Learning Challenge Curriculum

The Learning Challenge Curriculum

Artboard 12

How is it set out?

The Learning Challenge Curriculum has been designed to support pupils’ acquisition of knowledge and skills in science, history and geography. It effectively provides a long and medium-term overview for these three subjects using the National Curriculum as its reference points.

The topics or Learning Challenges are set out in termly or half-termly units. The science, history and geography units are all separate. So, you can buy into the whole scheme which covers all three subjects or just opt for one or two subjects. However, in each subject the learning challenge starts with a main question, which is linked to an area of the National Curriculum. The main question is then supported by other subsidiary questions (usually six to eight). These subsidiary questions would normally be the focus of a week’s learning.

Effectively, the science, history and geography are the topic’s drivers. That means that the main question is either a science, history or geography question. 

As already mentioned, each unit of learning will have six to eight subsidiary questions. In each case, one of these subsidiary questions has an art or design technology focus and this focus must link with the main theme. In other words, the learning challenge for rivers has a subsidiary question for art which focuses on landscape water colour work based on rivers. The art and design technology aspect are known as enhancers.

Designing the Learning Challenge Curriculum

To help you understand how the Learning Challenge Curriculum was designed you can follow the stages outlined below.

Stage 1:

Identify the key knowledge and skills you wish for your learners to acquire in each subject and for each year (This is strongly suggested in the new Ofsted inspection framework).

The document ‘How to assess a Knowledge-rich curriculum’ within the assessment section of this website provides a starting point. 

Not only has each subject been broken down into different year groups but the strands within each subject has also been identified. In other words, geography has been broken into the four strands within the National Curriculum, i.e., locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography and skills and fieldwork.

Stage 2:

Choose the main themes that incorporates the National Curriculum coverage, i.e. chronology in history or natural disasters in geography. It is important that there is continued reference to the key knowledge and skills identified in Stage 1.

Look at the two Year 1 examples below: Either one would work

Year 1: Version 1
Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Science Focus Biology: Plants: Naming parts of plants and trees Chemistry: Materials
Naming different materials
Biology: Animals
Classifying animals
On-going sciencePhysics: Seasonal change
History/ Geography focusHistory:
Within living memory
Geography:
Hot and cold places
Geography:
Knowing the locality
Year 1: Version 2
Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Science Focus History:
Within Living Memory
Science: Biology
Plants
Geography
Hot and cold places
Science:
Chemistry
Materials
Geography:
Knowing locality
Science:
Biology
Classifying animals
On-going sciencePhysics: Seasonal change

Stage 3:

Add an enquiry question, led by the driver. Having recognised the theme and the key knowledge to be acquired, the idea is to create a powerful question that will grab the learners’ attention. Now look at the two Year 1 versions again.

Year 1: Version 1
Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Science Focus Biology: Plants: Naming parts of plants and treesChemistry: Materials
Naming different materials
Biology: Animals
Classifying animals
Enquiry QuestionWhy are plants important to all of us?What does Beegu think of life on Planet Earth?Why are humans not like tigers?
On-going sciencePhysics: Seasonal change
Enquiry QuestionWhy is it always cold in winter?
History/ Geography focusHistory:
Within living memory
Geography:
Hot and cold places
Geography:
Knowing the locality
Were my grandparents’ toys more fun than mine?Why can’t meerkats live in the North Pole?Where do (or did) the wheels on the bus go?
Year 1: Version 2
Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Science Focus History:
Within Living Memory
Science: Biology
Plants
Geography
Hot and cold places
Science:
Chemistry
Materials
Geography:
Knowing locality
Science:
Biology
Classifying animals
Enquiry QuestionWere my grandparents’ toys more fun than mine?Why are plants important to all of us?Why can’t meerkats live in the North Pole?What does Beegu think of life on Planet Earth?Where do (or did) the wheels on the bus go?Why are humans not like tigers?
On-going sciencePhysics: Seasonal change
Enquiry QuestionWhy is it always cold in winter?

Stage 4:

Identify additional memorable knowledge and skills, beyond the key knowledge and skills already identified at Stage 1, that you wish for your learners to acquire. The following example show the key knowledge and skills identified in bold and the additional memorable information not in bold. Each Learning Challenge will have one of these identified.

Year 2: Where would you prefer to live: England or Kenya?
By the end of this Learning Challenge what should pupils know?
1. Know the names of, and identify, the seven continents of the world
2. Know the names of, and identify, the five oceans of the world
3. Know the names of, and identify, the four capitals of the UK
4. Know the main differences between a place in England and that of a small place in a non-European country
5. Pupils should know that the animals living in the wild would be different in countries outside the UK
6. Pupils should know that the type of fruits and vegetables grown depends on the country’s climate.
7. Pupils should know that the physical environment is different in different parts of the world
8. Pupils should know the style of art can be different according to where you live

Stage 5:

Create a knowledge mat to support the learning. Each knowledge mat needs to include the subject specific vocabulary that the pupils will meet and the sticky knowledge that has been identified. Knowledge mats are available to purchase for an additional fee or are included free as part of the premium plus membership.

Stage 6:

Choose a quality text to link English with the driver – ensure the focus is on the quality of the text rather than the fit to topic. For the vast majority of Learning Challenges books have been identified to support the learning. Look at the example below to see how the curriculum design is evolving.

Year 1: Version 1
Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Science Focus Biology: Plants: Naming parts of plants and treesChemistry: Materials
Naming different materials
Biology: Animals
Classifying animals
Key Knowledge and skillsKnow and name a variety of common wild and garden plants
Know and name the petals, stem, leaves and root of a plant
Know and name the roots, trunk, branches and leaves of a tree
Know the name of the materials an object is made from
Know about the properties of everyday materials
Know how to classify a range of animals by amphibian, reptile, mammal, fish and birds
Know and classify animals by what they eat (carnivore, herbivore and omnivore)
Know how to sort by living and non-living things
Enquiry questionWhy are plants important to all of us?What does Beegu think of life on Planet Earth?Why are humans not like tigers?
TextJack and the baked-bean stalkBeeguBog Baby
On-going sciencePhysics: Seasonal change
Enquiry QuestionWhy is it always cold in winter?
History/ Geography focusHistory: Within living memoryGeography:
Hot and cold places
Geography:
Knowing the locality
Key Knowledge and skillsKnow that the toys their grandparents played with were different to their own
Organise a number of artefacts by age
Know what a number of older objects were used for
Know the main differences between their school days and that of their grandparents
Know features of hot and cold places in the world
Know where the equator, North Pole and South Pole are on a globe
Know which is N, E, S and W on a compass
Enquiry questionWere my grandparents’ toys more fun than mine?Why can’t meerkats live in the North Pole?Where do (or did) the wheels on the bus go?
TextDoggerMeerkat MailNaughty Bus

Stage 7:

Create the weekly (subsidiary) question that links to the main learning challenge. At least one of the questions must have either an art or design technology focus. Here are two such examples:

Year 1: Where does (or did) the wheels on the bus go?
WOW: Take a bus tour of the immediate area and go to two contrasting places: village and a town or city.
LC1Where do we live and what’s so special about it?
LC2What are the names of, and, where are the famous cities of the United Kingdom?
LC3What do road and street signs tell us?
LC4How many ways are there to move from city to city in the United Kingdom?
LC5How have cars, buses, trains and bicycles changed since your grandparents were little?
LC6Can you design and make a vehicle that can move?
Reflection: What do I now know about where I live?
Year 4: Why were the Romans so powerful and what did we learn from them?
WOW: Class to be given surprise ‘extra’ playtime so that an older group of children can ‘invade’ their classroom.
LC1Who were the Romans, and would they have enjoyed coming to Britain?
LC2What did the Romans do for us?
LC3How can you create a working model of a Roman weapon?
LC4Would you prefer to be a gladiator or a premiership footballer?
LC5Who was Boudica and why did she become so famous?
LC6Who were the famous Romans and what do we know about them?
Reflection: What do I now know about where I live?

Stage 8:

Almost all the Learning Challenges offer a full scheme of work. The scheme of work puts emphasis on using metacognitive style approaches as well as focusing on pupils progressively improving their knowledge of a variety of subjects.

The website provides you with a chance to buy these schemes as an additional option.

What makes the Learning Challenge Curriculum stand out?

Enquiry-based LearningThe approach demands pupils to be inquisitive and to raise their own questions as well as answer them
Built on Key Knowledge and skillsIt builds progressively towards pupils acquiring key knowledge and skills linked to the National Curriculum
Linked to Quality textsEach unit links with an excellent quality text and provides additional support for the English curriculum
Provides Knowledge MatsThe knowledge mats provide learners with subject specific vocabulary and the sticky knowledge for the topic
Schemes of workAlmost all units have full schemes of work covering the science, history or geography element and the English activities around the quality text
National Curriculum It guarantees coverage of the National Curriculum in science, history, geography, art and design technology
Identifies internet links Each scheme of work directs staff to internet links which adds depth to the learning. It will save staff invaluable time