Theme Work


In Key Stage 1 the National Curriculum subjects are taught through a cross-curricular approach. Each term learning focuses on a particular theme.  We have a question based format where children are presented with a question each week and learning opportunities are planned that help the children to answer the question.

In Key Stage 1 Theme lessons take place two times each week and are taught in mixed ability classes with their class teacher.  Learning is differentiated to match the children's knowledge, skills and progress.  Each class teacher also links the class role-play area to the Theme for each half term and provides opportunities to learn about the current Theme through imaginative play.  In addition links are made with other lessons such as English, Maths, PE, Art, Geography and computing to ensure that children are fully engaged with the Theme.

To ensure thorough coverage of the Key Stage 1 Science curriculum, one Theme each term will have a Science focus where children will learn the content of the Science curriculum and learn about scientific enquiry.


Below details what Themes and questions the children will be learning over the next term.  Details of the other themes that the children cover over our two year cycle can be found on the curriculum pages.

You might like to read more about how we design our curriculum on the Curriculum Design page.

Autumn Term - First Half term    

Why did London Bridge nearly fall down?

Week 1 - Where Is London?

The children will locate London on a UK map.  Ask questions; what is it like there?  What will I see? The children will learn the names of some famous London landmarks, compare Leeds to London and link to Geography work.

Week 2 - Who lives in London?

The children will learn London is the capital city of the UK and learn The Queen and Prime Minister live in London – this is where the government works.  They will compare London to our local area and learn some landmarks in Leeds city centre.

Week 3 - What was London like in the past?

The children will imagine what London was like a long time ago (1600s).  They will look at pictures as evidence of what the past was like and link back to previous week about The Houses of Parliament.  Thye will find out about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder plot. 

Week 4 - Why do people remember 1666?

The children will learn key facts about the Great Fire of London – how it started, what happened, how it ended.  They will learn about what London was like in 1666 and place this time period on a timeline. (Through discussion link back to work on own personal timelines and changes in their life time – compare this to the scale of changes back to 1666!).  They will create their own model houses; use art work as a source of historical evidence and create their own art work in similar styles.

Week 5 - How do we know the Great Fire really happened?

The children will learn a little about Samuel Peyps' diary and how this is an important historical source.  They will look at portraits of Peyps and King James – then create their own self portrait.  The childrne will also think about how fire fighting has changed over time.

Week 6 - Could the Great Fire happen today?

The children will learn about Christopher Wren who design the rebuild of London.  They will look at changes to buildings, materials and technology (fire alarms, fire engines),

Week 7 - Can I be a baker?

Short DT focus - Make bread. Children follow a recipe to measure ingredients and make bread. They will learn about how to safely use equipment/oven.

Autumn Term - Second Half term

Would you like to live in a castle?

Week 1 - What are castles?

Look at photos of castles – modern (lived in) and old (not lived in); name some of the parts of a castle – tower; window; moat; drawbridge etc would children like to live in a castle? Why? What are castles made out of? What are real castles made out of? Look back at the different parts – name the materials.

Week 2 - What else do we use materials for?

Look at material names again – name, sort, group by appearance or properties; Y2 to deepen their knowledge to discuss where materials come from, Y1: What objects do we know that are made out of these materials?  Look at a material and name objects it is used to make – why is this material used to make these items? Link to properties.Y2: Can we change materials? - Look at material names again – carry out simple tests such as squash, squeeze, stretch.

Week 3 - What materials make the best Castle?

Look at photos of castles made from stone and those made from wood. Which material do the children think would be better? Discuss based on properties of materials but also draw out understanding that stone would take longer to source, more people to work with it because it is heavier etc wood is more readily available.  Children design a castle and label the materials they would use for each part; Y2 to relate this to properties and the function of the part of the castle.

Week 4 - Who lived in castles long ago?

Talk about medieval lords, ladies and knights – look briefly at each then focus on knights. Why did they wear armour? What was the job of the armour? Why was it metal? What would this be like to wear? What other problems can you think of that might happen if you wear metal? Discuss more about the properties of metal. The children will make split pin knight.  The children will look at shields – some wooden and some metal; which do you think would be better and why? The children will design a shield. The children will compare a paper and cardboard shield perhaps as a demonstration. Children will make a prediction and explain why they think this.  

 Week 5 - What is a trebuchet?

Look at pictures of a trebuchet – teachers will model to the children how we will make our own.  The childrne will think which materials would be best to launch? Why might this be? How could we prove that? The childrne will design an investigation about using different materials to launch at a small model castle made of wooden construction bricks – which material would knock the most bricks over? The childrne will make predictions and carry out the investigation as a class and record observations

Week 6 - Who can build the strongest drawbridge?

The class will set up a model moat – the children will be challenged to make a drawbridge for the moat.  The challenge will be to build a drawbridge that can carry some weight. Children to make their drawbridge (in pairs) from a selection of materials offered e.g. lolli sticks, match sticsk, art straws, fabric, paper, cardboard. The childrne will then test the drawbridges. They will then have the opportunity to review their design and build another drawbridge but stronger.  Children will write up these investigations.

You might also like to look at the Key Stage One page about Homework and what we are learning this term.