Year 6 science: what your child learns

Signpost with scientific questions on it
Your guide to what your child’s Year 6 teacher will cover in science lessons.

This is the final year of the Key Stage 2 science curriculum and the main areas are still:

  • Life processes and living things
  • Materials and their properties
  • Physical processes

Year 6 will be studying topics from the list below, possibly for the first time. However, they may also be returning to a topic to study it in greater detail, or as revision in preparation for testing. Science is a practical subject so the children will learn about health and safety risks as they conduct experiments, and there is also a focus on developing their skills of ‘scientific enquiry’. Your child will be encouraged to ask questions about scientific concepts and then carry out experiments to find out the answers. In doing this they will:

  • understand what variables are and how to control them
  • take measurements from a range of equipment, understanding the need for repeated measures to increase accuracy
  • gather and record data using labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
  • use test results to make further predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  • make conclusions on the test carried out, orally and in writing

Science in Year 6 – what your child will learn:

Living things and their habitats

  • describe how living things are classified into groups including micro-organisms, plants and animals
  • give reasons for classifying plants and animals

Animals, including humans

  • identify and name parts and functions of the human circulatory system
  • recognise the impact of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on the way the body functions
  • describe how nutrients and water are transported within animals

Evolution and inheritance

  • learn how fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth in the past
  • recognise that living things produce offspring that are not identical to their parents
  • identify how plants and animals are adapted to suit their environment and that adaptation may lead to evolution


  • understand that light appears to travel in straight lines and is necessary for us to see objects
  • understand how shadows are formed


  • investigate how the brightness of a lamp and the volume of a buzzer changes with the number and voltage of cells used in a circuit
  • give reasons for variations in how components function, including the brightness of bulbs, the loudness of buzzers and the on / off positions of switches
  • use recognised symbols when representing a circuit in a diagram

Try this at home

  • Go for a walk in the park and write down the names of every animal you see. Have a good look for the little ones like spiders, worms and slugs which may be hiding under rocks! When you get home write all the names on separate cards. Can you put them into groups and then explain to someone why you have grouped them like this?
  • Keep a food and exercise diary. Write down everything you eat during the day and the exercise you do. How healthy do you think you are? Think about how you feel according to what you have eaten and the exercise you have done.
  • Turn on a lamp and hold an object in the light. Have a look at the shadow it forms. What happens to the shadow as you move the object around? Why do you think this is happening?
  • Find out about fossils, adaptation, evolution and a very important man called Darwin. Read up as much as you can and become an expert before you are taught this topic at school!

Make Year 6 science revision fun with some hands-on experiments – look through our Year 6 science worksheets for ideas and projects. KS2 SATs science papers can offer useful revision activities too.