Key Stage 1 & 2 The World Around Us

The World around Us

Children are naturally curious and often ask profound questions about themselves and The World Around Us. This Area of Learning helps pupils to explore and find age-appropriate answers to some of these big questions from the perspectives of Geography, History, and Science and Technology.

For further details, see the Statutory Requirements for the World around Us at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

Curriculum Objectives

The learning opportunities within The World Around Us help young people to develop as:

  • individuals,
  • contributors to society, and
  • contributors to the economy and environment.

Curriculum Planning

At Key Stages 1 and 2, The World around Us has four inter-related strands that connect learning across Geography, History and Science and Technology.

Science and Technology: Progression Guidance Science and Technology: Progression Guidance

Use this guidance to gain greater confidence in whole school planning that ensures progress in pupils’ learning.

The Enquiry Based Approach The Enquiry Based Approach (Video)

Secure children's knowledge and understanding in Science and Technology, infusing Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities through the Enquiry Based Approach.

Cross-Curricular Skills Development (Videos)

Central to the Northern Ireland Curriculum is the development and application of cross-curricular skills through contexts within Areas of Learning, including The World Around Us.

Communication Using Mathematics Using Digit Tools

Progression Grids

The following documents illustrate the statutory requirements as suggested learning intentions. You can use these to help plan learning, teaching and assessment in this area.

Strand 1Strand 2Strand 3Strand 4

Skills across the Curriculum

When planning topics, make sure that you provide opportunities for your pupils to develop their skills in Communication, Using Mathematics, Using ICT and Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities.

At all stages, you should encourage your pupils to become active participants in the learning process. Involve your pupils in choosing topics that interest them. Where possible, you should connect learning to current events. You should ensure that, where appropriate, you integrate aspects of the other Areas of Learning.

Science and Technology Progression Framework(Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities Guidance) 4.1 MB - uploaded 12-09-2017

History, Progression Framework(Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities Guidance) 2.3 MB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Geography, Progression Framework(Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities Guidance) 2.3 MB - uploaded 21-04-2015


For more information on the World around Us, contact:

Melanie Mulligan
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2716


Science Resources from TIMSS Science Resources from TIMSS

These science lessons have been developed by NFER with advice and support from DE, CCEA, ETI and the EA, and are based on results from the Trends in International Mathematics and Sciences Study (TIMSS). Teachers will find these resources useful in developing the use of practical and investigative work within the World Around Us lessons.

Growing for the Future Growing for the Future

This resource is a collaboration between CCEA and Tourism NI, designed to encourage children to grow fruit and vegetables and explore where food comes from. Monthly classroom activities aligned to the curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 help pupils learn how to grow their own food at school or home and understand sustainability while promoting healthy eating. .

Ecoworld Ecoworld

The Ecoworld resource helps pupils to understand how making small changes today can protect the future of our planet. Learn about the different types of energy produced, the energy we use in our everyday lives and how to be a responsible energy saver. Visit for animations, online and classroom activities.

Science Through Stories Science Through Stories

See how stories have the potential to motivate and engage learners through scientific enquiry. Resources for all Key Stages.

The Vikings

The Vikings ICL provides a range of active learning experiences to assist teachers in making connections both within and beyond the Area of Learning The World Around Us. Included are a number of STEM enquiries to connect science and technology to a topic traditionally viewed as a history-only topic. To use a blended approach we have developed bespoke resources to bring games based learning to the theme through the use of Minecraft.

More Ideas for Connected Learning can be found from our Ideas for Connected Learning page.

Woven in Ulster: Ulster-Scots and the Story of Linen

This Key Stage 2 resource explores the role of the Ulster-Scots community in the linen industry from cottages to factories and finally to its demise in the twentieth century. The resource links to the Northern Ireland Curriculum and provides both a wide range of cross-curricular lessons and the resources required to teach each lesson.

Primary Irish Aspects of Shared Cultural Heritage Primary Irish Aspects of Shared Cultural Heritage

Teaching ideas, downloadable resources and interactive games to support teachers in delivering basic Irish lessons and activities in Shared Cultural Hertiage.

Ulster-Scots for Primary Schools: Shared Language, Culture and Heritage Ulster-Scots for Primary Schools: Shared Language, Culture and Heritage

These resources help to build capacity within primary schools so that they can teach elements of Ulster-Scots and shared cultural heritage using existing staff and resources.

Earth Science Earth Science

This resource provides information and ideas to bring Earth Science to the classroom in practical and relevant ways for pupils in Key Stage 2. The learning activities within the materials support the development of the Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities as well as opportunities to develop the cross-curricular skills of Communication, Using Mathematics and Using ICT.

Primary Upd8

Primary UPD8 makes science relevant using the power of topicality. Every day interesting science pops out of the news. The following activities create the bridge to the curriculum, with punchy activities with maximum engagement. Instead of just teaching about for example food chains, why not have pupils investigating through news headlines of ‘Do you Want to Live Forever’?

STEM Thematic Units

These Thematic Units focus on Science, Technology, Engineering (including ICT), and Mathematics (STEM). The units also support the statutory requirements for the Areas of Learning of the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Key Stage 2, in particular The World Around Us and Mathematics and Numeracy.

Anything's Possible!

This resource (sent to schools in 2005) was developed for all Primary Schools across Northern Ireland and aims to plant the seeds of an enterprising culture. Using a relevant and stimulating context the Storysack provides guidance for teachers to consider ways of adopting the enterprise approach.

Anything's Possible - Irish Medium Is Féidir Gach Aon Rud!

Anything's Possible Audio Recording - Irish Medium 4.8 MB

Out of This World - Building Learning

Children are fascinated by the mystery of Outer Space. In Out of This World children design and create a 3D model of an environmentally friendly hotel in a bid to encourage space tourism.

Out of This World - Building Learning Booklet Out of This World - Building Learning Unit 7 Photographs

Connected Learning through the World around Us

There are a selection of Ideas for Connected Learning and Thematic Units that you can use to support the World Around Us in primary schools.

Frequently Asked Questions: The World around Us 82.6 KB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Implementation of the World Around Us Report 778.6 KB - uploaded 21-04-2015

Useful Links

Please review all links to judge their suitability before using them with your class.

Global Learning Programme - This website provides schools with resources, case studies and information on local training that will support them to educate for a fair and sustainable world through all areas of the curriculum.

Aim, Aspire and Achieve - A thematic unit which helps schools celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games (but can be adapted to celebrate other international sporting events).

Eat, Taste and Grow - A resource on food and local produce, developed in a collaboration between safefood and The Public Health Agency.

The Eco-Schools website offers ideas and resources for learning activities on 10 environmental topics, linked to many curriculum subjects.

Using the Locality is a list of agencies and websites that may help the study of the local environment.