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Welcome to Class 4 - Otters

Picture 1 Otters
Picture 1 Mr P Burns Class 4 Teacher
Picture 2 Mrs S O'Connor

Leeds Castle Trip

The Marshmallow Challenge

Each group was given 20 sticks of spaghetti, a yard of masking tape, a yard of string and a marshmallow. They had to design a build a structure, using only those materials, that would support the marshmallow at the top. They had 18 minutes to complete the task and the highest marshmallow, supported only by the structure, at the end of the time would be declared the winner.

There were some very impressive designs and some heart-wrenching catastrophes. One group dismantled what would have been the winning structure to improve upon it, and never reached the same heights again!

Despite all the groups having a successful structure at some point during the period, only one group’s was standing as the time ended. Agonisingly, two group’s towers collapsed within seconds of the buzzer.

Snow Day!

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As well as sledging and building snowmen, here are a few challenges you could try if you have time on your snow day:



This problem was given on Radio 4s Today programme a few weeks ago and was actually set by GCHQ! Bring any answers in to school (a pupil point for every correct answer!)


Take the digits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 in order and put either a plus sign or a minus sign or neither between the digits to make a number sentence that adds up to 100. For example, one way of doing this is: 1 + 2 + 34 - 5 + 67 - 8 + 9 = 100, which uses six plusses and minuses. You will have to use a bit of trial and error (12 + 3 + 45 + 67 - 89 = 38 so wouldn't work!).

Can you find any other ways to make 100? What is the fewest number of plusses and minuses you need to make 100?



This term we are thinking about investigations and how to work scientifically. How about conducting you own experiment on how quickly snow melts? You need to think about what you will keep the same (the amount of snow, the container?), what you will change (the temperature of the environment, perhaps in different rooms of your house?) and what you will measure (the time it takes to melt?). I'm very confident that it will melt more quickly if it's warmer, but I wonder how much difference a few degrees centigrade would actually make? You could record your results and bring them into school to share with the class.



Practice your throwing with snowball target practice. Find a place with targets at different distances (tree trunks are ideal) and see if you can hit each of them with a snowball. Move on to the more distant target each time you are successful. Try to hit all of your targets in as few snowballs as possible.  


Have a lovely time,

Mr Burns. 



The children have been learning about how to debate and make persuasive arguments. We watched some videos of other children debating and learned the format. Then we started preparing for our own debates. Topics under debate included homework, violent video games, school uniform and whether books are better than television. The children took it all very seriously and gave some amazing performances. Most impressively, even the children who were feeling most nervous about speaking formally in front of the class managed to stand up and give their speeches. I think we almost convinced Mrs Garrett to scrap homework!  

Terrific Scientific: Feet

Our latest experiment for the BBC's Terrific Scientific scheme saw us measuring our feet. The research is about the effect of the terrain we spend most time on, on foot flexibility. We had to take several measurements, to the nearest mm, to calculate a value for the flexibility of our feet. Measuring our feet was easy (sort of), deciding whether we spend more time on natural or artificial surfaces proved more difficult and lead to lots of disagreement. We finally plumped for natural and our results are up on the Terrific Scientific map now.

Codes and Code Breaking

As we have been learning about spies and espionage in our Topic lessons this term, we decided to spend a Maths lesson outdoors learning about codes and code-breaking. Mrs Maw, our wonderful Forest School teacher, arranged three activities for us to try: Morse-code, semaphore and ciphers. Each group were given words and messages to transmit across the playground to their friends. There was some interim consternation (me) and amusement (the children) when one group used their semaphore flags to transmit 'bump', 'pool' and 'week'!

Homemade Switches

Having learned about circuits and what they need to work, we looked at how we turn them on and off. We thought about the different types of switches we use all the time and what they are used for. We then decided to construct our own switches, with little more than cardboard, aluminium foil, split-pins and some copper tape (oh for some sticky-backed plastic!) The children came up with some amazing designs and they all worked to switch on and off our bulb. One group created a pressure plate which could easily catch an unwitting playmobil person unawares!

Wiring a Plug

After discussing the dangers of mains electricity and flailing screwdrivers, we all had a go at the very tricky process of wiring a plug. Taking them apart was easy. We looked carefully at where everything went, learnt that Mr Brown was a lively fella' and found out what fuses are for. Finally, we attempted to put them back together again. Thank you to Mrs White, Mr Monkhouse, Mrs Ashmore, Mr Maddrell and Mr Garrett who helped out with the plug wiring and the soldering of our snowman decorations. 


*I borrowed Miss Bird's camera for these photos and failed to notice that the lens was covered in clay from Year 3's Neolithic toolmaking!

Still Life Drawing

With the help of Miss Burr, we had a go at drawing some woodland objects. We tried drawing them with our eyes closed, with our 'wrong'-hand, without looking at the paper and without taking our pencil of the paper. Then made an unimpeded attempt in our art books. The children looked really closely at their objects, and thought about the lines and tones they they could use to represent them.   

Terrific Scientific: Excercise

As part of the BBC's Terrific Scientific project, Class 4 conducted an investigation into how exercise affects our brains. We had to do a series of memory and reaction tests on the computer, before and after doing a set activity. We had a lot of fun doing the activities, particularly the beep test, which I found exhausting just to watch! Our final results are below. They will join results from school children all over the country and will be analysed by scientists from the University of Edinburgh to see what effect the exercise had.


What do our results suggest? Well, it seems we weren't very good at doing the tests the second time each day. In each case, we got worse at the memory test after the activity - even when the activity was the control activity (15 minutes outside doing nothing)! A certain amount of test fatigue perhaps?


Overall, the automated analysis of our results suggested that moderate exercise had the biggest effect on us and that that effect was positive. Star-jumps at the start of every lesson next term?


Our results now appear on the Terrific Scientific map (as Class 2). Next term we'll be measuring our feet!      

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Book Week

We spent book week focused on The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White and the Disney film based on it. In the story, the young King Arthur, known as the Wart, is tutored by the wizard Merlyn, who turns him into various animals to learn about the world. We wrote our own scenes from the book, imagining other animals the Wart could have become and thinking about what lessons he may have learned.

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Scone Making

After our exploration of British values revealed that some children feel that pizza and curry are as British as Cornish pasties and Yorkshire pudding, we spent a lesson learning about traditional British food. This was, of course, just a pretext to eat some scones. The children measured and mixed all the ingredients, rolled the dough and cut the scones; Michelle, in the school kitchen, with the oven and her trusty temperature probe, did the rest. Jam, then cream? Cream, then jam?   

Iron Man Script Writing

Class 4 have been learning to punctuate direct speech in English. To provide some dialogue to punctuate, we rehearsed and performed the scene from the Iron Man where Hogarth tries to convince his parents that there is a huge metal monster wandering about the countryside. There was lots of amazing, persuasive dialogue and some uncannily convincing depictions of domestic banter! Thank you to Mrs Klosek for helping to provide feedback and performance tips to the budding actors as they rehearsed.    

Rosh Hashanah

We were very lucky to have Mrs Hayhoe come into class to help us celebrate Rosh Hashanah. She taught us some of the customs of the festival and explained how it was a celebration of the Jewish New Year. We tried saying some blessings in Hebrew and learned their meaning. To experience some traditional Rosh Hashanah food, we baked sweet Challah bread and ate sliced apples with honey. We even had enough Challah bread left over to share it with the teachers in Celebration Assembly! 

Minibeast Hunt

As part of our learning about Living Things and their Habitats, we spent an afternoon searching for life in the grounds of the school. The children were very careful and observant, making many exciting discoveries. We drew a sketch of each creature and recorded details about them so that we could later design classification keys to sort them. One very knowledgeable group found what they identified as a 'devil's cockroach', which, after a little research, I suspect to have been this friendly-looking creature.