Year 3/4 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
The Circle Of LifeThe Explosive PlanetFood Glorious FoodNational TreasuresIncredible IndiaWater, Water

The Circle of Life

The Circle of Life is a geography and science-based topic which focuses on the African Savannah and Grasslands.

On wow day, the children will learn about different African tribes and take part in various traditions associated with them, including the different roles men and women play, the importance of clothing, and tribal dancing.

The children will then look at where the continent of Africa is located and with the help of an atlas identify and name the countries which make up this vast landmass.

Using photographic evidence, children will identify the similarities and differences which exist between African villages and cities compared to the UK. They will then consider how this will affect how people live in these areas.

The children will discover how the Savannah plants and animals have adapted so they can survive the very dry conditions of central Africa. They will explore the idea of food chains and how these create the circle of life and explore how this links to an even bigger food web. When comparing habitats, the children also understand that not all animals are able to live in the same environment and therefore need to adapt in order to survive. In addition, the children will also look at the positive and negative impacts humans have on the Serengeti and the importance of protecting its decreasing numbers of wildlife.

In Art, children will be creating their own piece inspired by Nicola Davies, illustrator of ‘Last – The story of a white rhino.’ They will use collage to create similar backgrounds in the style of Davies and draw African animals on top, considering the concepts of observation, proportion and dimension.

Children receive weekly music lessons through an external music service: Music Hub. This half term the focus will be on duration – beat, rhythm and metre.

In English the children will be writing a non-chronological report on their chosen African animal. They will also write their own African myths, developing and embedding their learning from previous narrative writing projects.


The explosive planet

The Explosive Planet is a geography-based topic which involves studying the processes which cause extreme natural disasters and their impact on the natural environment and the people living in the area.

Children identify where volcanoes are located in the world and look at what happens when volcanoes erupt, creating and exploding their own model volcanoes in class during WOW day. They examine the geological structure of the Earth (the core, mantle and crust) and how movement of heat from the core causes the formation of volcanoes. The children label the different parts of a volcano and understand how the tectonic plates and the geological structure of Earth cause earthquakes which lead to the eruption of volcanoes.

In history, the children investigate the disaster of Pompeii (79AD). Using artefacts and photographic evidence they will learn how the events of an eruption wiped out an entire village.

The children study rock samples, identifying the main characteristics of the three rock groups (igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary) and explaining how each type is formed.

MS Godfrey is the inspiration for Art this half term. Children practise the skill of layering materials and paper to create a cross-section of a volcano. They will explore what colours work best layered on top of others and use tearing techniques to rip and change the shape of the materials. From this they will use different painting materials to create an explosion of lava.

In Design and Technology children will design and make a structure to withstand an earthquake. Exploring current earthquake hotspots will help the children to understand how structures differ in these regions to those here in England. They will test out and improve their structures by trialling different materials and will evaluate their structure by testing it out using jelly as the surface of the Earth.

In music, led by Music Hub, the focus will be on pitch. The children will also explore sound; looking at the sounds of natural disasters and the pitch they are conducted at.

In English, the children use the book Escape from Pompeii to write a recount narrative. They will also use poetic language techniques to write their own descriptive poems of a volcano and its movements.


Food Glorious Food

Food Glorious Food is a science-based topic that involves the discovery of why food is so important to our daily lives.

Children investigate the different ingredients that make up a meal and consider why peoples’ tastes differ in terms of their age, culture and gender, as well as why we like the taste of some foods more than others. They will then study the science behind how taste, smell and appearance can affect our food choices and what happens when we eat and digest our food. Children gain an understanding of the digestive system and the role each organ plays within this. They also learn about the different types of teeth in the human body and the role they play in consuming food.

In geography, children discover where many of the foods we eat originate from and work out their carbon footprint in terms of food miles from plough to plate. Children compare how food is grown using different farming methods around the world. They also look at the farm as a basic system and compare how it has changed over time. They gain an awareness of fair trade and how profits are shared between workers.

In art, children study the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo and develop their drawing skills by creating their own still-life arrangements using food items. They will also design and paint their own fruit faces.

Children develop their understanding of solids, liquids and gases in the context of food. Science is combined with food technology when the children learn about change of state in the process of bread making. This understanding is then supported by a science experiment diving deeper into the chemical reaction between yeast and sugar to create carbon dioxide.

In English, the children will write their own fantasy stories based on the journey of Alice in Wonderland. Along the way, Alice experiences how different food and drink impacts on her behaviour the children discuss and debate the advantages and disadvantages of this.


National Treasures

National Treasures is a history and geography-based topic which explores the culture of the United Kingdom and looks at iconic landmarks that are considered to be national treasures. The children will follow the story ‘The Queen’s Handbag’ by Steve Antony, using their mapping skills to plot out the journey made within the text. Along the way, the children will explore the locations identified in the book, identify their cultural and historical significance, and consider why they might be seen as national treasures.

In geography, children identify which countries make up the United Kingdom and the British Isles, their capital cities, and the main cities within them. They gain an understanding of what a county is, name the county they live in and its neighbouring counties and locate them on a map. They look at the different flags of the four nations and see how they are represented within the Union flag.

In history, children focus on changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, using the national treasure Stonehenge as a case study. In Art, children will explore the patterns used in Iron Age artefacts, using their new knowledge to create their own authentic sculptures.

Religious education will focus on the main religions found in the UK, with a particular focus on Christianity. Children will also use this time to understand British values and how our society has developed our understanding of other religions.

Shakespeare, as a national treasure, will be the focus for English writing this half term. The children will explore Macbeth through drama and create their own ‘Toil and Trouble’ poems. They will use debate to understand the motives of the key characters, and then will go on to write their own alternative endings to the play.


Incredible India

In this geography- based unit the children will learn about the location of India within the world and the geographical features of the sub-continent, including the Himalayas.

The children will learn about Indian culture and the lifestyles of people who live there, tasting authentic Indian foods and learning about various types of clothing and traditions. They will also investigate the origin of the term “Bollywood” and its impact on western society.

Throughout the unit the pupils will learn about historic Indian role models such as Gandhi and the impact they had as individuals on their country and the wider world.

In Art and DT, children will explore the skill of Batik painting to create their own authentic Indian art. They will then use their designs to make a product of their choice for example, pillowcase or scarf, transferring their batik design onto their product using simple sewing patterns.

During dance lessons children create their own Bollywood dance production which they will perform to the school.

In RE, children develop their knowledge of different cultures by exploring the main religions of India:  Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

In English, the children will study stories from other cultures, focussing in particular on ‘Jamil’s clever cat’. They will then write their own story from another culture, thinking about how choice of vocabulary can help the reader understand about different ways of life. The children will also write a newspaper report based on events in India.


Water, Water Everywhere

During this geography-based topic, pupils will investigate water as a finite resource which shapes our lives, the natural environment, and societies around the world. The children will develop an understanding of the importance of water in our lives and an appreciation of how its availability affects different societies and economies. Using map skills, children will name and locate the main rivers of the UK.

The children will be able to explain the erosional and depositional features formed by the movements of rivers (such as valleys, waterfalls, meanders, and deltas) using maps and photographs to identify where within the river system they will be found. The children will also investigate how our rivers are under threat from pollution and exploitation.

The children visit the Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruerne to investigate how water has been used as a means of transport and learn about the importance of canals to the local area during the Industrial Revolution. They investigate how this important local resource has shaped a variety of industries and settlements over time and has affected the lives of those who lived on, or near the canal.

In Science, the children will investigate the water cycle and understand the processes of evaporation, condensation (cloud formation) and rainfall (precipitation). From this, children will look at rainfall and collect data to support their understanding of weather in the UK.

In English, pupils will use Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo as inspiration for different forms of writing. Letters in a bottle from Michael’s perspective will encourage the children to use emotive language, whilst instruction writing on how to survive on the island will focus on technical vocabulary.

The final outcome of this topic will be to develop a campaign to conserve water, both at school and in the wider community.