At Giffard Park Primary School our children undertake a different topic every term or half term. Within these topics and in history our children will look at a range of evidence and artefacts from the past. They will discover significant historical people and investigate different historical events.
In geography, children will develop skills such as interpreting atlases, globes and photographs, map reading and field work. They will investigate rivers and our local area. Children will understand human and physical features and use this to investigate different biomes of the world and compare countries in Europe and around the world. They will look at a variety of climates and features of the world.
In Year 1, the children look at different types of weather throughout the year and follow the local weather by pretending to be meteorologists and record the weather daily! They also learn about why we celebrate Guy Fawkes night and learn about them.
The Children learn about the seven continents of the world and then investigate close the Arctic, looking at the animals and people that live there. This year the children enjoyed their Arctic day where they came dressed up as arctic animals and participated in many activities such as learning how intuits live, creating a chalk landscape of the northern lights, and going on an Arctic animal scavenger hunt around the school.
The children learn about the Galapagos Island, Charles Darwin, and take part in a “voyage from England to the Galapagos Islands.” They also learn about the physical and human features of Africa, looking at maps to help you find out where you are.
The children learn about the history of toys and even get to play with toys from the past while comparing them to the toys they play with today.
In Year 2, the children will build on the key learning from Year 1.
The children had a visit from local firefighters during their ‘London’ topic where they had been learning about fire equipment at the time of The Great Fire of London. The children put the events of the fire in chronological order and use role play and their senses to imagine they were there.
They explore the differences between London in the past and London today.
During their ‘MK to Mumbai’ topic, the children use atlases to find continents, countries, seas and oceans. They also use them to identify capital cities. They learn about the similarities and differences of the human and physical geography of England and India. They learn about the history of Milton Keynes and investigate the lives of significant people from their local area.
In their Pirates and Explorers topic, the children learn about Blackbeard the pirate and explorers such as Neil Armstrong, Christopher Columbus, and Ibn Battuta.
In Year 3 the children explore different eras in history. They learn about survival in the stone age, flints and theories around Stonehenge. They also learn about Skara Brae and write a newspaper report on the discovery of it. In their history lessons the children compare the changes in Britain over time.
In geography, the children use atlases to identify the countries in Europe and capital cities in the world. They carry out compass reading of cardinal and inter-cardinal points and learn about map symbols. They learn about hemispheres, the equator and tropics. The children build on their knowledge of human and physical features of different countries. They enjoy carrying out water cycle experiments.
The children learn all about Romans during their topic 'The Romans are coming!' Throughout this topic, they explore who the Romans were, where they came from and the changes across Britain influenced by the Romans that are still seen today. We look at intriguing inventions, glorious gladiators and incredible invasions of the Roman Empire. Alongside this dive into history, they learn about mosaic patterns and their importance, daily life as a Roman (from slave to Emperor) and how the Roman Empire came to an end. Our learning is supported by drama activities, artefacts, investigations and a visit to the Verulamium in St Albans
In Year 4, the children look at two periods of history in detail. First, they explore the Anglo-Saxons; who they were, where they came from and their way of life. They also discover the life of Vikings and carry out comparative case study work. They look closely at the lives of these two groups of people and learn a lot about how they lived and what drew them to Great Britain.
The children use these as a context to learn a number of historical skills; to order events chronologically, establish the validity of source and critically evaluate evidence. They look at a range of sources from artifacts, photographs, drawings and videos and use these to make judgments about the past.
During history lessons, children look at the effect of these two groups of people on Great Britain and how they impacted and influenced the way we live now. The children use their iPads to research areas that they are interested in.
In their geography lessons, the children enjoy learning about rainforests and in particular the Amazon rainforest in South America. They build upon their prior understanding of physical and human geography and use this to identify features on both maps and in photographs. The children find out about the lives of Amazonian tribes people and compare the similarities and differences between their geographical location, within the Amazon basin, with their own in the UK. They enjoy using maps and atlases to locate the areas that they are studying and are taught to identify significant lines of latitude such as the equator and the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. In Year 4 the children are taught about the different biomes found around the Earth and where each can be found. They learn about the climate typical of each area and how this affects what is able to live and grow there. They also learn about water and its importance in their everyday lives. They explore the water cycle and learn how water is processed to make it safe to drink and, once washed down the drain, made safe to return back to the rivers. They are intrigued by extreme weather and find out why flooding occurs, the impact it has on people as well as the environment.
During the Autumn term, Year 5 learn about the Ancient Egyptians. They learn about their daily life. They studied artefacts from the era and discussed the various aspects they taught us. They also enjoy learning about the country of Egypt and carry out a case study on the River Nile. The children learn all about the various uses of the river and create group presentations. The children usually round off the topic with an Ancient Egyptian theme day. This year, the children designed and created canopic jars and learnt all about the Ancient Egyptian number system. During the Spring term, Year 5 focus on 'Natural Disasters'. We use the story book 'Escape from Pompeii' to learn all about Volcanoes and Earthquakes. We look at the key terms and vocabulary and used these to create detailed diagrams. During the second half of the Spring term, we learn about 'The World at War'. The children learn about the causes of World War 1, life in the trenches and the role of women during this time. This year the children took a trip to Bletchley park and discovered more about the vital role it played in the second world war. They enjoyed taking part in a code breaking workshop and got to try out an enigma machine.
In the summer term the children learn about the life of Queen Victoria, including writing a biography of her life. They look at the countries that made up the British empire and compare them. After researching inventions from the Victorian era, the children create their own invention and use persuasion techniques to sell them.
Our children always show a keen interest in the world around them and are fascinated by the many countries and cultures that we have. In Year 6, we teach the children to investigate the geography of our planet, both physical and human and begin to fine tune the questions they ask and draw links between different places.
We place emphasise on children understanding locational geography – where places are in the world and ensure that this is embedded from their previous learning across the school, to enable us to delve deeper. In Year 6 we carry out a comparison between locations outside of Europe, looking at the key land features, human geography and adaptations that animals have made in order to survive. We then compare this with our own locality to build up an understanding of climate zones, tourism and how/why cultures and countries have adopted some traditions.
In Year 6 we adapt our teaching of Geography to topical issues that the children have shown interest in, as a way to encourage and develop their independent learning and show them how they can make a difference. For example, when the Iceland Palm Oil advert came out, the children were so shocked by the message that they researched companies who were using ‘dirty’ palm oil and tweeted them a letter they had constructed. Greenpeace were so impressed with the children’s work they sent them a copy of the book to match the advert as a special thanks for the children’s efforts!
In Year 6, each history unit starts with placing it on a chronological timeline with other periods that the children have studied in Key Stage 2. We understand the importance of deep and holistic chronological understanding. We begin the year with an exciting focus on an event in British History: The Titanic. The children focus on their understanding of the importance of the ship itself as well as working with a range of primary and secondary sources to identify who is to blame for the sinking. We also begin to look at the reliability of different sources of information in order to reach our own conclusions. Leading on from this, we look at an influential ancient civilisation - the Ancient Greeks. Building on our knowledge of primary and secondary sources, the children work towards comparing the information available to create a holistic view of the Ancient Greeks and their influence on Western Society. Throughout each unit, our aim is to provide the children with a chronological understanding of both British and world history and its influence and importance on how the world looks today.