Science Revision Notes

This note is a summary of the KS2 science syllabus.
The printable PDF (below) includes tick-boxes to help make revision easier.

1. Life Processes and Living Things  

Ourselves and other animals

*Know that to be classed as living, a species must be able to carry out certain life processes.
*Know that these life processes include the following:

  • Nutrition (feeding)
  • Movement
  • Growth
  • Reproduction

* Know the name of the main organs in the human body, what they are for and where they can be found:

  • Brain: controls all the other organs
  • Kidneys: filters poisonous waste from the blood
  • Lungs: puts oxygen into the blood
  • Intestine: digests food
  • Skin: protects the body from germs
  • Heart: pumps blood
  • Arteries: carry blood away from the heart
  • Veins: carry blood back towards the heart

Teeth and eating

* Know the names of the three main types of teeth, their shape, and what they are for:

  • Incisors: thin, flat ends for cutting. Used for cutting food. Often used by an animal that eats plants
  • Canine: sharp and pointed: used for tearing food. Often used by an animal that eats meat
  • Molars: blunt. Used for crushing or holding food.

* Know how to keep teeth healthy:

  • Brush teeth regularly (to remove plaque)
  • Visit the dentist every 6 months
  • Eat non-sugary food and avoid fizzy drinks

* Know that Plaque is made up mostly of bacteria.
The bacteria in plaque feed on sugar and produce acid which weakens the enamel

Moving and growing.
* Know that the skeleton gives us our shape.
* The bones are held together by muscles.
* Muscles are often attached to the bones by tendons.

* Muscles are responsible for making a bone move. Muscles usually come in pairs.
* One muscle contracts (gets shorter) and pulls while the other relaxes.

* Know that as we get older we grow (increase in size).
We grow steadily as a child, grow quite quickly between ages 10 years and 15 and then do not grow very much.

Variation and Classification

* You need to understand that there is a huge variety of animals and plants.
Because of this variety, it is important to be able to put the animals and plants into groups (classify them).

* You need to know the names of the main animal groups.
Know the features of each group and an example from each group.

* Vertebrates (have a backbone):

  • Mammals: have fur, young born alive. eg fox, mouse
  • Birds: have feathers and can fly. eg robin, crow
  • Reptiles: have a body covered in scales. Lay eggs on land. eg lizard, snake
  • Amphibians: have smooth skin. Live on land but lay eggs in water. eg frog, toad
  • Fish: body covered in scales. Live underwater. Have gills. eg goldfish, shark

* Invertebrates (have no backbone or internal skeleton)

  • Insects: Have 6 legs and three parts to the body. Sometimes have wings. eh fly, wasp
  • Spiders (arachnids): have 8 legs and two parts to the body. eg spider, scorpion
  • Slugs: have no legs and a muscular foot

* Know how to make and use a key to identify an animal or leaf

Living things in their environment


  •  You need to know that the place an animal or plant lives in is called its Habitat
    examples of different habitats are: pond, wood, field and garden
  •  Know the names of some different plants and animals found in different habitats
    Pond habitat: pondweed, pond snail, minnow, duck
    Wood habitat: tree, badger, blackbird, owl, mouse,
    Field habitat: grass, rabbit, fox
    Garden habitat: cabbage, caterpillar, thrush
  •  Know how animals and plants in two different habitats are suited to their environment
    Fish are streamlined so they can move through the water well.
    Bears have thick fur and a layer of fat under their skin so they are protected from the cold

* Understand about feeding relationships and be able to write a food chain.

* Know that all food chains start with a green plant. That the plant is eaten by a herbivore and the herbivore is eaten by a carnivore.

* Know the meaning of the words connected with food chains:

  • Producer: a green plant eg cabbage
  • Herbivore: an animal that eats plants eg snail
  • Carnivore: an animal that eats animal meat (ie eats other animals) eg fox
  • Predator: a hunting animal eg fox
  • Prey: the animal being hunted eg rabbit

* Be able to give an example of a food chain from a particular habitat eg

Pond habitat:    pondweed –> tadpole –> small fish –> large fish

Wood habitat:   oak tree –> beetle –> owl

Field habitat:     grass –> rabbit –> fox

Garden habitat: cabbage –> caterpillar –> thrush –> cat

Know the life cycle of a frog and a butterfly:

Frog: Adults frogs mate Eggs tadpole Adult

Butterfly: Adults butterflies mate Eggs caterpillar Adult

Keeping Healthy

You need to know:

  •  * that there are different food types and that, to stay healthy we need a balanced and varied diet.
  •  * A diet high in fat is bad for us because the fat can block our arteries.
  •  * that we need exercise to stay healthy and to maintain our muscles; and that when we exercise, our muscles work harder
  •  * The pulse is a measure of our heart rate.
    If we exercise our heart rate goes up to get more oxygen to the muscles.
  •  * When we stop exercising our heart rate goes down again to normal.
  • The length of time it takes our heart rate to return to normal is called the ‘recovery time’ and a fit person will have a quicker recovery time
  • how to measure and record your pulse, collecting data to construct a graph and interpret your findings
  • about the effects of drinking alcohol, smoking, and drugs
  • that medicines are drugs and that, although the effects are usually beneficial, they can be harmful


* Know the names of the main organs in a flowering plant and what they are used for:

  • Flower: Where seeds are made
  • Stem: supports the leaves and the flower. Transports food and water around the plant
  • Leaves: where food is made
  • Roots: support the plant and take water plus dissolved food from the soil

* Know how to name the reproductive parts of plants and to understand their functions

  • The stamens: make pollen
  • The stigma receives pollen during pollination
  • The ovary contains the ovules which will become seeds
  • The petals attract insects

* Know that to keep healthy a plant needs the following conditions:

  • Sunlight (for light energy and warmth)
  • Air (carbon dioxide and oxygen)
  • Water  (+ dissolved food)

The life cycle of a plant

* Understand the life cycle of flowering plants:

  • Pollination: when pollen lands on the stigma
  • Fertilisation: when pollen grains join with the ovules
  • Seed production: the ovules swell and turn into seeds. The ovary becomes a fruit
  • seed dispersal: The seeds are spread away from the parent plant
  • Germination: the seed lands and starts to grow into a new plant
  • Growth: The young plant grows into a mature plant with a flower to help it reproduce

* Know that a seed, when placed in the correct conditions will begin to grow.
This new growth is called germination

* Know the conditions needed for a seed to germinate

  • water
  • oxygen
  • warmth

(note:  light and soil are NOT needed for germinating) 

Know about the life cycle of a human

  • Unborn baby (the unborn baby is called an embryo, sometimes called a foetus)
  • Baby
  • Child (goes through puberty )
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Old age

Know that if living things did not reproduce they would eventually die out


Interdependence and Adaptation
* Know that green plants need sunlight and water to grow well and that they are the source of food and oxygen for all animals.

* Know that plants produce new material from air and water in the presence of light in a process known as photosynthesis.

* Know that plants and animals can adapt themselves to help them survive in the environment:

  • A bramble has thorns to stop itself from getting eaten
  • A moth can camouflage itself so it cant be easily seen
  • A shark has a streamlined shape to slide rapidly through water
  • A petal has a nice colour and smell to attract insects to help get itself pollinated.


* Know that there are many very small organisms that can cause illness or decay.

  • Fungi (like yeast or mould)
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria

These organisms can get carried from one food source to another and how this can cause food poisoning.
These organisms can be used in food production and that these micro-organisms feed, grow and reproduce like other organisms.

* Examples of useful microorganisms are:

  • Bacteria in the soil help dead plants and animals to rot
  • A fungus called yeast is used to make bread and wine
  • Bacteria are used to make yogurt and cheese.

* Examples of harmful microorganisms are:         

Bacteria and viruses can cause disease

* Know how to help stop the spread of bacteria:

  • Wash your hands after using the toilet and before cooking
  • Keep meat in a ‘fridge which keeps it cold
  • Wash food preparation surfaces carefully using a liquid to kill bacteria

2. Materials and their properties  

Grouping and classifying materials

* Be able to sort everyday materials into the groups according to their properties:

  • Hard or soft
  • Heavy or light
  • Flexible (bendy) or rigid (stiff)
  • Rough or smooth
  • Transparent or opaque
  • Soak up water or do not soak up water

* Know that some materials are good thermal insulators (heat does not go through them easily)
eg thick carpet, loft insulation, fur

* Know some properties of metal:

  • Metals ate hard and shiny
  • Metals are good conductors of heat (heat goes through them easily)
  • Metals are good conductors of electricity (electricity will travel through them)

* Understand the difference between solids, liquids, and gases

  • Solids do not flow and cannot be compressed (squashed).
  • Liquids do flow but cannot be compressed.
  • Gases can flow and can be compressed

Rocks and soil

* Know the names, properties, and uses of some common rock types:

Granite:  Impermeable ( not porous). Granite chips are used in road making because they are so hard.

Slate: Impermeable (not porous and waterproof). Slate is used on roofs because it can be split easily.

Limestone: Permeable (porous, water can seep through it). Used as a building material because it can be cut easily.

* Know that hard rock can scratch a softer rock. Eg slate can scratch chalk, granite can scratch slate.
Order of hardness: Granite; slate; chalk

Know that rocks can be weathered and broken down into smaller particles that form soil.

Soils contain sand, clay, humus, and living organisms

  • Sandy soils drain very easily and are often dry
  • Clayey soils do not drain very easily and are often waterlogged
  • Humus is decaying plant material (dead leaves etc). Humus provides food for plants and also helps the soil retain moisture by acting as a sponge and soaking us water.

Be able to do careful experiments on the soil to determine certain properties of soil


  1. Measure the amount of air in soil.
    This could be done by filling several similar beakers with different soils and then measuring the volume of water that could be added to each beaker.
  2. Measure how easily water flows through the soil.
    This could be done by putting a measured amount of soil in a funnel and timing how long it takes for a certain amount of water to drip through
  • For each experiment above you will need to know what factor you changed, what factor you measured and what factors you kept the same for each experiment.
  • Be able to say what conclusions you came to and your reasoning

Changing materials

* Know that temperature is a measure of how hot or cold things are
Temperature is measured using a thermometer

* Know that some changes are reversible eg

  • melting: eg if ice is heated it will melt
  • dissolving: eg if sugar is stirred into warm water it will dissolve
  • evaporating: eg water will evaporate from a puddle in the sun
  • condensation: eg steam will condense on a cold mirror
  • freezing: eg water will turn to ice if it is cooled down in a deep freeze

* Understand the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle

* Know that some changes are irreversible (permanent)

These changes always produce a new chemical and often cannot be reversed (irreversible) eg

  • burning
  • rusting
  • vinegar in baking soda
  • cooking

Separating mixtures of materials

* Know about various ways to separate materials eg

  • Use a sieve to separate large lumps of solid from small (eg flour and rice or sand from gravel)
  • Use a filter to separate a solid from a liquid (eg sand from seawater)
  • Use evaporation             Warm salty water to make the water evaporate and leave behind the salt

Making a solution

* Know that some solids dissolve in water to form a solution and some do not

* Know the meaning of these words:

  • Soluble             A soluble solid can Eg salt is soluble in water
  • Insoluble An insoluble solid cannot Eg sand is insoluble in water
  • Solvent             The liquid used to make a solution eg water is a good solvent
  • Solute             The solid we have dissolved eg in salty water the salt is the solute

* Understand that if we were dissolving salt in the water we can speed up the process a number of ways:

  • crushing the salt so the particles are smaller
  • stirring the water
  • using warm water
  • using more water

Gases Around Us

  • know the difference differences between solids, liquids and gases
  • know that air has weight, takes up space, and is all around us
  • Know that air is a mixture of different gases.
  • know that the amount of air in the gaps between particles of soil can be measured by replacing it with water.
  • know that gases have useful properties and can be used to pressurize and to inflate objects
  • know that some gases are flammable and can be used as fuels (eg methane)
  • know that gases are formed when liquids evaporate
  • know that liquids are formed when gases condense
  • know that gases flow in all directions and do not keep their shape or volume

3. Physical Processes  

* Know that some materials are conductors (allow electricity to flow through them)
and some materials are insulators (do not allow electricity to flow)

* Metals (eg copper and aluminium) are good conductors of electricity
* Non-metals (eg glass and plastic) are insulators

Simple circuits
* Know how to make a circuit using a battery (or power supply) and a range of switches to make various components (bulbs or buzzers) come on

* Be able to draw a circuit diagram using the correct symbols for switches, bulbs, cells, buzzers and motors.

* Know that a circuit needs to be complete before it will work.

* Know various ways of changing the brightness of a bulb eg

  • adding a battery (or cell). This will make a bulb brighter or a motor turn faster
  • adding another bulb in series. This will make the bulb dimmer
  • changing the length of the wire in a circuit (this makes the bulb dimmer)

Types of force
* Know the names of various types of force eg

* Know that forces are pushes, pulls, or twisting

  • Magnetism
  • Gravity
  • Friction (and air resistance)
  • Upthrust

* Know that forces can be measured using a spring balance (newton meter)
* Know that forces are measured in Newtons  (1N is the force that the Earth’s gravity pulls on 100g)

* Know that forces are needed to do these for things:

  • start and to stop things moving
  • Make things speed up or slow down
  • make things change direction
  • make things change shape

Know that gravitational attraction gives objects weight and that this can be measured in Newtons  with a force meter (spring balance)

* Know that there are forces of attraction and repulsion between magnets and that there are forces of attraction between magnets and magnetic material.

* Know that magnets have two poles, the North seeking pole(N) and the South seeking pole(S)

* Understand that like poles repel (push against) each other
eg North repels North

* Understand that unlike poles attract (pull towards) each other
eg North repels North

* Know that objects are pulled downwards because of the gravitational attraction between them and the Earth. Know that the pull of gravity on the Moon is less than that on the Earth

* Understand that friction, including air resistance, is a force that slows moving objects and may prevent objects from starting to move.

Balanced and Unbalanced Forces

* Know the following about forces

  • that when objects are stationary, the forces acting on them are in balance
  • that whenever a force is applied, there is a force in the opposite direction
  • that when an object is submerged in water, the water provides an upward force called upthrust
  • that when an object floats, its weight is balanced by the upthrust
  • that unbalanced forces change the direction or speed of movement
  • that air resistance slows moving objects by exerting an opposite force
  • that friction is a force between two surfaces.
  • That friction always produces heat

Earth. Sun and Moon

* You need to know

  •  * that the Earth, Sun and Moon are approximately spherical
  •  * about the relative sizes of the Sun, Earth, and Moon
    (The Sun is much wider than the Earth which is 4 times wider than the Moon)
  •  * about the Solar System and the planets that orbit the Sun
  •  * That the planets are held in orbit around the Sun by the pull of the Sun’s gravity
  •  * That the Sun appears to move across the sky over the course of a day because the Earth spins.
  •  * That the Earth spins on its axis once every 24 hours, and it is this that causes night and day
  •  *  that the Moon takes approximately 28 days to orbit the Earth
  •  * that it is daytime in the part of the Earth facing the Sun and night-time in the part of the Earth facing away from the Sun
  •  * That the different positions of the sun in the sky account for different shadow lengths
    (longest in the evening and morning, shortest at mid-day)
  •  * that the Sun rises in the general direction of the East and sets in the general direction of the West
  •  * that the Earth takes one year to make one complete orbit of the Sun
  •  * that the changing seasons and changing lengths of  the day and night are caused by the Earth’s tilt
  •  * that the Moon gives out no light of its own but is seen due to the reflection of the Sun’s light
  •  * that the different appearance of the Moon are known as phases and by are caused different amounts of it being lit up.

Changing Sounds

* You need to know that sounds are made when objects/materials vibrate

* You need to know

  •   that vibrations from sound sources travel through different materials to the ear
  •   that some materials are effective in preventing vibrations from sound sources reaching the ear
  •   that sound travels better and faster through solids than it does through gases
  •   that the term pitch describes how high or low a sound is
  •   about factors affecting the pitch of a note (the size, how tight the skin is)
  •   about factors affecting the pitch of wind and stringed instruments
    (length of string, tightness of string, thickness of string)

* Understand how sound can be made in a range of musical instruments

  • Be able to plan a test to measure or observe how well different materials muffle sound,
    (making it a fair test, making predictions, collecting results systematically and analyzing the results)

* Know that a guitar string will sound higher if it is

  • Tighter, shorter or thinner

* Know that a guitar string will sound lower if it is

  • Looser, longer or heavier

* Know that a guitar string will sound louder if it is plucked harder

How We See Things

You need to know that light travels from a luminous source and that, when it is blocked, a shadow is formed.

*Know the meaning of the words :

  • Opaque: something that light cannot pass through eg wood (opaque does not mean solid. For example glass is a solid but is not opaque)
  • Translucent: something that allows light to pass through is but you cannot see detail (eg tracing paper)
  • Transparent: allows light to pass though without distortion eg glass (transparent objects can be coloured like red glass)

*Understand that light it is reflected when it hits a shiny surface.

*Know the difference between shadows and ‘reflections’.

*Know that light travels in straight lines that light sources are seen when light from them enters the eyes.

*Be able to show the path of light rays on a diagram by drawing them as straight lines with a single arrow on them.

Mike Curtis