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 a history topic which focuses on the lead up to, the outbreak and the impact of World War I. Children apply atlas skills to identify how Europe was different in 1914 compared to the modern map of Europe. Through the study of primary sources, such as original recruitment posters, they explore the influence of propaganda on the enlistment of soldiers. They also use first-hand written and verbal accounts to gain a better understanding of this significant period of history. In English, the children read ‘War Games’ by Michael Foreman and use this and their historical research to write their own diary entries to show their understanding of life for civilians and soldiers at this time.

The children learn about what life was like for a soldier in World War 1: from enlistment and conscription, to arriving at the front line, to life in the trenches. They investigate why trenches were used and how they were built and research what life in the trenches was like for the soldiers.

In design technology, the children 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 write their own version of the local footballer’s fascinating, yet sadly short, career. 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. They gain an understanding of the reason Remembrance Services are held each year on the 11th November; what the significance of the poppy is; and also how a remembrance service works, with the opportunity of attending 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 as a result of their beliefs.  The children also investigate the changing role of women during WWI, and how this led to their empowerment post-war.

In art, the children use paint and then pencil/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. They also identify that the war was a world war and involved soldiers from many different religions, thus providing an opportunity to revisit previous learning about Hindu and Muslim faiths and beliefs.

In music, the children have the opportunity to compose instrumental music that soldiers could march to, focusing on tempo, rhythm and timbre, and recording their work on a notation score.

Finally, children investigate the impact that the end of WW1 had on the rest of Europe economically, politically and geographically.

Rumble in the Jungle

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

In geography, in the first half of the unit, the children begin by finding out where rainforests are distributed around the world and investigating the physical and biological factors which cause this type of ecosystem to develop. The children are taught about the different layers within the rainforest (using the illustrations from the text ‘The Great Kapok Tree’ by Lynne Cherry) and develop their knowledge of the plants and animals that can be found in each layer, creating their own descriptive ‘lift the flap’ booklets. The text ‘Animalium’ by Katie Scott is used to support their understanding of how animals adapt to their habitat in order to survive.  The children use this knowledge to design their own animal that would be able to live within such a habitat. They also use their knowledge of the characteristics of rainforest creatures to write their own versions of Kipling’s Just So Stories.

In science, children learn about inheritance, adaptation and evolution and find out about the contribution of Charles Darwin to this field. This is supported by the book ‘Charles Darwin’s on the Origin of Species’ by Sabian Radeva. The children will visit Tring Museum to support their understanding and create notes of the animals seen on the trip in the style of Darwin’s notes made about the Galapagos Islands. Children also learn about 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 study how tribes deep within the rainforest live in harmony with their surrounding environment and use the rainforest sustainably. They then 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, they learn about convectional rain and the nutrient cycle. Finally, the children take part in a debate about deforestation and use this experience to argue their case by drafting a written balanced argument.

Finally, the children also carry out a case study of Brazil with the aim of creating a travel blog by the end of the unit.  To help them to do this, they investigate different elements of the physical and human geography of the country. This includes developing their map skills by look at the main locational, physical and human features; comparing rainfall and temperature graphs of key cities, and also making comparisons with the UK climate; an investigation of wealth versus poverty in Brazil, focusing on Rio de Janiero; 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.

Vikings: Raiders or Traders?

In this topic, 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. 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.

Norse mythology and legends played an important part in Viking culture and the children are introduced to the key stories and characters who featured in them. In English, they write their own Viking myth using the original tales as inspiration. They also use their topic work to write a balanced argument based on the key historical question they have been considering.

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.

In computing, the children develop their knowledge and understanding of using a computer to produce 3D models.