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 financial and social implications of going off sailing around the world for a year like the main protagonist in Kensuke’s Kingdom. Moving diary extracts from the marooned boy’s point of view 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 working out percentage increase and decrease.
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. Before that, we explored paper sculpting, learning different manipulative techniques for achieving 3D effects with paper. These newly-learnt skills were then applied to designing our own spectacular 3D island scenes, tying in with this term’s topic. We studied the influence and achievement of Barack Obama as our Black History Month significant figure, writing a biography and producing posters that capture the essence of his ideals about equal opportunities for all.
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. 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 the positioning of sun parasols by an outdoor pool for maximum shade. The practical experiments proved extremely popular and the year 6 children proved their competence in setting up fair tests by controlling variables.