. 

In science, the children explore the structure of human bodies, in particular the function of the skeleton, and relate this to what can be observed from x-rays of Egyptian sarcophagi. 

In their art lessons, the children learn about the relief printing process and design and make their own printing stamps. They explore colour mixing further through overlapping different prints, applying their skills to create their own cartouches containing Egyptian hieroglyphs.  

In design technology, the children are given a range of different construction materials to design and produce an Egyptian pyramid. They investigate which joining techniques would be best to fix together their pyramids.  

In RE, the children explore the symbolism prevalent in Christianity and contrast this to the symbolism in the Ancient Egyptian belief system. They then express their own beliefs through symbols and create a cartouche that represents themselves symbolically.  

The Iron Man

This unit takes its inspiration from the book ‘The Iron Man’ by Ted Hughes.  

In science, children explore forces and magnetism. They undertake a series of different experiments and investigations to explore how magnets work and identify which materials are magnetic. The children also learn about friction and, through several experiments, discover what effect this has on the movement of objects. 

In design technology, the children investigate how levers and linkages work. They apply this knowledge, and their knowledge of magnetism from science, to create a machine that will lift the Iron Man out of the sea. The children complete detailed designs and plans, and then work collaboratively to create their machine, testing it by rescuing miniature Iron Men from water. Afterwards, they evaluate the effectiveness of their machines, and write a conclusion for their project stating what worked well, and what they would change next time.  

In geography, the children extend their map work from previous terms, to create a map showing the location of key events in the story, and the journey that the Iron Man undertakes. They explore the themes of pollution and conservation of the Earth using the stories The Iron Woman and The Tin Forest as well as The Iron Man and discuss man’s impact on the environment. These themes of environmentalism are explored further in R.E., where the children consider how religion can teach the importance of conserving the world.    


This is primarily a history and design technology-based unit.  

On launch day, the children create their very own chocolates. They start by undertaking market research which helps them to identify the flavours and the type of chocolate which are popular around school. The children use their scientific knowledge of states of matter to understand how chocolate melts and sets, to work out how long it will take their chocolate to be ready before taking part in a taste testing session. 

In geography lessons, the children investigate the journey from ‘bean to bar’. They discover that chocolate comes from cacao beans which grow on cacao trees in tropical countries such as Ghana. The children investigate what life is like in a small village in Ghana and compare it to their own life in Milton Keynes. They also consider the importance of fair trade and the effects it has on local communities in Ghana.  

Their chocolate journey takes the children from Ghana to Birmingham, England where they find out what happens to the cacao beans once they have been imported into Britain, with a focus on the chocolate manufacturer: Cadbury. Children learn about the history of the Cadbury family and how they tried to improve living and working conditions for their employees. 

Further history lessons provide an opportunity for the children to immerse themselves in the Mayan culture and investigate how this civilisation played an important role in the history of chocolate. They learn about key historical events and sequence them on a timeline. Using a range of sources and artefacts, the children recognise that different versions of past events may exist. They find out about the everyday life of the Mayans, such as jobs, gods, games and entertainment, and make comparisons to modern life. 

In design technology, the children design and make their own Easter egg and create its packaging. They start by looking at existing products, evaluating the materials that are chosen for the design and why particular materials are chosen. The children then design their own product, selecting appropriate tools and equipment and safely using a heat source to create their eggs. Finally, they evaluate the strengths and areas for development of their finished product. 

In RE lessons, the children consider how Christians respond to issues of human rights, fairness and social justice by relating their understanding to the Quaker beliefs of the Cadbury family, as well as the Fairtrade movement. 

Blitz Kids

This unit looks in detail at the experiences of children living during World War 2 (1939-1945).  

The children begin by taking part in an air raid drill and considering the impact that the Blitz had on children’s everyday lives. Further history lessons explore the impact of the evacuation of children from the major cities to the countryside and how rationing affected both the food that children ate and the clothes they wore. Using a range of artefacts, first-hand accounts and photographs, the children develop their historical enquiry skills and make comparisons to their own lives. A trip to Holdenby House, in Northamptonshire, to take part in an evacuee experience day gives the children the opportunity to experience war-time life in a hands-on way. Finally, the children learn about the impact of the War on our local history by investigating the importance of Bletchley Park to the war effort.  

In geography, the children use atlases to find the key European countries involved in WW2 and locate their capital cities. They also develop their understanding of the map of England by locating the counties that children were commonly evacuated to.  

In design technology, the children prepare and cook their own rationing dish using techniques such as chopping and slicing. They also construct a replica Anderson shelter, using photographs of actual shelters to guide their choice of materials and support the accuracy of their design. 

In science, the children focus on the importance of light. They recognise that light is needed to see things and that dark is the absence of light; they also look at shadow formation and how shadows change in size. An investigation into the effects of the blackout during the Blitz supports this understanding.  In addition, the children investigate the negative effects that rationing had on people, both physically and mentally, and compare this to the balanced diet that is required for staying fit and healthy.   

In RE, the children consider where moral codes come from and explore how these moral codes help shape the way that people live their lives. They then create their own set of moral codes that they see as important to living a fulfilling and positive life.  

Along The Coast

This unit focuses in detail on the key aspects of the United Kingdom’s coastline. 

On launch day, the children locate popular British seaside resorts and plan a holiday to one of them. They consider what they will need to take with them, where they will stay, what activities they will do at their destination and how they will travel there by train. 

In geography, the children investigate the main geographical features, both physical and human, of the UK coastline, using the Jurassic Coast in Dorset as a case study. Aerial photographs and symbols on OS maps are used to locate key features and the children develop their knowledge of the eight points of a compass to help them to interpret the maps.  

In science, the children compare, and group together, different types of rocks based on their appearance and physical properties. They use this knowledge to make links to their geography work on coastal features and types of beaches. The children investigate how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock. They also consider how soil is created and learn how to identify different types of soil. Finally, the children learn about the dangers the sun can pose to their eyes and how they can protect them. 

In history, the children use a range of historical sources, including photographs and first-hand accounts, to investigate what life was like in Victorian seaside towns. They consider similarities and differences between Victorian seaside holidays compared to nowadays and discuss how trends have changed over time. Making links to their exploration of the Jurassic Coast in geography lessons and their knowledge of how fossils are formed, the children learn about the historic figure of Mary Anning, a fossil collector who became known around the world for the discoveries she made in Dorset. 

In art, the children use different collaging techniques to create a mixed media seaside picture using a range of objects found on the beach that include a variety of textures and surface patterns. 

The RE focus for this unit is Christianity; the children discover how Christians use the Bible to learn about God, the world and human life.