• Year 4 Curriculum

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Welcome to Year 4

Autumn 1: Masks and Minotaurs

This topic introduces children to the classical civilisation of Ancient Greece. They learn about characteristic features of Ancient Greece including the origins of democracy, Greek philosophy, classical architecture and the Peloponnesian war. Children use this knowledge to consider the influence of Ancient Greece on the western world. Within the topic, children are introduced to ancient Greek myths, learning about gods and goddesses, and learn about Ancient Greek theatre, the different theatrical genres (comedies, tragedies and satire) and how they were performed. At the end of the topic, each class performs their version of classical Greek myths within a class assembly.

Many children start the topic with an awareness of modern Greece, and some may well have some knowledge of Greek myths. They will have a good awareness of the Olympic Games and it roots in Ancient Greece. Class assemblies throughout their time at HPS will have given them a solid practical grasp of theatre and theatrical performance. This topic builds on the knowledge of ancient civilizations which the children acquired through Year 3’s study of Ancient Egypt, and prepares them for the Londinium topic later in Year 4.


Autumn 2: Sound and Vision

This topic has a strong science component in which children develop their knowledge and understanding of electricity, light and sound. Children learn about some key inventions relating to electricity, light and sound; and develop their sense of chronology, linking these events to other historic events and using their understanding of historical context to write a newspaper recount of a famous invention. The topic covers the life of Alexander Graham Bell and children use this knowledge to write a diary entry. They read a range of science fiction texts set in a familiar setting and use their understanding of the genre to write their own science fiction story.

Children start the topic with some knowledge of electricity, light and sound through their experience of everyday life (electrical devices, music, toys etc.) and have studied our five senses at a simple level in Year 1, but they will have limited experience with regard to how these scientific phenomena work. They also have a knowledge of a range of materials (including metals and plastic). In Year 4, children learn a musical instrument and, through music, will have acquired some additional knowledge of how sound travels, pitch and volume. Children’s scientific understanding within this topic will be applied to other subjects, especially design technology, music and art. They will go on to explore the impact of the world dependence on electricity within the topic ‘What Price Progress?’ and extend their scientific knowledge of electricity, light and sound in Year 6 within the topic ‘The swinging 60s.


Spring 1: Londinium

This topic follows an enquiry into the legacy of the Roman rule of Britain. Children study aspects of Roman life and consider the impact of the Romans on their lives today. The topic covers the Roman invasion and the Boudiccan rebellion. The Roman invasion of Britain was arguably the most significant event to happen to the British Isles. It affected our language, our culture, our geography, our architecture and even the way we think. Our island has a Roman name, its capital is a Roman city and for centuries (even after the Norman Conquest) the language of our religion and administration was a Roman one.

Children will be familiar with conducting a historical enquiry and will have interpreted a range of ancient artefacts, having studied Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece in Year 3. Within these topics they will also have considered the concept of legacy, and will have further considered the concepts of primary and secondary sources to which they were introduced in Year 2’s Great Fire of London topic. This topic builds children’s understanding of the history of Britain, which is built upon in Year 6 within the topic ‘Our Island History’. Here children study the subsequent waves of invaders and settlers and consider their impact on shaping British society.


Spring 2: Flight

This unit explores aspects of flight with a specific focus on birds and flying mammals. With a strong science component, the topic looks at the science of flight and considers how birds have adapted for this purpose. It considers why birds migrate and within geography, considers routes of migration, including that of the red necked phalarope. The unit considers how environment change has impacted on our bird population over time, and looks at practical ways to support our bird population within the locality.

Children will have some knowledge of the life cycle of birds through the ducklings project in reception and will have acquired knowledge of classification and the features of birds through the topic Animal Kingdom in Year 2. They will have knowledge of the climatic regions of the world from the topic ‘Whatever the Weather’, which will support their understanding of migration.


Summer 1: Away from Home

This unit follows an enquiry into the experience of families in London during the Second World War, with a focus on primary-aged children. Children learn about family life on the home front, along with children’s experience of evacuation. This inspires a range of writing, including first and third-person fiction and a balanced argument on the merits of evacuation. This largely historical unit also includes a related study of the role of propaganda, the playing of wartime songs and the baking of wartime-inspired cakes. The unit incorporates a short residential trip to Tolmers Activity Centre, in Cuffley, Hertfordshire. Children meet at the railway station in costume, to recreate the experience of being evacuated.

With the exception of the first eight months of the war, for the next five years the British had to endure the bombing of their towns and cities in ‘The Blitz’, as well as attacks from flying bombs and rockets. Rationing of food began in January 1940, and clothes in June 1941. By 1943, virtually every household item was either in short supply and had to be queued for, or was unobtainable. There was a great and genuine community of spirit in wartime Britain which transcended class and other barriers.

Many children will have some knowledge of life in Britain during the Second World War including evacuation, gained through their own family history. They may be able to link ‘the spirit of the Blitz’ to their own experiences during the Covid-19 lockdown. Children build on their knowledge of primary and secondary sources gained during the KS1 topic, The Great Fire of London, and earlier KS2 study of ancient civilizations. This unit provides the opportunity to focus on a wide range of primary sources (in print, in art, and on film), preparing children for interrogating similar sources in the Year 6 topic, The Swinging Sixties.


Summer 2: Active Planet

This unit looks at the tectonic plates that form the Earth’s crust and the way in which even their smallest movement can cause huge earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis that devastate communities across wide areas. The unit teaches the children what is happening underground to cause volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunami and how we can use this knowledge to predict and protect communities from the impact of these forces of nature in the future.

Children will already have some knowledge of the potentially devastating effect of volcanoes and earthquakes, although most will have little idea of why and how they occur. The scientific learning in this topic has a strong geological focus, bringing together and building on work in Year 3 on changing states of matter (the Chocolate topic), on rocks in from Palaeontology to Archaeology, and on sedimentation in From Source to Sea at the end of Year 3. The knowledge acquired during this current unit in turn prepares pupils to study geology in more detail when learning about Pendarren in Year 6. The study of the eruption of Vesuvius and destruction of Pompeii utilises the children’s understanding of Roman society developed during the Londinium topic earlier in Year 4.


 Year 4 Curriculum by Subject

Maths – Autumn 1, Autumn 2, Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1, Summer 2