Autumn Term - 2018/19
Islands was the topic of the autumn term for year 6, linking in with our two class reads, “Kensuke’s Kingdom” by Michael Morpurgo and “Floodland” by Marcus Sedgwick. We considered the arguments for and against allowing children to take time off school to go sailing around the world for a year, like the main protagonist in Kensuke’s Kingdom; we used PEEL to help us structure coherent arguments. Moving diary extracts from the point of view of the old Japanese gentleman Kensuke, sea poems that explored the impact of word choice and structure, and formal newspaper reports detailing the discovery of a spy on the Eel island were some of the English writing tasks we completed.
We have been focusing on number this term: place value with numbers up to 10 million, negative numbers and fractions, decimals and percentages. We have been practising our mathematical reasoning, which is proving suitably challenging for our top mathematicians, who are finding they need to show great resilience as they battle their way out of the learning pit! Applying our ability to use formal written calculations to solve open-ended investigations and problems has been targeted, and we are growing in confidence in areas like long division with decimal answers, dividing fractions and using bar modelling to help tackle word problems visually – something we practised as a whole school during maths week.
Tying in with our topic on Islands, we studied coastlines in creative curriculum and learnt about how coastlines are formed as well as different types of flooding and what increases the risk of it happening. Andy Goldsworthy, a British sculpture who specialises in ephemeral art was this term’s focus artist: inspired by his land art produced in natural settings, the children were set the task of creating their own beautiful creations using found materials. The activity was hugely enjoyable and the art produced simply stunning. As a class, we also enjoyed using newly-learnt paper engineering skills to make our own Christmas scene trioramas to take home.
Classification and living things was our first topic this term, and we practised categorising plants and animals according to observable characteristics and recording our findings in keys and tables. We investigated the factors that cause bread to go mouldy faster. Following on from that, we studied light, planning and carrying out scientific experiments to answer questions and collect evidence to support or refute ideas, for example, to prove light travels in straight lines; in addition, we also explored how shadow sizes and shapes are influenced by the position of the light source in relation to the object. The practical experiments proved extremely popular and the year 6 children proved their competence in setting up fair tests by controlling variables.