Year 3 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
A Bug's LifeThe Lion, The Witch And The WardrobePyramids, Pharaohs And PapyrusChocolateCode Breakers and Finding PatternsAlong The Coast

A Bug's Life

‘A Bug’s Life’ is an exciting topic, which allows children to discover and investigate the lives of minibeasts. This topic is predominantly science based and looks in depth at insects and other mini-beasts. The children will investigate through computing, books and hands-on experiences what these small creatures look like and why, their homes, what they eat and how they adapt to life in the wild.

Children begin the topic by taking part in a mini-beast hunt around the school grounds, where they identify and count the different types of insect that can be found. They will then observe the bugs that they collect and  produce detailed observational sketches and drawings of their different features. Linking in with our English unit on non-chronological reports. The children research a bug of their choice, create an informative non-fiction leaflet and also learn how to classify bugs according to their physical features.

Using what they have found out about the habitats and environmental needs of the minibeasts, children will design and make bug houses using natural resources. These will be put around the school site to help the insects survive the cold winter months.

Although the topic is mostly fact based, the children are also given the opportunity to develop their creative thinking, writing and drawing skills. They use what they have learnt in their research to design their own imaginary species of bug, describing its characteristics, favourite habitat and other interesting facts about it. This will also include writing an adventure story with the bug as the main character. We also create habitats using junk modelling to create life like homes for minibeasts.

In class, the children will have the opportunity to handle or watch a large array of creepy crawlies and the homes they create for themselves, including observing first-hand the different stages of the life cycle of a butterfly.  They will use drama to recreate this lifecycle and also to find out how ants work as a team to move items effectively.

We use our class reader of Harry the Poisonous Centipede, as a PSHE focus in this topic. Children will look at friendship and the importance of being kind and thoughtful towards each other.

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

The focus of this topic is C.S Lewis’ classic novel The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Children will explore the imaginary world of Narnia in English and investigate the historical period in which the book is set within History lessons.

Links will be made with English lessons where the children will explore how the characters of the novel, both human and mythical, are described and developed, and how C.S Lewis portrays the different settings in the real world and in Narnia. The children will use similar techniques in their own creative writing by developing their own fantasy story imagining what might happen if they walked through a magical portal into another world.

The characters in the book also enable us to discuss our own understanding of what we mean by heroes and villains. Children will consider a number of issues: What qualities do people have? What makes people behave in good and bad ways? What are reputations and how can we improve them? What are the perils of stranger danger? One of the key themes of the book is temptation. The children will explore how the White Queen was able to tempt Edmund into doing the wrong thing.

The children in the story of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe were evacuees during World War Two and we investigate the effect the war had on England and its people. We launch the topic by recreating a wartime kitchen and looking at the effects of rationing on the home. Children use wartime recipes to bake rock buns and biscuits and make their own ration cards.

One of the key focal points in the story is the lamppost. In the science and DT part of the topic we look at how we can create our own light source as well as creating shadows using torches to manipulate shape and size of shadows.  The children will make a simple electrical circuit and find out how a torch works.   In art the children will explore using shadows and silhouettes to create winter woodland pictures using chalk and pastels.

As a finale to the topic the children will have an evacuee dress up day and role play what it was like to have to leave their families.  The children will learn war time songs, make biscuits and have the opportunity to share their work with their families.

Pyramids, Pharaohs And Papyrus

This is a history and geography topic that looks at the life and times of the Ancient Egyptians.

We start the topic by exploring fact files and diary entries to explore what it was like to live in Ancient Egypt.  We consider how we know so much about a civilization that lived so long ago and discuss the role of archaeologists in finding out about the past. Children then look at the location of Egypt on the world map and the importance of the River Nile to the Ancient Egyptians. They learn about the different Egyptian gods and their significance to the people’s lives and link this to their writing in English lessons.

We then investigate why the pyramids were built, looking in detail at the process of mummification and the journey to the afterlife. The importance in this process of some of the gods they met earlier is explored through drama.

In PE lessons the children learn a dance to the tune Walk like an Egyptian to perform at the fabulous finish.

The children explore how much of what we know about the Ancient Egyptians is learned through the interpretation of hieroglyphics. We look at the significance of the Rosetta Stone which ‘cracked the code’ and helped archaeologists to understand more about life in Ancient Egypt. Children are given the opportunity to practice writing using hieroglyphs on papyrus, which is a type of paper. Children will also study how the pyramids were built and look inside the Great Pyramid. They will discover the “lost” tomb of the boy King Tutankhamun and see what treasures were found within, considering why such items were buried with the Pharaoh.

In computing, each week we will create a PowerPoint slide about a specific part of Egyptian history and landscapes including text, pictures and animation.


This topic uses Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a base through which to explore the significance of chocolate in our lives. Children will look at the key events in the story, designing their own golden tickets, and investigating the effect the desire to win a ticket has on the main characters.

Children begin the topic by tasting a variety of different chocolates and other sweet ingredients, analysing through discussions, which are the most suitable for a chocolate bar.  They use this analysis to design their own bar and wrapper.

Having tasted the chocolate, the children then investigate the journey from ‘bean to bar’. They will learn that chocolate comes from cacao beans, growing on cacao trees in tropical countries such as Ghana. Furthermore, they will discover what life is like in a small village in Ghana and compare it to their own life in Milton Keynes. We will also look at the importance of fair trade and the effects it has on local communities in Ghana.

Their journey takes them from Ghana to Birmingham, England where the children discover what happens to the cacao beans once they have been imported into Britain. The topic focuses on the chocolate manufacturer Cadbury. Children will learn about the history of the  Cadbury family and how they tried to improve living and working conditions for their employees by moving from the over-crowded and dirty city to a more rural area where the safety and well being of the employees was paramount to a successful business.

In History the children will learn about the Mayan Civilization,  Exploring that they were the first people to create a chocolate drink and snack from the Cocoa Bean.  The children will learn about the different Mayan God’s to help them create their own Mayan god and they will use their knowledge to create a Mayan Myth.

To end the topic, children will be using clay to create Mayan inspired pots and painting them to make them as life like as possible

Code Breakers

What’s happened? A classroom window’s been smashed, there are footprints on the floor and something is missing from the classroom. Year 3 has turned into a crime investigation scene! The children, in role as police constables, start this topic by investigating a crime scene, using clues that they discover along the way, and solving the mystery of what has happened. A visit from the Community Police Officer gives them a real-life insight in how to approach the task in a systematic way.

The focus of this topic is problem solving and investigating how codes are used in everyday life. Children carry out a code survey in and around the school to discover the different codes around us. They investigate how and why different types of codes are used in our local environment and how they help us with identification and sorting.

Children also look at how codes are used to communicate. They look in detail at Morse code and semaphore, sending and receiving their own messages using these codes. They go on to investigate how codes can help people to communicate by focusing on the history and use of Braille for people who are blind or visually impaired.  In computing the children will use scratch coding to communicate to with their peers.

As a history focus, we will look at one of the most famous codes of all time, the Enigma code and machine, and explore how and why this is an important part of our local history.  This involves a trip to Bletchley Park to see how the experts broke the code!

To consolidate all that they have learned, the topic will finish with the children taking part in a mission to find and retrieve the Enigma Machine, which has mysteriously disappeared. The task will require them to use their knowledge and skills in decoding the various codes that they have come across during the topic.

Along The Coast

This is mainly a history and geography unit.  Children begin this topic with a lottery draw. Fortunately, they are all winners! Each group is given a different amount of money to spend on a holiday in the UK. Using maps and holiday brochures the children will choose their favourite destination.  As part of the activity they will select appropriate accommodation for their group within their allocated budget. They will also decide on day trips and activities they can do once they are there, but at a price they can afford.  They will learn why people are attracted to the coast.

They apply their maths skills to real life situations: using rail timetables to find appropriate departure times and calculating the time of arrival at their holiday destinations. Throughout the booking process the children will calculate the cost of their holiday and their balance, so they know how much of their budget is left, to ensure they do not overspend.

The children will also compare the types of holidays they take and those of people living in the past. In Literacy, the children will be looking at the features of play scripts and will be writing their own Punch and Judy puppet show, which was a very popular past time in Victorian times.

In geography, the children will compare the different types of UK coastline i.e. pebble beaches of Brighton, bays and coves of Dorset and sandy beaches of Weston Super Mare. They will also investigate the importance of ports and harbours. Within PHSE, the children will investigate the theme of bravery and the role of organisations which help others, learning about the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the heroic actions of Grace Darling. They will use this knowledge to work together to solve their own rescue dilemmas.