We all enjoyed celebrating King Charles' impending coronation with a delightful afternoon sharing some snacks and singing the national anthem. The children proudly showed off their home made crowns too.
We've been investigating how sound is caused by vibrations and how the vibrations can travel through different mediums. The vibrations travel more easily through the solid string than through the air, so we were able hear things through the telephones that we couldn't without. Our string telephones worked brilliantly when the strings were pulled tight, but we also tried them out with the string hanging loose, with knots in the string, going around corners and with many telephones tied together.
We have been learning to juggle during some of our Friday morning wellbeing sessions. Beginning with just one and then two balls, the children have been practising consistent throwing, one-handed catching and their timing. A few of the children have started practising with three balls.
We got outside today to measure the perimeters of some objects in the playground. The children were given a number of different measuring instruments (meter sticks, 30 cm rulers, trundle wheels, 10m long ropes etc) and told that they could only use each instrument once. This required some forward planning and resulted in one group trying to measure the length and width of the football pitch with a 30cm ruler!
This week, we learnt about how debates work by watching a debate by other primary school children and discussing the format and rules they used. We considered the structure of the speeches and what persuasive techniques they used. We then split into six teams and we were randomly assigned a motion and whether we were proposing it or opposing it. We then prepared for the debates by deciding what three points we would make in our speeches. We thought up reasons to support our points and we practiced or speeches. Finally, we held five debates and argued for our respective positions. The audience members had an opportunity to express their thoughts too. We took it very seriously and the children gave some fantastic performances.
The children each learned a bar of J.S. Bach's Prelude in C Major on the glockenspiels and then the whole class performed the entire piece.
Class 4 had a wonderful day at Leeds Castle. We began with a train ride from the entrance to the castle. Then we learnt lots about the history of the castle in Tudor times in a workshop about Henry VIII's meeting with King Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Next, we had lunch, before braving the maze. Luckily, no one was (permanently) lost and we all got to play in the adventure playground afterwards!
We had stir-fried noodles in Class 4 to mark the end of our China topic. The children all helped out preparing the vegetables, we cooked the noodles in the classroom, and then we all had a go at using chopsticks. It was tricky, but lots of the children had mastered it by the time they'd finished their bowls!
Today, we investigated what happens when we add iodine solution water (it was a yellow/green colour) and to rice water (it turned a very dark blue). The iodine turns blue in the presence of the starch in the rice. We added saliva to the iodine/rice water mixture and it changed from blue to clear in a few minutes. We learned that an enzyme in our saliva called amylase, breaks down the starch into sugars, so there was eventually no starch left to turn the iodine blue.
We have some new robots to play with, so we built a track! The robots are controlled by micro:bits which we needed to code on the iPads. You can't tell them to move a certain distance or turn a certain angle, so the children spent a while investigating the parameters we could change: 'speed' (from 0 - 100) and the delay (in ms) between starting and stopping the motors. After we had got the hang of controlling the robots and sending our code updates over bluetooth to the micro:bits, the children had a running battle to see who could get the furthest on the track. It got very passionate!
Using tinfoil to create touchpad buttons we wired up our buttons to a micro:bit. Then, we coded the microbes to time how long it took us to react when a led lit up on the micro:bit. We investigated whether our reaction times were faster or slower after doing 2-minutes of exercise. Everyone tested their reaction time 3 times before exercise and 3 times afterwards. We took the average of the class before and after, and found no significant difference!
The children all had a great time learning about solids, liquid and gases with our guest Science teachers from Canterbury Academy. We then mixed solids and liquids together to make some play dough which we got to take home!
Given 20 sticks of spaghetti, a metre of masking tape, a metre of string and a marshmallow, each team had just 18 minutes to design and create a structure that could hold the marshmallow off the desk as high as possible. There were highs and lows (!), but all the teams cooperated brilliantly and showed lots of ingenuity in their designs.
Continuing from our last lesson on the pentatonic scale, we all learned to play the first two bars of a traditional Chinese song called Jasmine Flower. We thought carefully about the timing and how the notes were represented by quavers and crochets. Finally, the children had a go at performing the tune.
This week we were lucky enough to have My Ru Su, a mandarin tutor from the University of Kent, and Hong Li Ji, visiting from Xi'an Kedagoxin University, come to deliver a Chinese language lesson. The children learned how to say the names of the animals from the Chinese zodiac and how to greet someone at new year.
We welcomed some international students from King's School this week, who came to talk to us about Chinese culture. They taught us about how Chinese New Year is celebrated, gave us some tasty Chinese treats, and shared their thoughts on the similarities and differences between life in China and in the UK.
We looked at how the pentatonic scale is found in music that developed independently around the world, including in traditional Chinese music. We listened to some examples of Chinese music and then, using only the black bars on the glockenspiel, tried to compose our own melodies.
We have been practicing our balancing in P.E., both individually and in pairs. We created sequences of rolls and balances and tried to transition fluently between each.
Our annual crop of LED snowman decorations turned out brilliantly this year! The children did an amazing job of soldering the components on the back and creating the scarf push switch in copper tape.
We finished off our burglar alarms today. Using a clothes peg, two wires and some copper tape to make a versatile switch, we added a battery pack and a buzzer, and housed them all in our origami boxes. The children had some ingenious ideas about how they were going to deploy them in their bedrooms!
We've been practising our drumming in music for the last two terms, so this week we got to show off our skills to the rest of the school in assembly.
In a throwback to an earlier age when plugs weren't all moulded to the cable, today we took apart some plugs and rewired them. It took some very impressive screwdriver skills and was very fiddly and frustrating at times, but all the groups managed to rewire their plugs correctly! In the process, we learned what a fuse does, put our knowledge about conductors and insulators in a practical context, and thought carefully about safety around electricity (and sharp screwdrivers!).
This term we have been learn to code with Micro:bits. They are small handheld portable computing devices with lots of different inputs and outputs. We explored what it means to be a 'computer' and continued to improve our understanding of block-based programming languages. The children coded the Micro:bits to function as counters, timers, spirit-levels and radio-messaging devices.
After considering some of the different ways switches operate and the different purposes they serve, we created some switches of our own out of cardboard, copper tape, tinfoil, split pins, sellotape and anything else we could find! We designed them, built models of our designs, tested them and reflected on how we could have improved them. One group created a working pressure pad, whilst another made an ingenious key card switch!
We had a visit today from Roots to Food who taught us how to cook Chicken (or Tofu) Teriyaki Noodles! The children did everything, from beginning to end: chopping, peeling, mixing, whisking, marinading and stirring. We all learned about the nutritional value of the food we were eating in the process. They did a fabulous job of it; it was delicious!
We began our learning about electricity this week building some simple series circuits with a battery pack, wires and a bulb. We learned about what we needed to make the bulb light up and saw how an incomplete circuit or a short circuit could spoil the party.
We all had a fantastic time at Canterbury Cathedral, trying our hand at making relief badges, writing with quills and even doing a bit of stone masonry. We dressed up to tour the cathedral and learned all about its history, the life of Thomas Becket, what it was like to be a monk at the cathedral and about the pilgrims who would travel there from far and wide.
We started our term long skipping challenge today. We'll be recording how many skips we can do in two minutes, once a week, to see how much we improve over the term. The children all have their own skipping rope with a counter and they can practice at break and lunchtimes.
This term we have been creating our own avoidance games in Scratch. We've needed to learn to how to let the player control the movement of the spites and use the sensing-blocks to determine when our sprites have touched other spites. Very well done everyone! There is some very impressive coding on display! You can find all the games here: https://scratch.mit.edu/studios/32277549 You can continue to work on your game (or someone else's!) by clicking on See Inside and then downloading the file to your home computer.
Today we build 3D shapes out of dowel rods and elastic bands. First we built triangles and squares and compared how stable the shapes were. We used what we've learned about angles inside triangles to explain this. We tried reinforcing our squares with cross-bars to form triangles within the square. Next, we built tetrahedrons which were strong enough to stack. We all worked together to build bigger tetrahedrons out of 4 smaller ones, and finally, we built a giant tetrahedron out of 4 of the bigger ones. At the end, for fun, we tried to see how many of us could fit inside the giant one!
On Friday, we visited Year 1 to read them some stories. It was great fun, and the Year 1 children seemed to enjoy it too!
In English today, we went outside for inspiration and collected words and phrases about autumn for our autumnal haikus.
For Fantastic Friday this week, we all had fun building together and sharing our ideas.
This term we have been practicing ball-skills and learning to play netball. We played a simplified version using just three positions: defence, centre and attacker.
We had a wonderful time at Badlesmere Court Farm, learning about how dairy cows are looked after and how the milk we drink is produced. Mr and Mrs Scutt gave us a tour of the farm and even let us have a go in their enormous tractors!
We made some delicious flapjacks, with oats, butter, sugar and golden syrup. We also added fresh blueberries and dried apricots.
In Science, we created our own classification keys to sort a selection of invertebrates.
Inspired by Jasper Johns' paintings of the U.S. flag, we created collages out of newspaper clippings, choosing things that represented the United Kingdom for us. Next, we painted over the collage with a depiction of the Union Jack, partially obscuring the text and images below.
The children found and identified some incredible creatures in the school grounds. We carefully observed them to identify and record the properties we could use to sort and classify them.
One of our pupils' pet lobster has just moulted, and we were treated to a fascinating show-and-tell about how crustaceans shed their shells (or exo-skeletons) to allow them to grow.
We had a great time during Sports Week trying out some new sports. The children loved having a go a golf, basketball, badminton and even boxing! We earned house points in a series of inter-house competitions too.
We've been learning about Sound this term in our Science lessons. We all made string telephones to see how sound can travel more easily through a solid, like the string, than it can through the air.
We had a wonderful time exploring our local environment on Geography Day. We were lucky enough to go on two long walks. Firstly, in the morning we walked through the village and along the back of Lees Court to the valley. We counted the number of homes we passed and tried to estimate how many people lived in the village. In the afternoon, we visited the Badlesmere Court Farm, where Mrs Scutt gave us an amazing tour, and answered all of our questions about dairy farming!
We've spent lots of this week learning about The Beatles in Class 4. We've listened to lots of their songs, learned about members of the band and performed The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill to the whole school in assembly. We were also lucky enough to do dance workshops with pupils and teachers from the King's School, learned about Jazz with a jazz guitarist and we even had a 60s disco with Class 3.
Since it was a lovely day, we decided to record the song outside. The children performed it brilliantly, but unfortunately I didn't account for the havoc that the (very gentle!) breeze would cause to the sound quality! The children had a lot of fun recording it though, so here it is.
Here is the children's performance in front of the whole school, for which we welcomed back three children who'd been off with covid and so missed the previous recording. Luckily, it wasn't blowing a gale in the school hall!
We randomly selected the motions and whether each team was for or against. Then, the children spent a week preparing their arguments and practicing their speeches for the debates. Each debate was run very formally by a chairperson and a timekeeper, and the children took it all very seriously. Mrs Garrett, Mr Graves and I were incredibly impressed by how confident, well-informed and persuasive all the speakers were.
We've been learning some cricket skills with Mr Hodder this term. This week he wanted us to show him our muscles when we were practicing throwing!
We focused this week on an illustration by Isol from the book "It's Up to Us." It shows a woodland scene, at night, both above and below ground, highlighting the way in which the carbon in living things becomes trapped in the ground below us.
We spent some time outside, sketching things that might appear in our versions of the picture. We also practised drawing trees based on the shapes they form. We looked at how the roots of trees and plants grow (surprisingly shallowly it seems!) and explored what types of animals may be living underground. Finally, we set to work on our own interpretations of Isol's picture - first by painting the ground and some trees on blue card and then adding details on top with oil pastels. We decided to do two versions, one at night like Isol's, and one during the day.
The children took turns to model for the rest of the class to draw them. We started with quick 3 minute sketches and built up to longer, more detailed 15 minute pencil drawings.
We took our sketch books outside to practise our observational drawing. The children drew plants, trees and leaves, and any little creatures they could find.
The children used the "radio" functions to code their micro:bits to transmit signals to each other. We tested the range of the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal on the school field. Then we played a secret message game in which the children had to use the micro:bits to direct their partners to the correct location based on different questions.
We had a wonderful and very interesting time during STEM week, doing a series of activities around the theme of Our Future with Mr and Mrs Blair. We had great fun exploring the school with thermal cameras, building our own led torches, learning about plastic pollution and considering global inequalities. We were also very lucky to become reacquainted with Ethan and Mrs Hayhoe's ever-growing chameleons. Rufus brought in his amazing static electricity homework for which he (and his dad) had built a working Van de Graaff generator!