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Year 5 science: what your child learns

Boy looking at solar system model
Your guide to what’s covered in the year 5 science curriculum.

In Year 5 science, 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.

Year 5 science topics

Living things, their habitats and life cycles

  • describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird.
  • describe the process of reproduction in some plants and animals.

Animals, including humans

  • describe the changes as humans develop to old age.
  • learn about puberty and when and why this occurs.
  • compare gestation (pregnancy) periods of different animals.

Properties and changes of materials

  • compare materials based on their properties of hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity and response to magnets.
  • dissolve materials and then recover a substance from the solution made.
  • separate materials by filtering, sieving and evaporating.
  • look at ways materials can be changed and whether these changes are reversible or not.

Earth and space

  • describe the movement of the earth and other planets in relation to the sun.
  • describe the movement of the moon relative to the earth.
  • understand how day and night are caused by the earth's rotation.


  • investigate the forces of gravity, air resistance, water resistance and friction.
  • understand that levers, pulleys and gears allow a smaller force to have a greater effect.

Try this at home

  • See if you can find the following objects around the house: liquid soap, rice, flour, some paperclips and a piece of cling film. Which one do you think is the hardest? You may need to test this by bending the objects where you can. Which ones are water soluble? Test this by putting each one in some water and seeing if it dissolves into the water: you may need to give the mixture a good shake! Which ones are transparent?  Are any of them magnetic? Test this by using a fridge magnet.
  • Test how air resistance differs according to the shape, size or weight of a different object. Find various small objects (for example: a pen, a piece of kitchen paper, a small book, a sheet of tin foil and a scrunched up piece of tin foil). Stand on a chair and drop each one. Get someone to time how long it takes for each object to hit the floor. Why do you think some things take less time than others?
  • Go to the library and see if you can find any books on life cycles or the solar system. Do some reading up and see if you can become an expert before you are due to learn this topic!

Work through some Year 5 science worksheets and activities to check your child understands what they're learning in class and can relate their learning to the world around them.


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