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Beano's Back To School 5 Minute Cheat Sheet: Science

Want to get a head start on science class? With this Beano cheat sheet you'll ace every test! Take a look at these cool science facts and we promise we won't tell your teacher!

Beano Team
Last Updated:  April 4th 2023

Right, today’s the day to hand in that piece of important science homework and you were too busy playing video games to remember to do it. Or maybe you were helping a dog with their weekly shopping or even helped get an old woman out of a tree.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a five-minute cheat sheet to cover all the science basics!


The animal kingdom is made up of lots of different types of animals. They tend to be divided up by how they reproduce and whether or not they have warm or cold blood. The main groups are mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and insects. Birds and reptiles both lay eggs, and both are descended from dinosaurs, but reptiles are cold blooded and birds are not. Mammals, including humans, give birth to live young (Like you!) and tend to feed their young with milk. Animals are also divided up by whether or not they have skeletons; these are called vertebrae (Mammals, fish, birds and reptiles) and invertebrate (insects, cephalopods, and molluscs) Animals can also be classified by whether or not they eat plants (Herbivore) or meat (Carnivores) - animals that eat both, like humans, are called Omnivores.

The Elements

We don't mean earth, fire, water and air; we mean the periodic elements! In chemistry, elements are substances made from a single type of atom. So basically, they aren't made up of anything except themselves. Gases, metals and chemicals are all elements, including oxygen, iron, gold, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and carbon among dozens more. You can find all the elements we know about so far on the Periodic Table.


One of the key uses of science is to discover different ways to treat illness. Most modern medicines have been discovered through scientific experiments, breakthroughs, or even accidents! For example, Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin (Used to treat infections) when it grew as a mould in his dirty lab! Other big medical breakthroughs include the discovery that the heart pumps blood throughout the body, the invention of the stethoscope, and the facts that viruses and bacteria can be spread through air droplets, dirty water and other animals.

Human Biology

The human body is a crazy place made up of loads of different structures. You have a skeleton, a muscular system, a digestive system, a respiratory system (for breathing) and a nervous system, among many more! Each part of the body has a special task and function. For example, your lungs breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, While your stomach turns food into energy that the body can use. Your skin is your body's biggest organ, and it protects everything else from damage, and your brain sends millions of signals to the rest of the body about what it needs to be doing. You're basically like one big, complex computer!


The study of plants is called botany, and it's a type of biology. Plants are very different from animals, but they need to do all the same things; eat, grow and reproduce. Most plants get energy from the sun, which they then turn into special chemicals for food. They also get energy from absorbing water and nutrients from the ground and air. The chemical that makes lots of plants green is called chlorophyll, and it turns sunlight into food. Plants reproduce through seeds and spores - things like nuts, berries, dandelion fluff and pollen all help plants reproduce by being carried to other places and other plants by animals, the wind or water. There are thousands and thousands or different plants all over the world - some are suited to desert climates, like cactuses, and only use a tiny bit of water, and some, like seaweed, spend their whole lives in the ocean.

The Solar System

The Solar System is the name we give to the group of planets that revolve around our sun. Those planets, in order of distacne from the sun are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. Each of these planets revolve around the sun, like we do, but at different paces and distances. That means that it a different amount of time from Earth to complete a full year. So on Earth, a year is 365 days long, but on Neptune it would be 165 days! Each planet has a different atmosphere and surface; Jupiter, for example, is a planet made almost entirely from gasses, whilst Uranus is very cold at -195 Celsius! Out of all the planets in our system, only Earth has the right atmosphere and terrain for life to flourish. Lucky us!


Cells are the tiny organisms which make up bigger organisms, like you, me, plants and animals. It works a bit like a tiny city or animal, with its own ways for making energy and protecting itself. The Nucleus is the control centre of the cell, a bit like a brain, while the membrane is the outer protective layer. The Cytoplasm does most of the work, keeping the cell running and making proteins. Different cells have different jobs, so your skin cells and your brain cells have different things to do to keep you going. Clever!

Light and Sound

Light and sound don't move, do they? Well, yes! But they move so fast it's basically impossible to tell. Sound and light both travel in waves and sound is a bit slower than light - that's why you will often see lightning before you hear thunder! Light travels at about  299792458 metres per second, while sound only travels 343 metres per second. Even though light travels very fast, because the sun is so far away we are actually experiencing light from about 8 minutes ago right now!


Put simply, gravity is the force that keeps us on Earth. Put slightly less simply, it's the force that pulls together all matter. Without it, we'd all be floating in space! What keeps us here is the Earth's gravitational pull. Big objects like planets and stars have big gravitational pull, so because Earth is pretty big is keeps us glued to it. That's why, when you jump, you come down again! That's Earth pulling you back! It was famous scientist Isaac Newton who first discovered the science behind why we stay on Earth (Sadly he probably didn't get it from an apple, but from doing lots of boring sums). On other plants, or the moon, your gravity might be less on more - that's why astronauts on the moon can bounce around!

Why is Climate Change Happening?

Climate change is the name for a number of things happening to the Earth because of human actions. The most worrying one is that Earth's, temperature is increasing - this is because humans are releasing lots of hot gases into the atmosphere from burning things like oil, which then have nowhere to go. The Earth has a very specific and balanced atmosphere, and so if it gets changed, lots of different things could start happening - ice will melt, sea levels will rise and weather will get more extreme. Weather changes mean certain plants and animals will no longer be able to live where they normally do, and many might die out, which will disrupt the food chain. So it's really important we try and stop it! The biggest thing that needs to happen is that governments need to make sure they stop burning fossil fuels and contributing to waste and greenhouse gas release, but there are things you and your family can do too, including using less electricity and gas, taking public transport, recycling and making sure your voice is heard!