Year 5 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Infinity And BeyondInfinity And BeyondWhat Did The Romans Do For Us?Off to the RacesThe Victorians- An 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. They 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. The children 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. They will use percussions instruments to support them in this.

Infinity and Beyond

This half term, the children continue to learn about further aspects of space and the solar system.

During the second wow day, children are given the opportunity to investigate a number of art techniques, experiment in using them and then to create an abstract piece of art using illustrations from the book ‘Planetarium’ by the Science Museum as a stimulus. The children explore techniques such as cross-hatching and the use of lines for effect, as well as look at colour palettes, focussing in particular on contrasting and complementary colours. They use the skills they have learnt to create their own interpretation of one of the planets in the solar system, selecting and using suitable equipment for the task. Their final piece is drawn in a porthole template to give the impression of the view an astronaut might have of their chosen planet.

In science, children take on the role of an astronaut and look at the scientific elements of mixing solids, liquids and gases in order to understand the different features of the planets. The children investigate the properties of different soils through sieving and filtering to determine the elements within particular planets’ surfaces. They ask questions, make predictions, test their predictions and draw conclusions based on their findings.

In geography, the children explore the different climate zones of the different planets in space and draw comparisons between the weather and climates we experience on Earth.

In computing the children investigate and create vectors using drawing software. They find out that vector images are made up of shapes and learn how to use the different drawing tools and how images are created in layers.

In design technology, the children investigate mechanical systems to plan, create, test and improve their own Mars Rover. They will test out and learn how to reinforce and strengthen the framework of their Rover for it to move smoothly and over different surfaces. To do this, they group materials according to their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets, and choose materials appropriate for a rover to survive in space.


In RE, the children begin by looking at ‘The Big Bang’ theory and then explore the views of how the world began through the Christian faith. They make comparisons between a scientific and religious perspective on how the world began and humans ended up on earth. Following on from this the children take a more in depth look at the Christian faith, its beliefs, practices, symbolisms and art.

The book ‘Great Adventurers’ by Alastair Humphreys (which tells the stories of famous explorers and their expeditions) is used to enhance English lessons. Children write their own diary entry from the perspective of Michael Collins, the third astronaut to make the mission to the moon in Apollo 11 alongside Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. They also write a news report, which links to a scientific discovery on a planet.

To end the term, the children will draw upon all the knowledge they have gained to create a class non–chronological report. Children will work in pairs or small groups to document facts about certain elements of the Solar System before putting them together to create a whole class information text.

What did the Romans do for us?

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 an explanation text on how to become a successful Roman legionary fit for battle in the Roman army. In addition, the children will also write a newspaper article about a runaway gladiator.

 Off To The Races

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.

The Victorians - An 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 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 study the artist and designer William Morris to look at the importance of collage and pattern. They will be experimenting with prints and combining different styles to create their own end piece, fitting for a Victorian style wallpaper.

In Music, the children will learn some Victorian songs and learn some from the musical Oliver. They will learn how to play percussion instruments and perform music in solo and ensemble contexts with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression. The children will learn a song called ‘Hurrah, the 19th Century’ from the BBC which will develop their understanding of inventions from the Victorians as well as experimenting with different percussion instruments to perform it.

In English, the book ‘Street Child’ by Berlie Doherty is used as a class reader and gives the children an insight into what life was like as a Victorian child growing up in a workhouse. Children will also study ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes. They will act out this poem and then adapt it to create their own rendition as well as creating a character description based on the information given within the poem.

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 will complete a fitness ‘test’ at the start of the topic and then repeat the test at the end to compare their rates of fitness. When studying respiration, the children will observe a set of lungs inflating and deflating through a science experiment.

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. Using scientific equipment, they create a model replica of a working heart looking at how the muscles and blood flow work. 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.

In English, the children will use what they have learnt in science to write a letter to persuade people to exercise. They also research some famous athletes and write biographies about them.