As well as working scientifically, other areas of science are taught in year two, including:
- Living things and their habitats
- Animals, including humans
- Uses of everyday materials
Pupils are introduced to the idea that all living things have certain characteristics that are essential for keeping them alive and healthy. They raise and answer questions that help them to become familiar with the life processes that are common to all living things. Pupils are introduced to the terms ‘habitat’ (a natural environment or home of a variety of plants and animals) and ‘micro-habitat’ (a very small habitat, for example for woodlice under stones, logs or leaf litter). They raise and answer questions about the local environment that help them to identify and study a variety of plants and animals within their habitat and observe how living things depend on each other, for example, plants serving as a source of food and shelter for animals. Children compare animals in familiar habitats with animals found in less familiar habitats, for example, on the seashore, in woodland, in the ocean, in the rainforest.
Pupils work scientifically by sorting and classifying things according to whether they are living, dead or were never alive, and recording their findings using charts. They describe how they decided where to place things, exploring questions, for example ‘Is a flame alive? Is a deciduous tree dead in winter?’, and talk about ways of answering their questions. They construct a simple food chain that includes humans (for example: grass, cow, human). They describe the conditions in different habitats and micro-habitats (under logs, on stony paths, under bushes) and find out how the conditions affect the number and type(s) of plants and animals that live there.
Pupils use the local environment throughout the year to observe how different plants grow. They are introduced to the requirements of plants for germination, growth and survival, as well as to the processes of reproduction and growth in plants. Children are taught that seeds and bulbs need water to grow but most do not need light because seeds and bulbs have a store of food inside them.
Pupils work scientifically by observing and recording, with some accuracy, the growth of a variety of plants as they change over time from a seed or bulb, or observing similar plants at different stages of growth; setting up a comparative test to show that plants need light and water to stay healthy.
Pupils are introduced to the basic needs of animals for survival, as well as the importance of exercise and nutrition for humans. They are also introduced to the processes of reproduction and growth in animals. The focus at this stage is on questions that help children to recognise growth and they are not be expected to understand how reproduction occurs.
Pupils work scientifically by observing, through video or first-hand observation and measurement, how different animals, including humans, grow; asking questions about what things animals need for survival and what humans need to stay healthy; and suggesting ways to find answers to their questions.
Pupils identify and discuss the uses of different everyday materials so that they become familiar with how some materials are used for more than one thing (metal can be used for coins, cans, cars and table legs; wood can be used for matches, floors, and telegraph poles) or different materials are used for the same thing (spoons can be made from plastic, wood, metal, but not normally from glass). They think about the properties of materials that make them suitable or unsuitable for particular purposes and are encouraged to think about unusual and creative uses for everyday materials. Pupils find out about people who have developed useful new materials, for example John Dunlop and John McAdam.
Pupils work scientifically by comparing the uses of everyday materials in and around the school with materials found in other places (at home, the journey to school, on visits, and in stories, rhymes and songs); observing closely, identifying and classifying the uses of different materials, and recording their observations.