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.
Henry class had a fantastic time this term learning about narrative writing and newspaper articles. We focused on the picture book ‘Tuesday’ where flying frogs invade a local town! When we arrived at school on the first Monday morning of Spring term, we found the frogs had taken over the Year 5 corridor and had left their bright green lily pads absolutely everywhere! Two of us had to photograph the evidence for Miss Casey to investigate further. Our interviews with key witnesses proved helpful in documenting the event and inspired our newspaper writing.
We also took part in Danson’s Book Week, with a few members of the class being selected to help run the Book Fair. Our focus book for the week was the brilliant ‘James and the Giant Peach’ by Roald Dahl. We read the book in class, created character profiles, watched the film version, dressed up as characters from the text and performed some drama and songs from the story. It was so much fun!
Henry class have been working really hard in Maths to improve our fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills. We have been focusing on fractions, decimals and percentages and finding connections between the three. Using bar models, we are now able to add, subtract and multiply fractions! We even played a Fraction Formula game if we had wet play because we enjoyed our learning so much. Our next aim is to sharpen up our arithmetic and mental maths skills so that we can be super speedy when calculating.
Danson held its own Science Week during the Spring term and it was out of this world… literally – a strange insect from another world landed in Danson’s playground and Miss Odd, Miss Jones and Miss Hickmott discovered it on their way to a staff meeting! We had to investigate this unusual creature and make sure that we knew all about its appearance and habitat. Using our knowledge, we then made conclusions about how best it could change its wing span in order to travel in different ways. This connected to our learning about the topic of Forces, where we had been conducting experiments to do with surface area and speed. In addition, we watched a demonstration where bicarbonate of soda and vinegar reacted in a bag. Did you know that when they mix together the solution forms a gas? It was so powerful when the gas was trying to escape that the bag split open right in front of our eyes! Wow!
Our engaging topic for Spring was ‘Natural Disasters’. We learnt so much about earthquakes, wild fires, tsunamis, volcanoes and floods. During our geography lessons, we looked at maps and improved our skills for how to read them accurately. This involved highlighting areas that would be likely to flood and making predictions based on this. We also made recommendations to the townspeople for where to live so that their homes wouldn’t be affected by excess flood water. Similarly, we studied past earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis and learnt about the damage they caused to local citizens. The devastation was unbelievable and it inspired us to consider how we can help protect our own environment.
Importantly, we also took part in Safer Internet Day. This day involved lots of learning about how to be safe online and some tasks that were linked to the theme of ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect’. We created dominoes with a way that we could be respectful or kind online and the other side said something that people do to make me feel good online. We then put the domino pieces on the floor to see if we could connect with everyone in the class. It worked!
During the summer term, Henry Class have been very busy reading and learning about a variety of texts relating to our Australia and Wild West topics. Firstly, we read a creative picture book called ‘The Rabbits’ which was an analogy of the real-life historical event of Europeans invading Australia. We discovered how the rabbits (Europeans) took over the kangaroos (Aborigines). Everyone wrote their own version of the story, choosing different animals to be enemies, and included dialogue and emotive language. After this, we moved on to reading ‘Diary of a Wombat’. This text detailed the life of Mothballs the lazy wombat who enjoyed nothing more than eating all day long. We wrote diary entries based on the main character and a persuasive letter to the council. We had to convince them to remove the pesky wombat from our homes! Finally, Henry Class read ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar. The class were thoroughly gripped by the tale of the young offender who was sent to a hard-labour camp in the deserted desert in Texas. Our writing and spelling was enhanced by reading the detailed descriptions of the camp and the characters who inhabit it. We wrote different texts in role as Stanley – the innocent criminal, the Warden – the evil ruler of the camp and Mr Pendanski – a camp counsellor. A special mention has to be said for the Henry Class team who made it to the finals of the Spellathon… well done to you and the entire class who took part over the year!
This term in Mathematics, Henry Class have been making further connections with fractions, decimals and percentages. We related these to real-life contexts and reasoned around these problems to improve our knowledge and understanding of the subject. In addition, we also had Natwest Money Sense workshops where we learnt about insurance, finance, fraud and tax! We feel better prepared for spending our pocket money because of this! For a few weeks, Henry Class have learnt about measures of length, mass, capacity and volume. We looked at converting, estimating, measuring and the old-fashioned imperial equivalences! Did you know that one pint is roughly 568ml? Finally, we completed lots of learning about geometry. This involved learning how to measure with a protractor accurately, considering what size the internal angles of regular and irregular polygons would be, calculating missing angles and reflecting/translating shapes on a four-quadrant grid using co-ordinates. We really enjoyed using lots of practical equipment for these units of work!
Our first topic for summer was Australia. We learnt lots about the physical geography of the landscape and the invasion of the land by Europeans. We designed boomerangs, using Aboriginal art symbols as our inspiration, to develop our drawing skills. Also, we painted Australian animals using dots with striking backgrounds and bold colour combinations. Interestingly, we learnt about bushfires and the devastating effects they can have on a community and country. This linked to our learning about pollution in the Great Barrier Reef. Halfway through the term, Danson held a London History Day and Year Five had to dress up and learn about a suffragette Londoner. We made rosettes, placards and signed and paraded around the school shouting ‘Votes for Women’ – we even entered other classrooms to spread the message of gender equality! Finally, we have been learning about the Wild West. This involved learning about tribal communities of Native Americans that were invaded. In addition, we discovered that there were lots of crooked outlaws who ruled the dusty roads. We created a wanted poster for some of the most infamous ones!
Our first unit of work was Earth and Space. We had great fun creating craters in flour and cocoa powder and measuring their diameter. Also, we used Oreo cookies to show the different phases of the moon! Did you know that the moon does not get covered by clouds? It changes shape based on the position of the Earth and the shadow formed on the moon by the sun. Fascinatingly, we discovered how our Solar System works and that we are a really tiny planet compared to some of the others! After this topic, we moved on to learn about Life Cycles. All three Year 5 classes were given class pets of five caterpillars. We raised them in their cup and observed how much food they ate and how much frass they produced! Each table in the class named a caterpillar – Colourful Casey, Charlotte, Vicky, Floss and Buttercup. They all started metamorphosis but sadly one did not turn into a butterfly. We released the other four on the field and watched them fly away to continue their life cycle.