Year 1 science: what your child learns

Little boy studying flower
Got a budding little scientist in the family? Here’s what they will learn to develop their science skills and knowledge in year 1.

Throughout Key Stage 1, the children are working on developing their skills as scientists: investigating, experimenting and presenting their findings. They will be taught to ask questions, work out how they might find the answer, and they will learn to use different methods of recording the results, for example using drawings, charts and tables. The lessons will be practical and hands-on, and they will focus on the world around them. The skills they learn in science – problem solving, IT, maths and communication – will link into other areas of the curriculum.

Science in Year 1 – what your child will learn:

Living things

  • Humans and other animals: recognising the major external parts of the body; how we grow; the importance of food and exercise; using our senses
  • Plants: identifying the leaf, flower, stem and root; finding out that plants need water and light to grow; how plants grow from a seed
  • Living things in their environment: discovering different kinds of plants and animals in the local environment, for example, in the playground, or a local park; how to care for the environment
  • The difference between living things and things which have never lived

Materials

  • Exploring different materials using the senses
  • How to group materials according to their properties, eg, hard, soft, shiny
  • Recognising and naming common materials, eg wood, plastic, metal
  • How some materials can change if they are heated or cooled

Physical processes

  • Light and dark: identifying sources of light; learning that dark is an absence of light
  • Sound: where sounds come from; how we can hear when sound enters our ears
  • Forces and motion: pushing and pulling; movement and speed
  • Electricity: discovering which everyday appliances use electricity; how a simple circuit works

Try this at home

  • Look at baby photographs and talk to your child about how much they have grown and changed
  • Plant some seeds: cress is easy to grow on a windowsill
  • Get your child gardening. If you have the space, give your child their own small patch of garden for them to grow fruit, vegetables or flowers in
  • Give your child a torch and make shadow puppets
  • Sort out the toy box and put the toys into groups, depending on their material
  • Make your own musical instruments – a box with a rubber band, a pot with sand in, a tin to bang with a wooden spoon – and talk about the different sounds they make

Make science real (and fun!) at home with one of our Year 1 science activities and worksheets.