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Learning about Life Cycles

By Karen Edwards - 18 Mar 2024

Learning about life cycles is an important way to develop children's understanding of the world and help them understand and deal with weighty concepts such as life, death and birth.

Life cycles are an explicit part of the Year 3 and Year 5 science curricula. Hamilton science sessions use hands-on investigative science activities to promote a deep understanding of the relevant scientific concepts, while teaching methods of scientific enquiry. But, given the wide applicability of the conceptual learning based on the study of life cycles, Hamilton has also created a variety of science-focused sessions within our cross-curricular topics that introduce and reinforce learning about life cycles. We have age-appropriate sessions for for reception, key stage 1 and key stage 2 classes.

Take a look at our science and topic planning on life cycles.

Introduce Life Cycles in Reception

Our popular Reception Topic about animals includes a special block about baby animals.

Designed to stimulate learning about animal life cycles and growing up, reception children are inspired by stories and first-hand observations. In session 1, children play an animal match memory game, order life cycles, go on a caterpillar hunt and create butterflies using ICT and symmetry painting. In session 2, children read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and talk about the life cycle of a butterfly. They listen to music and begin to create movements that fit with the music, eventually using dance to create their own life cycles.

Explore our Baby Animals topic block for Reception.


Explore Life Cycles Through Music in Key Stage 1

Our key stage 1 topic, Carnival of the Animals, covers the life cycles of mammals, birds, fish and amphibians. In Block B: Mammals, children learn about the life cycle of the elephant and the lion and make life cycle mobiles. In Block D: Domestic Birds, they learn about the journey from an egg to an adult and use dance to retell the life cycle of birds. In Block F: Fish, they learn about the life cycle of fish before creating their own aquarium. Finally, in Block H: Amphibians, they study the world of amphibians, including the British common frog, and investigate their life-cycles, characteristics and habitats.

Explore Carnival of the Animals topic for Key Stage 1.


Study the Birds and the Bees in Lower Key Stage 2

Year 3 - Artful Flowers, Fruits and Seeds
In this science block about plants, children will step into the amazing, secret world of flowers. Discover their relationship with bees and other insects. Learn how flowers transform into fruits and seeds to perpetuate the cycle of life and use this transformation as inspiration to create some beautiful works of art.
Explore our Flowers, Fruits and Seeds science block for Year 3.

Year 3/4 - Feast of Flowers, Fruits & Seeds
This mixed year science block challenges children to create a feast of flowers, fruits and seeds. Over the sessions, they build up expertise on plant life cycles, understand the importance of flowers, bees and fertilisation and discover a huge variety of fruits and seeds. At the end of the block they present a feast with a difference: each course will be accompanied by a fascinating presentation of facts and information about plant life cycles.
Explore our Flowers, Fruits and Seeds science block for Year 3/4.


Deepen Understanding of Life Cycles in Upper Key Stage 2

UKS2 Topic - Shang Dynasty: Farming and Food
Investigate the life cycles of different classes of organisms and research the life-cycle of the silkworm in session 3 of this block. Discover how silk is made from silkworms and was harvested by Shang farmers.
Explore our topic block about Farming and Food in the Shang Dynasty for UKS2.

Year 5 - The Art of Living
Create accurate and eye catching illustrations that tell the life cycle story of a range of nature’s wonders.
Explore The Art of Living for Year 5.

Year 5 - Life Explorers
Write a children’s non-fiction book about the human life cycle. Can you research and collate information on growth, development, puberty and old age, and present it in a sensitive and logical way that is suited to children aged 8-12?
Explore Life Explorers for Year 5.

Year 5/6 - Illustrating Life Cycles
Create an inspirational and informative illustrated book on the theme of animal and plant life cycles. Hone your skills as a natural scientist and top off your work by ‘meeting’ David Attenborough, Jane Goodall and their natural scientist colleagues.
Explore Illustrating Life Cycles for Year 5/6.

Year 5/6 - The Human Species
Create an exhibition about the human species. Can you research and collate information on growth, development, puberty and old age, and present it in a sensitive and logical way that is suited to your audience?
Explore The Human Species for Year 5/6.

UKS2 Topic - Human Reproduction: Life Cycles
Look at the life cycles of the butterfly and frog and flowering plants. Discuss reasons for reproduction and consider animals facing extinction. Look in detail at the human life cycle and compare the stages with those of other animals.
Explore our topic block about Life Cycles for UKS2.


Hamilton also provide a complete range of science planning for Animals Including Humans and for Living Things and Their Habitats.