Teaching and Learning in Science

We hope that you enjoy reading this edition of our 'Spotlight on' series, designed to give an insight into our approach to teaching and learning in a particular subject. Our 'Spotlight on Science' provides information about our approach to teaching and learning in science as well as news from our Science Week.

To read the 'Spotlight on Science' below, please click on the bottom right hand square to enlarge the publication to a full size screen and click on the arrows to scroll through the pages.

Science Parent Presentations

In our most recent set of parent presentations, our science subject leader, Miss Hull, provided information about our approach to teaching science at Copley Junior, how we embed the skills of working scientifically through developing different enquiry skills and how we assess pupil progress in science. Children in each year group then took on the role of teachers as they led parents through some of the investigative science work undertaken in class.

Please click on the presentation below to see the PowerPoint shared at the parent presentation.

The evaluation feedback following the parent presentations for science is shared below.


In Science we aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future

Science Gallery

The gallery below showcases science work in action at Copley Junior.

Year 3

In their project 'Scrumdiddlyumptious', children in Year 3 identified that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition and they learned about the principles of a healthy diet.

In their design technology work, children designed and created their own healthy fruit smoothies and flatbreads with different flavourings. Children also designed posters and cartons to advertise their fruit smoothies. The Scrumdiddlyumptious cafe was then opened for parents and relatives to purchase and sample the delicious products.

To launch their project on 'Predators', Year 3 have visited the Yorkshire Wildlife Park as the children learned about food chains, identifying predators and prey.

Year 3 decided to use the profits from their 'Scrumdiddlyumptious' express event to adopt a tiger and help protect this beautiful endangered species.

In their science lessons children identified that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement. Children learned about how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped within rock. In their design technology work, children made their own 'fossils' and created their own fossilised dinosaur skeleton!

Children also identified and described the functions of different parts of flowering plants and explored the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

Children researched fascinating facts about predators and prepared PowerPoint presentations to share with the class. You can view three of these below.

In their science project on 'Light', Year 3 found out about reflection, refraction and how light travels in straight lines. The children applied their understanding of how shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by a solid object to create a shadow puppet theatre show. They wrote their own play scripts based on a children’s fairy tale, made the different characters for each scene, built their puppet theatre ‘stage’ and then performed their shadow puppet shows to the class. The children thoroughly enjoyed performing their shows!

As part of their 'Flow' project, children identified the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and considered how temperature affects the rate of evaporation. Children designed posters and created PowerPoint presentations to demonstrate their understanding of the water cycle.

Children in Year 3 looked closely at different soils, classifying them into their specific types.

Children set up a simple enquiry to find out which water sample was the cleanest; they observed carefully, used dataloggers and an opalometer to take accurate measurements, recorded data in a table and used their results to draw a conclusion.

Year 3 compared and grouped together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties.

Children used microscopes loaned from the Royal Microscopical Society to examine different rock samples in more detail.

To launch their creative learning project on 'Mighty Metals', Year 3  visited Magna. As well as a tour of the different learning areas, the children took part in a workshop to investigate metals and magnets.

Children in Year 3 planned and carried out an investigation into friction.

As part of their project homework, children could choose to research different metals and then to share this with the class in a PowerPoint presentation. Click 'play' below to view one of the Year 3 presentations.

Year 4

During their 'Electricity' project, Year 4 designed posters to provide safety advice.

In their science lessons Year 4 children constructed simple series electrical circuits, identifying and naming the basic parts. Children used their knowledge of circuits to predict and then test whether or not a lamp would light in a simple series circuit and next they incorporated switches in their circuits too. Children then investigated common conductors and insulators of electricity.

Year 4 launched their 'Potions' science-based project on materials with a visit from a qualified aromatherapist. The children were fascinated to learn how much science is involved in the job of an aromatherapist as they blend essential oils (the pure essence from plants) to make products to support people's health and wellbeing. The children then put their new skills to use by making bath salts and a chocolate face mask!

Children learned about the properties of liquids, solids and gases using visual and physical representations to show that particles are tightly and uniformly packed in solids, are able to move more freely in liquids (this is why liquids can take the shape of any container they are poured into) and that particles are further apart in gases and occupy all the space available.

Children compared and grouped materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.

Year 4 investigated the viscosity of different liquids such as lemonade, washing up liquid and tomato ketchup. They also learned all about solids, liquids and gases, making scientific predictions that resulted in much debate about whether certain materials should be classed as solids or liquids due to their specific properties.  Children set up their practical enquiry, chose their equipment, considered fair testing, made systematic and careful observations, took accurate measurements, recorded their findings using simple scientific language and tables and used their results to draw conclusions.

Children made predictions, recorded their observations and interpreted their results.

We are very grateful to the Royal Microscopical Society for the loan of their microscope kit. All year groups were able to use the microscopes to enhance their studies in science. In Year 4, children used the microscopes to examine what different solids look like under a microscope.

Children in Year 4 learned about sublimation (this is when a solid turns into a gas without going through the liquid phase), as you can see from the dry ice experiments below. The pupils learned that water changes state from being a liquid to solid ice at 0°C whereas dry ice, the solid frozen form of carbon dioxide, has a surface temperature of -78.5°C!

Children used their knowledge about how some materials change when they are heated or cooled and worked very hard in their company teams to make a range of bath products including bath salts, lip balms and body oils, beautiful packaging and very persuasive leaflets and posters. We certainly have some budding entrepreneurs and persuasive sales people in Year 4. Following the express event, children were busy counting the money and working out their costs and profits - of £400!

As part of their project 'Misty Mountain Sierra', Year 4 predicted how the temperature of iced, hand-hot and room temperature water would change over time and made systematic observations, taking accurate thermometer readings and then recording their results on a line graph.

Polar and STEM Ambassador Visit

We were delighted to welcome Polar and STEM Ambassador Ricky Munday into school to lead an inspirational session on Antarctic research, scientific operations and his successful ascent of Everest. Ricky's motivational talk captivated the children as he shared the many perils of his expedition, shared photographs and brought along a selection of polar and high altitude mountaineering clothing and equipment. The children were inspired by the key themes of perseverance, resilience, goal-setting and overcoming adversity. The children's interest and enthusiasm was incredible, and they had so many questions to ask afterwards!

In their study of 'My Body', Year 4 took part in practical work to learn about the parts of the digestive system.

Year 4 are really good at brushing their teeth and the disclosing tablets enabled children to see this. Children identified the different types of teeth in humans and their simple functions. They soaked eggs in different liquids for a number of days to investigate how the acidity of different liquids affected the shells and related this to the effect that different liquids have on our teeth.

STEM Ambassador Visit

Many thanks to STEM Ambassadors Miss Watters and Mr Kirk who led fascinating workshops for Year 4. We learned about Miss Watter's work as an archaeologist and examined artefacts and jaw bones to uncover clues about the past. The interest and concentration in the children's faces was lovely to see and they asked so many great questions!

Year 5

To launch their 'Stargazers' project Year 5 took part in a rigorous programme of astronaut training. Life onboard a shuttle cannot be compared to life on Earth. So many simple tasks that we complete on Earth have to be carefully considered before completing without gravity in the confined space of the shuttle. How do you brush your teeth in space? Year 5 know the answer!

During training, children undertook a series of activities designed to enhance their response time, their core strength and prepare them for life aboard the Copley Shuttle.

Speed of Light: Using rulers and stopwatches, pupils put their reflexes to the test and investigated factors which enhanced their performance. Would they be quick enough to dodge a speeding meteor?

Crew Assembly: Living in space for months at a time in such a confined space means that your teamwork skills are really put to the test! Wearing oversized gloves to simulate an astronaut’s protective outerwear, pupils worked together to construct and deconstruct vital shuttle components. It was trickier than they expected but they used their communication skills and successfully completed the task.

Spacewalk: Qualified astronauts demonstrated ‘bear-crawling’ and ‘crab-walking’ and explained the importance of body strength when in space. The days are long and the equipment is heavy. Without gravity, our muscles begin to waste and our bones become weak. Astronauts must train regularly and maintain optimum fitness to guarantee their safety in space. Pupils practised navigating complex courses using the bear-crawl and crab-walk to strengthen their core and prepare them for their great adventure.

After completing the training programme, pupils designed their own mission badge using Tim Peake’s badge for inspiration. They created wonderful designs which they will be able to display on their spacesuits later in the term. Well done Year 5!

Year 5 then made Copley Junior School's latest voyage to the National Space Centre in Leicester. What a fantastic venue! The children toured the galleries, which were full of interactive and engaging exhibits, and they also enjoyed a mesmerising planetarium show. The visit really helped to consolidate children's learning about Space, helping them to collect vital information which was used to support their writing of non-chronological reports about the Solar System. The whole day led to extremely engaging conversations in the classroom!

Click on the first picture below to view a photograph selection from the visit.  

In their science project 'Stargazers' children described the movement of Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system. They described the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth and that the Sun, Earth and Moon are approximately spherical bodies.

Children used the idea of the Earth's rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.

Children love independent learning at Copley! The children thoroughly enjoyed working in groups to research and present their learning about space in their own way. Great work Year 5!

Children also carried out their own research to find out the answer to the question 'What is a moon?'

In their study of forces, children explained that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the forces of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object and identified the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction that act between moving surfaces.

Children used their maths skills to work out the scale of our solar system in order to produce these to scale diagrams below!

In the science investigation below, Year 5 investigated which material would be the most effective for creating an astronaut's space suit.

In their scientific study of forces, Year 5 used newton meters to measure forces. Children investigated that the bigger the force applied, the longer the spring stretches and the higher the reading is. 

Year 5 science display for 'Stargazers'

As part of their 'Time Traveller' project, Year 5 described the changes as humans develop to old age. Children researched the stages of gestation in humans using photographs, books and laptops and then presented their information in written reports. They then compared human gestation with that of various animals. Year 5 also designed posters to present information about the importance of hygiene to help keep our bodies healthy.

Year 5's visit to the Tropical Butterfly House launched their 'Beast Creator' science project on minibeasts.

Back at school children learned about the life cycle of a butterfly and how to classify minibeasts according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences. They then designed their own classification keys. Children then constructed and interpreted a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey.

Children investigated micro-habitats within the school environment and recorded their findings in tables.

Year 5 used the microscopes to examine minibeasts and their habitats in detail (before returning the minibeasts safely to their habitat!).

Year 5 planned an investigation to find out how many worms are living in our school field! After deciding what observations to make, the children gathered and recorded their results and drew conclusions from their data and observations.

Year 5 created their own imaginary creatures, devising their life cycle and then writing fascinating non-chronological reports about them.

Children carried out research on a chosen minibeast and decided how to present their learning.

Year 5 shared their learning about minibeasts at their parent express. Parents/carers and relatives were treated to a drama presentation, in which each group of minibeasts tried to persuade the audience of their superiority to other minibeasts. After sharing how worms, spiders, bees, butterflies and spiders all support the wonderful world of nature, parents took part in a secret ballot to see which group of minibeasts ruled the day.

Our slide show of photographs below shows some highlights from the Year 5 presentation to parents.

To read some of the parent/carer and relative comments following our 'Beast Creator' express, please click here.

To launch their creative learning project, 'Alchemy Island', Year 5 observed and tested environmental samples from unknown locations across Alchemy Island.

Children carried out many observations to compare and group everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal) and response to magnets.

Children carried out a wide range of tests to demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state may be reversible changes. Children also explained that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is usually not reversible, including changes associated with burning and the action of acid on bicarbonate of soda.

Year 5 researched facts about solids, liquids and gases, and changes of state, and decided how to present their learning.

Children conducted an investigation to find out how different liquids can float on top of one another. They discovered that liquids with a higher density will sink below liquids with a lower density.

Year 5 took part in practical investigations to learn about the methods that can be used to separate materials including filtering, sieving and evaporating.

Year 5 were given a challenge to separate some materials using their knowledge about filtering, sieving and evaporation. Children were given a range of equipment and their first challenge was to decide what equipment they would use for each task, what method they would use and to predict what they thought would happen.

After carrying out their investigations children reflected on 'exit cards', where they thought about what they had learned, which scientific enquiry skills they had used and whether they would refine their approach in future in the light of what they had learned.

Year 5 worked in pairs to investigate how solutes dissolve in a solvent to form a solution and how this process can be reversed, before discussing how they could refine their methods to ensure a fair test.

Year 5 science display for 'Alchemy Island'

Year 6

In their science project on 'Blood Heart' Year 6 took part in practical activities to find out about the heart's circulatory system and the passage of deoxygenated and oxygenated blood.

Children identified and named the main parts of the human circulatory system and identified the functions of the heart, blood vessels and blood. They also carried out research using text books and primary websites to identify the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way our bodies function before deciding how to present their explanations and findings in written accounts.

Children researched the circulatory systems of other animals also - click here to see an example.

The children carried out investigations to test how exercise affects the heart rate and they created graphs of their results.

Year 6 researched how unhealthy choices affect the heart and chose how to present their learning.

Some children in Year 6 chose to focus their research on blood and found out a huge amount of fascinating information.

The children used their knowledge about exercise and a healthy diet to produce exercise and diet plans.

An ambitious home learning project in Year 6 - a diagram of the heart of a blue whale drawn to scale! Children researched information about famous surgeons, fascinating facts about animal hearts and designed healthy menus for a healthy heart.


Year 6 science display for 'Blood Heart'


To launch their 'Frozen Kingdom' learning project, Year 6 visited the Yorkshire Wildlife Park to identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways.

They took part in an investigation workshop that helped children to consider that adaptation may lead to evolution and continued this work back at school. Children planned an enquiry, including recognising and controlling variables, recorded data using tables and then reported the findings from their enquiry, including oral explanations of the results and their conclusions.

After meeting the polar bears at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, children identified how polar bears are adapted to suit their environment.

Year 6 also researched and then presented information about the science behind the Northern Lights.

Year 6 developed their 'working scientifically' skills when carrying out an investigation to find out which material is the best at insulating a cup in order to keep tea warm for the longest period of time. Children recognised and controlled variables, decided what observations and measurements to make and what equipment to use, took measurements and from their data and observations they drew valid conclusions. Children were asked to work with their group to decide how to present their results. In the example below, results were presented as a line graph.

Year 6 then had a cracking time investigating how different materials are able to absorb impact. Children wrapped hard boiled eggs in different materials and carried out an investigation to find out which material protected the egg the best. As they worked, children noted relevant questions that arose on post-it notes to consider later, they recognised and controlled variables, decided what observations and measurements to make, chose how to record their results and drew valid conclusions.

Achoo! How far can a sneeze travel and how can we prevent others from getting ill? Through this science activity children learned more about the spread of microbes and their potential to infect people. Children measured the distance and impact of a sneeze by using water in a spray bottle.

Children drew a person anywhere in the 'sneeze zone' (a 4m long roll of paper). The water was sprayed twice (to represent a sneeze) and children measured how far the water droplets travelled using a ruler from the 'sneeze zone' start line and how many people on the mat were affected by the sneeze. Children checked carefully for water marks and drew a red circle round people and areas affected.

The experiment was repeated with a hand in front of the spray (to represent someone sneezing and putting their hand over the mouth) and then repeated again with a tissue in front of the spray (to represent someone sneezing into a tissue.)

Children then compared their results, discussing the findings and their conclusions.

Children decided how they wanted to present their learning. Connie and Afreen decided to prepare a powerpoint and shared this in assembly so we could all think about keeping each other healthy by stopping germs from spreading.


As part of their 'ID' project, Year 6 learned about how our DNA and finger prints make each one of us unique.


We were very shocked to arrive at school one morning to find a 'crime' had been committed! Year 6 detectives required all their skills of observation and deduction, including classifying human characteristics, e.g. finger prints, in order to support their scientific enquiry and provide enough evidence to question the suspects (the staff).

Our loan from the Royal Microscopical Society enabled our children to examine finger prints under the microscopes in their search for evidence.

As part of their study of identity, Year 6 identified, grouped and classified environmental and inherited traits, set up their own enquiry and chose the most effective method of recording data to present their results.

What Our Pupils Say

At Copley, we aim to inspire children with a love of science and working scientifically. Here are some of the comments made by children as they reflect on their learning from this year:

  • “My favourite project has been ‘Alchemy Island’ because I loved all of the science experiments and investigations.” Eric
  • “My favourite project this year was ‘Stargazers’ because it was really interesting to learn about Space and how beautiful it is. Space is full of secrets that people have not yet discovered.” Darcy
  • “I have enjoyed all of the projects but ‘Beast Creator’ was my favourite. It was fascinating learning all about nature and the world that lives beneath our feet.” Owen
  • “I have enjoyed all the projects but my favourite was ‘Stargazers’ because I loved learning about the galaxy and the solar system which we live in.” Gracie
  • “I have really enjoyed science this year because it has inspired me to come out of my comfort zone and answer questions.” Bobby
  • “My favourite subject is science because when I grow up I want to be a scientist.” George
  • “My favourite was definitely ‘Alchemy Island’ because I loved doing all of the different science experiments and investigations.” Luke M
  • “My favourite subjects this year have been Science and PE because I like being active and the experiments we have done have been so exciting.” Isaac
  • “’Alchemy Island’ has been my favourite topic of Year 5 because of all of the exciting experiments that we got to do. I liked having to predict and think logically to choose what to do next.” Charlie L
  • “My favourite topic was ‘Identity’ because I really liked learning about DNA and fingerprints and looking at the evidence to solve the crime. I enjoyed learning about how the heart works because I love science and find it fascinating.” Kieran
  • “I have enjoyed the ‘Stargazers’ topic the most because I love learning about stars and space: the things that are out of this world!” Imogen
  • “The thing I am most proud of this year is the investigating work I have done in science.” Evie S
  • “I enjoyed the ‘Stargazers’ project the most because I like doing independent research with the laptops and resource books. It was fascinating to learn about the planets and our visit to the Space Centre and the planetarium was amazing!” Hannah
  • “My favourite topic was ‘Flow’ because we did lots science activities and I especially enjoyed our rocks investigation.” Harry
  • “This year, my favourite project was ‘Electricity’ because we got to make different circuits.” Jay
  • “I enjoy science because I get interested in knowing the answer to things.” Matilda S
  • “My favourite subject has been science because I really love learning about the body.” Allegra
  • “I have enjoyed all the different science topics that we have done but my favourite has been ‘Identity’ because it was so intriguing and I loved being a detective and learning lots of interesting facts about inheritance and DNA.” Afreen


Extra-Curricular Science

CREST Science Award Club - The CREST Science Awards scheme is the British Science Association’s flagship programme for young people. It is the only nationally recognised accreditation scheme for STEM project work (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, providing science enrichment activities to inspire and engage 5-to-19-year olds and is supported by the Department of Education.

The ‘SuperStar’ programme is designed for pupils from 7-11 years. Children attend for eight sessions to undertake a range of science investigation activities. The scheme provides a vast bank of resources and ideas for us to choose enjoyable science investigations for the children to complete. Each week the children have their Science SuperStar passport stamped. Once the children have completed the full eight sessions they are awarded the CREST SuperStar certificate and badge.

Our first group of CREST scientists completed the following eight hours of scientific investigations: tumbling toast; fantastic fingerprints; band rollers; protecting polymers; super spinners; racing rockets; clever camouflaged creatures and windy ways.

Fascinating Fingerprints

Parachutes and air resistance

In their study of 'Flight Move', children observed the environment around them and identified suitable habitats for six UK bird species that are on the decline. Children then created adverts to appeal to these birds and to encourage them to move, before going outside to create their own nests for the lucky birds in our environment!

Well done to our first group of junior scientists who have achieved their Superstars Science CREST Award.