Henry Class began this year by reading an adaptation of the classic text ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. We were really engaged by the transformation from one character to the other and compared them in different diary entries. We acted in role as the doctor and his alter-ego to try to interpret the characters further. Exploring tension, we looked at sentence length and how the author made us feel nervous when describing certain events by using short, sharp sentences to build pace.
In addition, we studied the book ‘Boy’ by Roald Dahl. Dahl’s famous narrative style was put under scrutiny by our class and we identified key features of his work. We practised using these skills ourselves. They included: writing in an anecdotal style; using direct speech to introduce characters; and creating cohesion within and across paragraphs. Excitingly, we wrote our own versions of certain chapters and predicted the endings for them.
Danson celebrated Maths Week during the Autumn term and we had lots of fun relating our Maths learning to the book ‘Dougal’s Deep Sea Diary’. The main theme was telling the time as Dougal documented his underwater journeys; he even visited Atlantis! Henry Class solved how long it took Dougal to get from one place to another and matched the times up with distances. We also conducted a class survey of where Dougal should travel to next. To do this, we watched video clips of other fictitious places and voted where we thought it would be best for Dougal to travel. Then, we turned our data into statistical bar graphs and wrote persuasive letters to Teresa May asking her to send Dougal to our chosen locations.
To develop our number skills, we practised using and applying place value in different ways. For example, we rounded numbers to any power of ten up to one million; we multiplied four digit numbers by one digit using short multiplication; we practised dividing with place value counters and we counted forwards and backwards in powers of ten. We practised the infamous ‘90s test’ (ninety times table questions to complete in ten minutes) to improve our speed and accuracy with mental calculations. Each week, we tried to beat our score and reduce our time allowance – some children got down to as low as four minutes!
Our first topic in Science was Properties of Materials. This chemistry-based unit of work was really interesting and we learnt many skills about how to work scientifically. Firstly, we thought about what properties would make successful objects. However, we then acted as mean Victorian teachers and designed toys for children that would break when played with! We had to consider properties (such as whether a material was hard, brittle or elastic) and create a horrible toy. One of the evil ideas including a Victorian hoop and stick game made from a glass stick and wool hoop!
In this topic, we also had to plan an investigation for how to separate an alien soup. The mixture was made of water, paper clips, blue sand, plastic counters and salt. Working as a group, we had to think about how best to use the equipment of a sieve, filter paper, funnel, magnet, spoon and containers. We discovered that the iron paperclips would be attracted to the magnet so used this to pull them out. Then we had to sieve the mixture so that the sand, salt and water passed through but the plastic counters remained in the sieve. Then we filtered the sand, salt and water so that the sand stayed in the filter paper and the salt and water passed through the funnel. Lastly, we would need to heat up the solution of salt and water to evaporate the water and leave the solid salt behind. As you can see, our experiment had lots of steps and we enjoyed using the Science lab to conduct this investigation!
Our second topic was Animals Including Humans. For this biology unit, we learned new knowledge about what physical changes happen to our bodies as we grow old. We thought about what changes had happened to our class already, such as milk teeth falling out, growing in height and hair colour changing from when we were first born. Using this information, we drew a human timeline – from gestation (pregnancy) to death – and wrote about all the changes that happen to us. Also, we measured children across the whole school to find out whether the rate of growth in height was steady from year to year. With our mathematic skills, we solved the average height of a child in each year group and compared the difference between year to year.
Vile Victorians was the focus topic for our learning in the Autumn term. We had great fun finding out about key events such as the industrial revolution and how the British Empire grew during Queen Victoria’s reign. We practised our sketching skills by sketching a portrait of the monarch and used shading to make her face look realistic. Henry Class discovered what life was like for a poor Victorian child and compared this to the life of a rich one. We studied their daily routines and even found similarities between them and us! We wrote in role, pretending of have a Victorian job as lots of children worked as chimney sweeps, in factories or on farms. In the second half term, we visited the town of Horton Kirby. Here we went to an education centre and met some fantastic “Victorian teachers”. We got to take part in a Victorian lesson, walk around the town to study Victorian buildings and even look at old artefacts. Everyone had a fantastic time.