Outstanding Science | Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

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KS2 - Year 5 - Earth and space

Planet factsFree! 

Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | OS5D002

Children learn about 3 different planet classifications - terrestrial, gas giant, and ice giant. They carry out a networking activity where each child has a sheet containing incomplete information and they find out the missing data from their classmates. They discuss various ways of comparing, grouping and ordering the planets.

  • 5d1: describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system
I can research and compare the different planets in the solar system.
Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | Planet facts

The solar system 

Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | OS5D001

Children learn that ancient astronomers developed the geocentric model because it was the best explanation available at the time. They learn that the heliocentric model superseded it for scientific reasons - because it agrees more closely with observations. Children cut out pictures of the Sun and the eight major planets of the solar system and use them to complete a diagram by placing them in order of distance from the Sun.

  • 5d1: describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system
I can explain how the Earth and the other planets in the solar system move.
Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | The solar system

Earth, Sun and Moon 

Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | OS5D003

Children learn how the Moon moves around the Earth. They learn about theories of the Moon's formation, and that it has been explored. Children create an information text answering the questions 'How do the Earth and Moon move?', 'How was the Moon formed?', and 'Has the Moon been explored?', and complete a diagram showing the movement of the Earth and Moon.

  • 5d2: describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth
I can explain how the Moon moves.
Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | Earth, Sun and Moon

The lunar cycle 

Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | OS5D004

Children learn that the Moon is not a light source and that we can see it only because it reflects light from the Sun. They learn that the appearance of the Moon changes because of the movement of the Moon around the Earth. Children complete a diagram showing the eight phases of the Moon and why the Moon's appearance seems to change.

  • 5d2: describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth
I can explain how the Moon's appearance appears to change when viewed from Earth.
Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | The lunar cycle

The formation of the solar system 

Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | OS5D005

Children learn about the modern theory for the formation of the solar system. They learn that a cloud of gas and dust collapsed under its own gravity, compressing the centre until thermonuclear fusion began and the Sun was formed. Children learn that the planets and other bodies accreted from smaller objects over time because of gravity. Children complete an information text explaining the origins of the solar system.

  • 5d3: describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies
I can explain how the solar system was formed.
Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | The formation of the solar system

Comparing the planets 

Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | OS5D006

Children learn about 3 different planet groups - terrestrial, gas giant, and ice giant. Children look at diagrams of the planets which are in proportion to one another. They use an 'Earth ruler' to measure the diameter of the planets in Earth diameters in order to compare them to the Earth. They then use a ruler marked in cm to measure the diameter, before using a formula to calculate their true size. They record their data in a table and look for patterns. Children can use the planet diagrams to make a display.

  • 5d3: describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies
I can compare the sizes of the planets in the solar system.
Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | Comparing the planets

Day and night 

Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | OS5D007

Children learn that day and night are caused by the rotation of the Earth, and that the Sun only appears to move across the sky. Using a split pin, children create a moving model showing how the rotation of the Earth causes day and night. They move their model through a day and night cycle, using speech bubbles to explain what they would experience at each stage of the cycle.

  • 5d4: use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.
I can explain how day and night are caused.
Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | Day and night

Making a sundial 

Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | OS5D008

Using a template, children cut out and assemble their own sundial. They carefully attach the gnomon (shadow caster). On a sunny, rain and wind-free day, children calibrate their sundial by fixing it in position and marking where the shadow of the gnomon falls at 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Children predict where the 4pm shadow line would fall.

  • 5d4: use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.
I can make a sundial and explain how it works.
Outstanding Science Year 5 - Earth and space | Making a sundial