Year 5 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Infinity And BeyondBorn in the USAAll Roads Lead to RomeNeed for SpeedVictorians and the Era of InventionsFitness for Life

Infinity and Beyond      

This is a science-based topic which focusses on space and the solar system. Exciting experiments linked to launching rockets kick start our WOW Day events as well as looking at a day in the life of an astronaut. The children complete a range of challenges using their body weight, sharp reactions, balance and coordination.

In science lessons children focus on the relationship between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon. The unit starts with a tour of the planets which orbit the sun, and children learn about their individual features. They find out that the Earth orbits the Sun once each year and, due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis; this explains why we have different seasons. The children also find out that it takes 24 hours for the Sun to rotate on its axis, and that we have periods of day and night depending on where the Sun is in relation to a country’s position on Earth. They learn about the different time zones and the Prime/ Greenwich Meridian, making links to longitude lines.

The children learn about the history of the space race and using drama think about what it must have been like to be the first people launched into space and the first to step onto the Moon. Using the text, ‘Hidden Figures’ by Margot Shetterley, children gain an understanding of the role that three African American women played in supporting the Americans and their mission to space. Discussion will also take place about the significance of their role, especially as women in a male-dominated industry and during times of segregation imposed upon black people in America.

Computing lessons offer the children the opportunity to plan and create an informative video to demonstrate what they have learnt in this topic. They are taught about different camera angles and how to edit their clips in order to create a short video to inform others about space facts.

In music, children create a musical sound scape using Gustav Holt’s ‘The Planets’ as inspiration, using percussions instruments to support them in this.


Born in the USA

Throughout this topic, the children will be developing their geographical knowledge of weather patterns, climate zones as well as the human and physical features of parts of North America.

The topic begins with our Wow Day, where the children are immersed into some typical American culture. They play flag football (a version of American football) and take part in a dance class to learn a short street dance style routine. The children then locate and name the 50 states within America as well as plotting its surrounding countries. To end the day, the children make their own American diner milkshakes, choose toppings to go on top of their pancakes and enjoy their creations whilst listening to 50s and 60s American diner music.

We use the historical Route 66 as inspiration for our geography lessons. Beginning in Chicago, Illinois, the children venture across North America visiting Lake Michigan, Illinois, Tornado Alley in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas before stopping off in Arizona to look at the human and physical features of the Hoover Dam, Arizona Desert and the infamous Grand Canyon. To end their trip across Route 66, the children visit Las Vegas where they look at aerial view maps and images to show how human features have affected the physical features of the landscape.

In design and technology, the children design and build their own skyscraper, using examples of designs and layout of skyscrapers in American cities for inspiration. The children are taught how triangles are the strongest shapes and how they can reinforce their structures using them. They then use their models to create a class city.

During this topic, Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving and Year 5 will carry out their own Thanksgiving celebrations, learning about the history of the festival and why it is significant for the American people. The children watch clips of the famous Macy’s Parade, begin the process of making a pumpkin pie and tasting it for their lunch, and reflect on and write a short poem based on what they are thankful for. In additional RE lessons, the children reflect further on how they themselves celebrate significant events.

In computing, the children learn about vectors and how they can combine shapes to create images. The children look at major American brands and how they have used shapes to create their images and brand designs, for example Adidas, Starbucks, Tesla. The children are then given the task of designing their own vector to advertise a product to sell at Christmas time.

In English lessons, the children write a film script using ‘Snow White in New York ‘by Fiona French as a stimulus. They then learn about the features of a newspaper report before writing an article based on ‘Henry’s Freedom Box’ by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson, using the part where Henry shipped himself out of a slave plantation to safety in a wooden box as inspiration for their writing. They will use the ‘Trailblazers’ series by Sandra A Agard to support their writing of a travel blog about their travels along Route 66.


All Roads Lead to Rome

This is a history and geography-based topic in which the children learn about the historical and geographical impact the Romans had on Britain, and their lasting legacy.

The topic begins with a re-enactment of the Roman invasion of Britain, with half of the year group acting as Celts and the other half as Romans. In preparation for this activity the children examine Roman armour and the specific colours and designs on Roman shields. They use this information to design and produce their own shield.

Time is spent examining how the Romans ruled and inhabited Britain. Children learn how Roman roads were constructed and how they still influence our road network today.  In geography, they use the Roman road system to extend their knowledge of the location of counties within the UK and locate key Roman settlements. They also use maps of Europe to identify and plot the Roman occupation of countries and their route from Rome to the UK.

In history children look at the similarities and differences between Roman towns compared with modern settlements. They will discover that many place names have their origins in the Roman conquest and will look at how Roman technology, architecture, designs and inventions are still used today, e.g., the use of cement in building, public baths, sanitation, aqueducts and under floor heating. Using this information, the children design their own Roman towns to the specifications of the Roman Empire. They also design and make their own mosaic floors, using their maths knowledge and understanding of patterns and tessellations.

The children investigate how our language is affected by the Latin language which was spoken by the Romans. They also investigate other legacies of the Roman occupation:  that our legal system is based upon Roman law by establishing the premise that you are innocent until proven guilty; how we measure our population using a census; and that we still use the Julian calendar with 12 months and 365 days in each year.

The children use their learning to support their writing in English lessons, where they will write a persuasive letter convincing Julius Caesar to recruit them to the Roman army. In addition, the children will also write a Legend Narrative set in Roman times using the legend of Romulus and Remus as inspiration.


Need for Speed

This is a mainly a science and design technology topic which focuses on the world of Formula One racing.

In science, the children study various forces (friction, air resistance, gravity) in the context of designing and racing cars, by using a range of scientific investigations. They explore the concepts of streamlining and air resistance by creating parachutes from various materials and testing which one travels the slowest. They evaluate their parachute and suggest improvements to further increase the air resistance to make the model parachutes even safer. Children also test different cars on a variety of surfaces to find out exactly how friction works. They do this by choosing one variable to change each time (e.g. car tyre size, car size, weight of the car) to find out whether the speed of the car is impacted or not by the change.

In Design and Technology, the children create a sling shot car. They plan the shape and body of their vehicle, then design and create a chassis before assembling and testing their product. The children carry out numerous investigations into the effect of incline on speed and distance travelled and discover how the design and shape of their car also affects its speed. In art, the children develop their technical and observational drawing skills by drawing their own race cars.

For the majority of these lessons, the children are involved in working in teams, learning how to communicate and collaborate effectively.

In geography, the children develop their map reading skills by using atlases and internet-based research to locate, using grid references, the host countries of the Formula One World Championship. They then identify the different climate zones each of the locations lies within and consider how climate and physical geography might affect driving conditions in the races held there and what adaptations might therefore need to be made to racing cars for a particular Grand Prix.

In English, the children write explanation texts using Wallace and Gromet’s Cracking Contraptions as a stimulus. They explore how different explanation texts are written, working towards writing their own text based on their own machine design. The children also use their knowledge of F1 races to create a written piece based on being at a Grand Prix race.

To finish the topic, the children visit Silverstone Museum, where they have the opportunity to handle objects from real F1 technology and learn about the history of Silverstone as a venue, the history of the sport and how cars and bikes have changed over time. They also walk on the retired circuit, whilst having a fantastic view of the current race circuit, which enables them to apply some of their scientific knowledge learnt during the course of the topic.


Victorians and the Era of Inventions

Over the course of this history-based topic, children will debate the question: ’What was the Victorians’ greatest invention?’ Using research and presentation skills they develop a thorough understanding of significant inventions of the period and consider the impact they had at the time and how they are still having an impact today.

The children find out about Queen Victoria and the significance of her reign during this era and use their research to create a fact file all about the life and reign of this pioneering monarch.

The children also investigate some of the key legal reforms made at the time, such as changes to medical equipment and practices, and public health and social reforms, including how the working conditions of children changed. They undertake an in-depth study to see how the Victorians scientifically discovered how cholera spread. Using grid references, they complete a map to show where the victims of cholera were located and analyse the distribution and spread of sufferers to identify the source of the infection. The children then write a persuasive letter to Dr. Milroy trying to persuade him to agree with their findings.

In Geography, the children investigate geographical similarities and differences between countries through trade links made by the Victorians.

In art, the children investigate perspective through drawing. They are taught how to use a focal point and a horizon in order to show perspective, then use the artist L.S. Lowry as inspiration to form their own street view drawings of a Victorian street

In English, children study ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes. They act out the poem and then adapt it to create their own character description based on the information given within the poem. In addition to this, the children write their own historical narrative poem using ‘The Listeners’ by Walter De La Mere as a stimulus. Through both units the children increase and develop their written vocabulary and descriptive writing.


Fitness For Life

 This is a science-based topic which investigates the importance of keeping fit through exercise and healthy eating. Children will assess their own levels of fitness and learn how they can keep fit as they go through life. They complete a fitness ‘test’ at the start of the topic and then repeat the test at the end to compare their rates of fitness. During Wow Day a local gym instructor will come into school and deliver a ‘Body Combat’ based fitness class.

Children recap the names of the main bones of the skeleton learnt in year 3 and learn the names and location of the body’s main organs. They create a replica of a working heart looking at how the muscles and blood flow work and how oxygen is transported. Using their knowledge of the heart, the children record their heart rates before and after exercise and plot and analyse this information in the form of a line graph. They look at the impact of exercise on their joints and muscles, and in PE learn the importance of taking part in warming up and cooling down routines.

In design and technology, the children produce a working 3D model of the arm, which demonstrates how muscles work in pairs. Once the model is completed, the children evaluate its success by identifying what worked well and possible areas for development.

RE lessons give the children the opportunity to see how different religions teach about the importance of your body being an expression of faith. They will learn how Muslims, Jews and Christians treat their bodies, the importance of the food they eat and the way they dress.

In English, the children will research some famous athletes and write biographies about them. They will then be using a significant/ historical Olympic event to create a first person flashback to the time. The year will end with the children writing a fact file about the history/ origin of the Olympics.

To end the topic, the children will use percussion based instruments to create a short drumming sequence suitable to open up an Olympic ceremony. They will use vocabulary such as crescendo to create a piece fit for purpose.