KS2 Science

Research Champion stories represent a wide range of scientists, from across the three disciplines of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Obviously, it is very difficult to create a resource that is appropriate for all children in KS2. The stories are reasonably long, which could present a challenge to less confident readers, while the content is probably more suitable for Upper KS2 than Lower KS2. This said, the stories can be adapted, and certain aspects emphasised or left out, to suit different stages of learning.

Read on to find out how each story crosses over with the National Curriculum, and what statutory topics they could fit into.

All stories

All Research Champion stories either discuss, or could be used to discuss, the following aspects of the KS2 Science curriculum.

Lower KS2 (Year 3/4):

  • Exploring, talking about, testing, and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments.
  • Broadening a child’s view of the scientific world around them, by providing opportunities to engage with different types of scientific enquiry.
  • Drawing simple conclusions and using scientific language.

Upper KS2 (Year 5/6)

  • Encountering more abstract ideas and beginning to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates.
  • Begin to recognise that scientific ideas change and develop over time.
  • Find out about the work of naturalists and animal behaviourists.

The Truth about Tortoises

Lower KS2:

  • Recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways.

Upper KS2:

  • Learning about what fair tests are, why they’re important, and how to carry them out.
  • Making predictions.
  • Life cycles of reptiles and mammals.
  • Identify how animals are adapted to suit their environment.

Bacteria-banishing bandages

Lower KS2:

  • Describe the simple functions of the basic parts of the digestive system in humans.

Upper KS2:

  • Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal) and their response to magnets.
  • Describe how nutrients and water are transported within animals, including humans. Note: the story doesn’t discuss this specifically, but it does discuss how medicine may travel around the body, which requires similar knowledge.
  • Describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including microorganisms, animals, and plants.

The Power of Prostheses.

Lower KS2:

  • Identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection, and movement.

Upper KS2:

  • None specifically, but could be an interesting branch from which to look at the impacts of exercise, diet, and lifestyle on the way that bodies function. It discusses prostheses, which have a significant impact on a person’s ability to do these things.

Plants in Space

Lower KS2:

  • Explore the requirements of plants for life and growth, and how they vary.
  • Investigate the way in which water is transported in plants.
  • Compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids, or gases. This could tie into looking at what a plant needs to grow – air, water, and soil.

Upper KS2:

  • Learn that an experiment can involve observing changes over periods of time and noticing patterns.
  • An introduction to bar graphs.
  • The story is an excellent foundation for all things ‘space’, including movement of the planets and describing the Earth, Moon, and Sun.
  • Explaining gravity and its effects.
  • Identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways.

Spinosaurus: a dinosaur like no other.

Lower KS2:

  • Identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection, and movement.
  • Describe in simple terms how fossils are formed when things that have lived are trapped in rock.
  • Recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways.
  • Explore and use classification keys to help group, identify, and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment.
  • Construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators, and prey.

Upper KS2:

  • Describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including microorganisms, animals, and plants.
  • Give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.
  • Recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about things that inhabited Earth millions of years ago.

Ice Cream Chemistry

Lower KS2:

  • Compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids, or gases.
  • Observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure/research the temperature at which this happens.

Upper KS2:

  • Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity, and their response to magnets. This could be a follow-up after learning about the properties of ice cream and its ingredients.
  • Know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from solution.
  • Demonstrate that dissolving, mixing, and changes of state are reversible.
  • Explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible.

Glorious Glaciers

Lower KS2

  • Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.
  • Identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature. This is not directly addressed by the story but could be a possible tangent.

Upper KS2

  • Identify how animals and plants are adapted to suite their environment in different ways, and that adaptation may lead to evolution. This is not directly addressed but would be an easy follow-on from talking about how animals are adapted to cold environments like glaciers.

KS2 Geography

“Glorious Glaciers” features both maths and ‘earth science’, which means it crosses over with many aspects of the KS2 Geography curriculum. These include:

  • Locate the world’s countries using maps, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, and major cities.
  • Identify the position and significance of the hemispheres and the Arctic/Antarctic circle.
  • Understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the UK, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South America.
  • Understand and describe aspects of physical geography including climate zones, biome and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle.
  • Understand and describe key aspects of human geography including the distribution of natural resources e.g. energy, food, minerals, water.
  • Use maps, atlases, globes etc. to locate countries.

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