This Autumn term, we have based our writing around two texts that link to our Creative Curriculum topic (the Victorians). These texts are Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ and Berlie Doherty’s ‘Street Child’. We wrote a diary entry as Dr. Jekyll from the moment he took a potion which turned him into the evil Mr Hyde; we found it interesting exploring the emotions and thoughts which both personalities of the character might have had. We learned a lot about Victorian workhouses from ‘Street Child’ and were able to reflect this in some superb descriptive writing about workhouses and the atrocious conditions people were forced to work under. Later on in the term, inspired by Roald Dahl’s book ‘Boy: Tales of Childhood’, we wrote our own auto-biographies. We showcased excellent listening skills, and even empathy, during lessons when listening to the key moments in our classmates’ lives.
At the start of the year, we began by consolidating and developing our understanding of place value up to one million. Using our improved understanding of number and place value, we were able to multiply and divide numbers (including decimals) by 10, 100 and 1,000 effectively as well as round numbers to the nearest 10, 100, 1,000 and 10,000. Other topics we have covered in the Autumn term include: finding factors of numbers, identifying prime numbers up to 100 (using divisibility rules), finding square and cube numbers and calculating the area and perimeter of compound shapes. We have also learned how to read and write Roman numerals up to 1,000 (M).
This Autumn, we have studied animals (including humans) and properties of materials. We have sought after patterns, analysing the relationship between the gestation period of animals compared with their mass. We enjoyed measuring the heights of a range of children across different year groups to gather our own data showing how children’s height changes with age. We have enjoyed many practical investigations throughout the term, including observing different materials to see whether they’d dissolve in hot water as well as how different types of cup affect the time taken for a hot drink to cool down, using observational skills to read thermometers at consistent time intervals.
Creative Curriculum lessons have taught us all about what life would have been like in the Victorian times. We have been able to compare our lives to those of children in the Victorian era. We were taken on an enlightening school trip to an old Victorian school in Horton Kirby where we found out that schools were very strict: children had to stand up when a teacher entered the room and they weren’t even allowed to ask questions during lessons! We used computers and other sources to independently research key, famous figures from the Victorian era such as Lord Shaftesbury, Charles Dickens, Robert Peel and Florence Nightingale. Afterwards, we presented our findings back to the class in pairs through role-playing interviews with the famous figures.
In spring term one, we based our writing around the text ‘Tuesday’ by David Wiesner. This story is a picture book with wonderful illustrations, telling the story of mischievous, exploring frogs. The frogs begin their journey at wetlands before flying to the nearest town, leaving behind a trail of clues which leave local residents bewildered. We used this text as a stimulus to write our own narrative stories (with a similar plot to that in David Wiesner’s book), but involving an animal of our choice. We all worked tremendously hard planning our narratives and there were some very imaginative stories, written to a high quality, incorporating the work we have covered in recent grammar lessons. In spring term two, we read ‘The Highway Man’ (a narrative poem) written by Alfred Noyes. We were inspired by the poetic devices used throughout the text (metaphors, similes, alliteration, onomatopoeia and repetition) and we were able to write our own poems - retelling the story of the Highway man from different characters’ perspectives - incorporating many of these features of poetry.
A lot of our learning this term has been recapping and broadening our understanding of fractions. Lessons have included: ordering fractions, finding equivalent fractions, converting between mixed number and improper fractions, adding and subtracting fractions and finding fractions of amounts. We’ve represented fractions using practical resources and as diagrams (using bar modelling) to build up our concrete and pictorial understanding of what fractions are and the different ways we can work with them in our learning.
Our creative curriculum topic in the spring term was ‘It’s a Disaster’. We studied, in great detail, the features of a river, learning the meaning of key terminology such as meanders, ox-box lakes and tributaries. We examined images of different rivers and reasoned which rivers would be prone to flooding and why. We also used our map reading skills to analyse an area called Bewdley, suggesting where we’d position flood defences in order to protect important areas on the map (for example the local school). Also, after reading Lily Usher’s poem ‘There Came a Wave’ which was written after the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, we thought about the effect natural disasters have people and the surrounding landscape.
This term, we have been learning about forces. Within this unit, we have investigated how the friction created between a moving object and different surface types varies. We also looked at the affect that air resistance has on moving objects by recording the time it took for paper spinners (with different surface areas) to fall to the ground. We used our results and scientific understanding to predict what affect water resistance would have on moving objects when we were given the task of designing and creating a mini-submarine that would move effectively through water for a toy company. We were able to conclude that the most streamlined models travelled quickest through water. The word streamlined means that an object allows very little resistance to a flow of air or water, increasing its speed and ease of movement.
This half term, we’ve been reading Louis Sachar’s Holes. This gripping story is about a young boy named Stanley Yelnats, who is spending time at Camp Green Lake having been convicted of a crime which he didn’t actually commit. Here, he is forced to dig holes in the scorching hot desert all day under the orders of the mysterious warden, who is actually using the prisoners' hard labour to look for buried treasure. Set in North America, it links to our learning about the Wild West in Creative Curriculum. In lessons, we’ve analysed how Louis Sachar has used dialogue, action and description to develop characters in the story and we have written a balanced argument debating whether children who steal should be sent to disciplinary camps like Camp Green Lake to learn their lesson.
This half term, we have looked at geometry (properties of shape) in depth. As part of this, we’ve identified that regular polygons are shapes with equal angles and sides. We’ve also looked at plotting co-ordinates and translating shapes on grids. We’ve learned a lot about angles, from drawing and measuring angles to calculating missing angles based on known facts. Facts we have learned include: angles on a straight line add up to 180o and angles around a point add up to 360o. Also, we’ve practised converting between units of metric and imperial measure for example: 1000m = 1km and 1 foot = 12 inches.
We have learned about the Wild West (1865-1895).. Firstly, we used a key to locate areas within North America that different tribes lived in before Europeans began invading in 1865. We looked at the reasons why North America was an attractive place to emigrate for Europeans, and other explorers, including the prospect of lots of untouched fertile land, which could be used to grow fruit and vegetables. We also researched the case studies of famous outlaws from the Wild West period. These included Jesse James, who robbed banks and trains, and Henry Starr – one of the most notorious bank robbers of the Wild West.
We have been learning about living things. We have compared the similarities and differences between the life cycles of mammals, birds, amphibians, insects and plants. We have learned how plants can reproduce sexually or asexually and we have examined the advantages and disadvantages of both methods of reproduction. We also studied the different parts of a flower using microscopes.