Wow! What an amazing day we had at the museum! I am sure you have heard lots about it. The children were lucky enough to spend a day with the wonderful, voluntary staff at the museum, three of which were experienced archaeologists. We were excited, thrilled, and enthralled by the programme they offered. Over the day, we gathered information, searched the museum for clues to answer questions, handled artefacts, reconstructed artefacts through drawing, found clues to the past in a dustbin full of rubbish and dug for objects in a mini archaeological dig.
Year 4 mixed with Year 3, which was great for both groups. All the children behaved impeccably, and the staff were eager to invite the children to make a return visit. I hope that the children will be able to encourage you to take them again, since we did not get the chance to look round the whole museum. Also, our upcoming theme is going to include the ancient Egyptians, and the museum has a fantastic display of Egyptian artefacts.
This week our attention has been firmly focused on science. We just love it! On Monday, we observed a change in the state of matter – we watched ice melt to water. We gathered two measurements before the ice melted, we took the temperature of the ice and we weighed it.
Once the ice had melted into water, we measured the temperature and weighed it again. From this we learned that water becomes ice when it is very cold (0°C), and if left at room temperature the water produced takes on the temperature of the surrounding space.
We were not satisfied with only observing one change of state, so we turned water into stream (water vapour) using a kettle, and then turned it back to water by the steam collecting on a cold, metal tray. We were all surprised by how well our experiments worked, and how easy it was to observe these changes.
We ended the week by applying this knowledge to a larger scale – the water cycle. Please ask the children to explain this to you, it is very interesting.
We have been very lucky this week, with our enrichment of the curriculum. On Monday, our special guests were the police. Three community police officers came to Year 4 to teach us (or remind us) of the need to keep ourselves safe in different situations.
The children took part in a competition to identify safety equipment needed to keep us safe when we ride our bike at night. All the children knew about this area of safety and impressed the police officers with their knowledge. One of the children won a prize, which was a pair of bicycle lamps.
Whilst we were working a ‘stranger’ came into our classroom, which was in fact another police officer in a big coat. She came in, walked around quietly, and left. The children were quizzed about if they had seen anything unusual in the classroom, and then they were asked to provide a description of the ‘stranger’.
Finally, the police spoke about internet safety and making sure we know who we are communicating with, and our parents also know who we speak to online. We were made aware of age limits on social media sites and the need for these limits to protect us.
On Tuesday, we were visited by a lady who reminded us that it is not only people who need to be kept safe. She spoke and involved us in activities that made us think about looking after our pets, but also the wildlife around us. She gave us ideas of how to make our environment better for the creatures around us, and in doing so, ourselves.
On Thursday, we took part in a fantastic circus workshop to teach us to get on better with each other, to appreciate that we are all different and to celebrate those differences. The children were led through a scenario of conflict within the circus that could have potentially shut it down. They were asked to resolve the situation and think about how the performers could work together to make sure this intolerance would not happen again.
We are so lucky – we had more visitors this week, with more help to keep us safe. On Tuesday, the fire service sent two officers to speak to the children in Years 3 and 4. Their main message was 1) to test our smoke alarms at home and keep them well maintained and 2) to draw a plan of our home and think about escape routes if we did ever have a fire at home. The children were very knowledgeable, but also quick to listen and learn new things to help themselves and their families. I was very proud of the responsible way the children behaved and responded to quite a difficult subject.
Exciting stuff was going on in Year 3 and 4 on Friday. After having spent the term working on how to play tag rugby, and developing the skills involved in it, Years 3 & 4 had a tournament. The children were mixed in their house colours and played against each of the other houses. It was a fun morning for all the children and the adults refereeing. The children showed great sportsmanship and were a credit to their houses and to the school. Just over the course of the morning, I could see the realisation of the importance of being part of a team and the blossoming of considerate, thoughtful and strategic players. Thank you to all the players and referees who made it a fantastic and memorable event.
This week, we have been having so much fun learning about electricity and electrical circuits. We began the week thinking about what electrical appliances we use and how they are powered. On Tuesday, we started to investigate how circuits work. We built simple circuits with lights, motors and buzzers. The most useful part of this investigation was exploring why sometimes, our circuits didn’t work.
On Wednesday, we explored circuits further, by making series circuits and parallel circuits. The children came up with many interesting ideas and made many independent discoveries.
On Friday, the whole class made their own electrical switches out of a piece of card, two split pins and a paper clip. I was very impressed with the motivation and lack of assistance needed. All the children considered what they had to do carefully, and then went ahead and did it. Excellent work!
Continuing from last week, we started on Monday with science. We investigated whether a variety of materials were electrical conductors or insulators. We also explored whether the materials were attracted to a magnet or not, and tried to think if there was any connection between the two sets of results. We are becoming increasingly good at recording our work and discussing what it means.
This science work is now developing into a design and technology project, in which we are planning how we can use this knowledge to make a children’s game. The ideas are coming thick and fast. Well done Year 4.
In Art, the children have been finding out about the artist, Lowry. They have explored information texts and have written a fact file about him. The first step for us to create work in his style, is to explore the idea of perspective. The easiest way to do this is to draw 3-D shapes, which is exactly what they did this week. The concept of drawing what we see, on the face of it, seems obvious. Unfortunately, this is where most of us fail as artists – we draw what our brain tells us it looks like, rather than what our eyes actually see. The children were encouraged to make close observations – to trust their eyes and not their brain.
There is only a small step between drawing 3-D shapes and buildings, since a house is simply cuboids and triangular prisms joined together.
Over the next few weeks, the children will be building up images, one on top of another, in order to paint in the style of Lowry. I can’t wait to see the final results – I think they are going to be great!
OH MY WORD! You will not believe how clever your children are (or maybe you would). On Monday, they did the ‘making stage’ of their design and technology project. The criterion was to make a game which included at least one electrical circuit as part of it.
The children had previously done the research into their idea, planned their circuits and discussed how the game would be played. I had my reservations about some of the plans, but they listened to feedback and made modifications. Monday was the day of truth – would their ideas work?
The class produced 6 successful games that worked. These will hopefully still be available for you to see in their open class on Friday 1st March. Well done Year 4.
Even though it was a wet and windy day, the children had a lot of fun in P.E. They are learning about how to play football and building upon the skills they have already acquired. It was because it was windy that they were able to enjoy a training exercise with Mr Lester. The children wore a belt with a small parachute attached behind it. When they ran in the direction of the wind, the going was easy, but when they returned and ran into the wind, the parachute opened and it was much harder.There was definitely some muscle building going on.
We had a great day in Wisbech! The area we covered could be walked in a matter of 5 minutes but the history contained in that small area of land is incredible. We visited the birthplace of Octavia Hill, the great reformer and founder of the National Trust, we stood outside the school house that her father built which is now the Angles Theatre, we saw the Clarkson Memorial and discovered the impact he had on society at his time by helping to abolish slavery, and we got to see the original manuscript of Great Expectations which was written by Charles Dickens.
Hopefully, this has inspired some of the children to learn a little more about the history of our local area. It was a very enjoyable day, and Year 4 would like to thank all the adults who gave their time for free. Thank you!
The children have been working so hard this week. Over the last six weeks, they have produced the work for a spectacular assembly and put it together with little time, but great team work. We have examples of fabulous quality work in Science, English, Art and Topic – unfortunately we don’t have time to showcase more.
What can’t be appreciated in our assembly is the tenacious, determination being shown by the children to learn their times tables. All the children have been taking part and giving up 5 minutes of their lunch time each day, to do Tackling Tables tests on alternating weeks for the past few weeks. We are now beginning to see big improvement with more moving on and showing real progress in learning.
Keep up the good work Year 4, I am very proud of you.
Thursday was World Book Day. The children came in some great costumes and joined in, enthusiastically, with activities related to reading. At the beginning of the day, I shared one of my favourite books with the children, Little Miss Scatterbrain. Then, the children tried to persuade three other people to read their favourite book. Many books were discussed, and lots of the children said they felt inspired to read some of the books talked about.
On Friday, we had some shared reading of a couple of children’s work. These children read to the class the story they had written at the end of last week. All of the stories produced, showed big improvements compared to the beginning of the year. Well done Year 4.
This week was science week and to celebrate, we focused our attention mainly on science. It has been a week packed with science activities. We began our second phase of science for the term which is covering classification of living things, habitats and how changes in the environment affect living things. This was interesting, but the best science happened on Wednesday morning when we had a whole box of different science activities to do.
There were experiments measuring temperature in different places, building models of skeletons, matching animals to environments, making an electric fan to power a toy windmill, and other practical tasks. It was an exciting and fun packed morning where we got to try lots of different types of experiments.
The last two weeks have been a real test of our resolve in Year 4, and we have come out of the other side and survived! Yes, once again it has been time to learn about fractions. A daunting task, a mighty battle, there were many valiant attacks upon it, and we emerge victorious.
I am amazed, once more, at the bravery shown by these courageous children. They have faced fractions head on every morning – some even said they enjoyed it! I have seen a great deal of progress and some leaps in understanding, which just makes me love fractions even more. But with knowledge comes great power, children please use it with compassion and grace, and may the fractions be with you.
What a stroke of luck! On Tuesday, Year 4 took part in the Blue Planet Live Lesson. This has slotted in nicely with our science, looking at energy sources and the environment. We have been exploring the impact of our waste on the environment around us close by, and the programme allowed us to see what humanity is doing to the world as a whole. It was a beautiful and informative session which can be viewed again on BBC iPlayer. The children have been learning about their carbon footprint and how we could reduce waste in the classroom. I’m sure you may have heard about it at home too.