Year 5/6 Autumn 1 (Set A): Living Things and their Habitats - Illustrating Life Cycles

You have been commissioned to create an inspirational and informative illustrated book on the theme of animal and plant life cycles. Develop your mastery of key art skills as you create accurate and eye catching illustrations that accurately tell the life cycle story of a range of nature’s wonders. Along the way hone your skills as a natural scientist and top off your work by ‘meeting’ David Attenborough, Jane Goodall and their natural scientist colleagues. Enter your final book into the ‘Excellence in Scientific Illustration’ awards. 

Hamilton’s science scheme provides children with a broad but comprehensive experience of primary science that systematically covers all of the National Curriculum for England’s science objectives for Year 5 and Year 6 in a two-year rolling programme. Hamilton suggest following Set A in one year and Set B in the next, working from Autumn through Spring to Summer, as we have placed the material that is more accessible for the younger children in Autumn Term, and the more challenging material in Summer Term. (For more information about the mixed year scheme, see our Teacher Support page However, all of the sessions are adaptable, so that you can adjust to your own children and school programme. Each term is made up of 2 blocks of 6 sessions, each of which can be completed within a half-term. Working scientifically, investigations and meaningful outcomes are fully incorporated in each block.

Friends and School Subscribers have access to some additional supporting material, including year and block overview documents, assessment grids and specially commissioned background science documents for Key Stage 2 subjects to give teachers added confidence and depth of knowledge as well as ideas for how to learn more. The relevant assessment grids can be found on the Year 5 and Year 6 science pages.


Supporting documents for science
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01: Flowering plant reproduction

Dissect a flower and explore the fascinating world of flowering plant reproduction. Capture the key sexual structures of a flower and its life cycle in the form of a botanical drawing. 

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02: Ways that plants reproduce asexually

Investigate ways that plants reproduce asexually and continue to hone your botanical illustration skills. Have a go at growing new plants from a range of parent plant parts – you may be surprised at what will flourish!

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03: Life Cycles: Insect and amphibian

Watch some online footage of insect and amphibian life cycles to help create your own life cycle illustrations for your book. Set up an in-school habitat for your choice of insect and amphibian so that you can observe them over time.

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04: Mammalian and bird life cycles

Research mammalian and bird lifecycles for two of your local species and transform what you discover into beautiful natural history illustrations. Hone your research skills as you explore sexual reproduction in animals.

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05: Contrasting life cycles from around the world

Time to do some travelling! You will need to find some interesting and quirky animals and plants from around the world and explore their life cycles online. Make sure you find plenty of images so that you can create an informative but artistic representation of their life cycles in the form of scientific illustrations.

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06: Becoming natural scientists

Recognise your role as natural scientists during this block and hone your skills further today. Learn about some significant naturalists and animal behaviourists and create a book section that explores the importance and impact of their work within the scientific community.