Year 4 Curriculum Overview

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

The Circle Of Life

This topic covers many biogeography concepts and ideas and many of the case studies will feature the African Savannah or Grasslands. The children will 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. The children will be taught how to use an atlas to identify and name a variety of physical features of Africa such as mountain ranges, rivers and seas/oceans and then use this information to label a base map correctly. They will also be learning to read lines of latitude and longitude accurately, using 4 and 6 figure grid references on a globe.

Using photographic evidence, children will identify the similarities and differences which exist between African villages and cities. They will then imagine how this will affect how people live in these areas. The children will be given the opportunity to sample staple African foods such as couscous, rice, yam and mango.

The children will discover how the Savannah plants and animals have adapted in order to survive the very dry conditions of central Africa. They will study and recreate African sunsets by blending colours together. In Literacy the children will be writing African myths and creating persuasive booklets to encourage others to visit the beautiful and mysterious African National Parks.

RE and PSHE themes covered in this topic include the circle of life; looking at stages of development from birth to death, the importance of family and friendship and how our own actions affect others.
In Music the children will use a range of percussion instruments to explore the effects of rhythm and tempo and create a tribal dance based on quick movements. They will use their experience of playing African drums and the African masks they made during the topic launch day in their performance. African WOW-day includes animal mask making followed by African drumming. Fabulous finish: the children will give a presentation to parents on what they have learned based around the theme ‘Postcards from Africa’.

The Explosive Planet

This topic involves studying the processes which cause extreme natural disasters and has an explosive start! The children begin by looking at what happens when volcanoes erupt and create and explode their own model volcanoes in class. They then look at the different beliefs which exist, regarding how the Earth was created and then compare this to the scientific ‘Big Bang’ theory. They examine the geological structure of the Earth i.e. the core, mantle and crust and see how convection currents in the mantle, due to a movement of heat from the core, cause the formation of volcanoes.

Children label the different parts of a volcano and study pictures and video footage of different eruptions around the world, to enable them to describe what happens during a volcanic eruption. They study rock samples and identify the main characteristics of the three rock groups: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and explain how each type is formed. Volcanic eruptions can cause significant impacts on the natural environment and the people living in the area. In Literacy, through researching their own case study on the internet, the children will produce and record a news report, as if they were a reporter, reporting from a disaster area. They will explain the role of relief aid agencies and create their own charity campaign to raise awareness.

WOW day—children create and explode their own volcano.

Fabulous finish — parents will be given demonstrations and presentations on how to survive an earthquake by our team of experts.

Food Glorious Food

This topic involves the discovery of why food is so important to our daily lives. Children will be given the opportunity to 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. Children will go on to study the science behind how taste, smell and appearance can affect our food choices and what happens when we eat and digest our food. The chemistry of cooking will be used to explain what changes occur when materials are mixed with water when they are heated or cooled. The children will also consider how tastes have changed over time by looking at the history of food over the ages.

During Numeracy lessons the children will be collecting food related data and producing graphs of their favourite foods. Within topic lessons, the children will be reading, following and writing their own set of instructions on how to make not only a delicious and healthy fruit kebab but a smoothie too.

They will discover where many of the foods we eat originate from and work out their carbon footprint in terms of food miles i.e. plough to plate; how far the food on their plate has travelled.

Children develop their drawing skills by creating their own still-life arrangements using food items and study the paintings of Guiseppe Arcimbolo. They will also design and paint their own fruit faces.

Children compare how food is grown by different farming methods around the world. They will look at the farm as a basic system with inputs, outputs and processes. They will gain an awareness that if food supply is lower than its demand, famine may occur.

They will examine the reasons why famine continues to occur in the Horn of Africa and how charities are trying to prevent more people and children from starving to death.

In literacy, the children will write their own fantasy stories based on the journey of Alice in Wonderland. Along the way, Alice experiences different food and drink that impact her behaviour, the children will discuss and debate whether this is a good idea or not.

WOW day—investigation of how a meal is made. Fabulous Finish— Experiment, how does drink affect our teeth.

National Treasures

In this Citizenship and PHSE topic pupils will learn about what represents the cultural identity of Great Britain today. They will research and investigate role models and aspirational people from the past and present, who are seen as national treasures i.e. The Queen, William Shakespeare and political leaders such as Winston Churchill, sportsmen and sports teams and national sporting events such as Wimbledon and the 2012 London Olympics.
The children will investigate why some people or objects (Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace and Blackpool Tower) are regarded as national treasures by some people but not by all and will therefore come up with their own definition of the term ‘national treasure’ and what they perceive their own national treasures to be.

They will learn about the iconic images and products that are synonymous with Great Britain in the past and today i.e. pop culture, food and traditions such as fish and chips, roast beef and cream teas and identify how values and social attitudes have changed over time i.e. chicken tikka masala has now become the UK’s most popular dish.

In Geography, the children will learn what countries make up the United Kingdom and British Isles. They will look at the different flags of the four nations and see how they are represented within the Union Jack.

In Topic they will look at the life and works of William Shakespeare and will write a newspaper report recounting an event from the story of Romeo & Juliet. In Literacy, Children will look at another great piece of Shakespeare’s; Macbeth. They will break the story down by performing it and then transforming it into a play script where they will eventually write an alternative ending to Macbeth itself.

WOW-day: A National Treasure—looking into what makes Great Britain.

Fabulous finish: a Dragon’s Den challenge, in which the children will be asked to re-brand today’s Great Britain to represent its diverse society and identify what will be the national treasures of the future.


In this unit the children will learn about the location of India within the world and the geographical features of the country. They will be investigating the origin of the term “Bollywood” and its impact on western society.

During dance lessons children will create their own Bollywood dance production which they will perform to their parents at the end of the topic. Pupils will also learn about the Indian culture and lifestyles of people that live there, tasting authentic Indian foods and learning about various types of clothing and traditions. Pupils will have the chance to use Batik paints in order to create their own authentic Indian artwork.

Throughout the unit the pupils will learn about historical Indian role models such as Gandhi and the impact they had as individuals on their country and the wider world. In Numeracy the children will be comparing population size and area of land of India and the UK.

In Literacy the pupils will also be studying stories from other cultures. These stories will consist of what it is like to live in India and Asia through popular culture and historical settings. Children will write their own

Bollywood inspired stories and share with other children around the school.

WOW-day Indian food tasting

Fabulous finish – Parents will take part in the final stage of the Batik painting

Water, Water Everywhere

During this Geography / Science topic pupils will investigate water as a finite resource which shapes our lives, the natural environment and societies around the world. All living things need water, as it is essential for survival. However, while many people locally waste this precious resource, other places in the world receive very little water.

Children will develop an understanding of the importance of water in our lives and an appreciation of how it affects different societies and economies. The final outcome of this topic will be to develop a campaign to conserve water, both at school and in the wider community.

The topic is expanded with a Marvellous Middle visit to Stoke Bruerne to investigate how water has been used as a means of transport and also the importance of canals to the local area during the Industrial Revolution. Children will develop an appreciation of the Grand Union canal by beginning to understand 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. Children will also undertake an in-depth study of the causes and effects of the 1998 Bedford flood.
The children will be able to explain the erosional and depositional features formed by the movements of rivers i.e. valleys, waterfalls, meanders and deltas. They will also be able to identify these features from photographs and be able 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. In Literacy, pupils will create their own adventure story based on the book, Kensuke’s Kingdom.

In Science, pupils will investigate the water cycle and understand the processes of evaporation, condensation (cloud formation) and rainfall (precipitation).

WOW day—Mantle of the Expert activity in which children use their knowledge to solve a problem.

Fabulous finish—Children will present their river course models to their parents and demonstrate their knowledge of the different parts of the river. What will the parents remember?

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