Year 6 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Peace, Love and WarPeace, Love And WarRumble in the JungleRumble in the JungleVikings: Raiders or Traders?Vikings: Raiders or Traders?

Peace, Love and War

This is primarily a history unit which focuses on the lead up to, outbreak and impact of World War I.  

Through the study of a range of both primary and secondary sources, the children undertake several historical enquiries to explore the key events of this significant period of history.  

On launch day, the children go back in time to 1914 and enrol as soldiers.  They look at original recruitment posters and explore the influence of propaganda on young men and their families at the time and role play the enlistment process and the training that followed.   The children consider what life was like for a soldier on the Western Front, from arriving at the front line, to life in the trenches and how attitudes to the war changed over time. They investigate why trenches were used and how they were built and research what life in the trenches was like for the soldiers by analysing written and verbal recounts from soldiers and civilians during the war. 

In design technology, the children use their knowledge of how trenches were designed to create their own model of the trenches and then use their understanding of electricity from their science lessons to create an electrical circuit to illuminate their models and also a buzzer warning system. 

The children read ‘Walter Tull’s biography’ by Dan Lyndon to support their understanding of the impact of war on a soldier’s life and discover this local footballer’s fascinating, yet sadly short, life. They also learn about another famous WW1 soldier – the poet, Wilfred Owen. Using some of his poetry as inspiration, as well as visual images of the war, the children create their own war poems which will be shared in a school remembrance service. 

The children explain why remembrance services are held each year on the 11th of November and what the significance of the poppy is. They gain firsthand experience of how a remembrance service works by representing the school at the local Remembrance Day parade. 

The children learn about why compulsory conscription was introduced and consider why different rules are needed for different situations. They look at moral dilemmas: why some men became conscientious objectors and how they were treated because of their beliefs.   

Using their geography skills, the children use atlases to locate the main countries involved in the outbreak of the war. They use drama to understand why war broke out and which countries were allied to each other. The children identify that the map of Europe was quite different in 1914 compared to Europe as we know it today and consider why changes had to be made to geographical regions at the end of the war.  

In art, the children use paint and then pencil and charcoal, to create contrasting landscapes of rural areas before the war and images of the trenches in the style of the artist Paul Nash. They also sculpt poppies out of clay and use them to create a Remembrance Day display. 

In RE, the children learn about the importance of symbolism in the Jewish faith and consider how this links to what they have learnt about the topic. They also identify that the war was a world war and involved soldiers from many different religions. 

In music, the children use a range of percussion instruments to compose instrumental music that soldiers could march to, focusing on tempo, rhythm and timbre. They record their compositions on a notation score and use this when performing their compositions for the rest of the class. 

In the second part of the term, the children also investigate the suffragette movement prewar and then consider how this contributed to the changing role of women during World War I and their empowerment postwar. They investigate significant events relating to the movement and plot them on a timeline. The children take part in a debate focusing on the War’s impact on women’s rights and how this has affected life for women today. The children also research the lives of different inspirational women who played an important part in the suffragette movement, choosing one to create a case study on which they present to the rest of the class.  

Rumble in the Jungle

This is a geography and science-based unit in which the children learn about the tropical rainforest biome, using the Amazon Rainforest as a case study. 

In the first half of the unit in geography, the children find out where rainforests are distributed around the world and investigate the physical and biological factors which cause this type of ecosystem to develop. The children are taught about the different layers within the rainforest and develop their knowledge of the plants and animals that can be found in each layer, creating their own descriptive ‘lift the flap’ booklets. They consider how animals adapt to their habitat to survive and use this knowledge to design their own animal that would be able to live within such a habitat.  

In science, the children are introduced to the concepts of inheritance, adaptation and evolution and find out about the contribution of Charles Darwin to this area of study. They learn about the significance of Darwin’s finches and carry out their own related experiment to demonstrate how and why creatures have evolved and adapted over time.  The children also discover how the study of fossils contributes to our understanding of evolution and adaptation. 

In art, the children study the work of the British artist Margaret Mee, a botanical illustrator who undertook several expeditions into the Amazon rainforest to study the plant life there. They develop the accuracy of their observational drawing and shading skills by drawing a rainforest plant or flower. They then look at watercolour techniques and create a watercolour painting from their initial drawing. 

In the second half of the unit, the children carry out a case study of Brazil to consolidate their understanding of the different elements of physical and human geography. This includes developing their map skills by looking at the main locational and physical features; comparing rainfall and temperature graphs of key cities and making comparisons with the UK climate in order to advise the England manager on where his team will play best in the world cup; an investigation of wealth versus poverty in Brazil, focusing on Rio de Janeiro; and studying the varied culture of this Portuguese-speaking country.  

In music, the children are taught samba songs and how to play percussion instruments using a samba beat.  

The children also consider how indigenous people live in harmony with their surrounding environment and use the rainforest sustainably. They study the effects of deforestation in the Amazon, both on a local and on a global scale, and consider how important the rainforests are to the survival of humans, animals and plants. To support their understanding further, the children are taught about convectional rain and the nutrient cycle and how this is also affected by deforestation. Finally, the children prepare and take part in a debate about deforestation, considering arguments both for and against before reaching their own conclusion about this topic. 

Vikings: Raiders or Traders?

In this unit the children consider the journeys that people take or have taken in the past, and then reflect on the journey they themselves will take as they move on from primary school. 

In history, the children are given the opportunity to consolidate the skills they have developed so far as historians by answering the question: Were the Vikings raiders or traders? They consider the challenges faced by historians when primary sources are more limited, where there are few first-hand accounts and where much of what we know was written down after the time it happened. 

The children explore key features of Viking life: homesteads and farming, the structure of society, boat building, relics and runes, Viking warriors, mythology and the importance of the afterlife. They then consider what inspired these brave and adventurous people to take to the seas and explore the wider world over increasingly longer distances. The children identify why the Viking invasions changed from smaller scale raids during the summer to larger-scale expeditions. They focus on the impact of the Viking invasions of England and the introduction of Danegeld, making comparisons between Viking society and that of the Anglo-Saxons. 

The children extend their geographical knowledge by using atlases to locate where the Vikings originated from and plot the extent of their invasions in Europe, Greenland and North America. They also identify key Viking trade routes and trade centres. 

The Vikings were master shipbuilders and the longships they are famous for were formidable constructions. In design technology, the children design, make and evaluate their own longship using their understanding of how the ships were designed and built, and their key features. 

In art, the children use Viking art and runes to inspire their own designs to use for block printing using several overlays. They use the output of their printing and textiles to create collages which depict Viking life. 

In science, the children consider how light travels in straight lines and use this to explain how we see things and how shadows are formed. They use this knowledge to investigate how the Vikings navigated the seas using the effect of natural light on sun compasses and crystals. 

In music, the children study Wagner’s ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’ which was inspired by Norse mythology. 

In RE, the children focus on Islam. They learn about where, how and why Muslims worship; the importance of the Qur’an; and why and how Muslims carry out pilgrimages.