Academic Year 2019-2020
In geography, we have been researching California’s rich history and development. We have learnt about the history of the Pony Express, the Transcontinental Railroad, industry and agriculture as well as Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Disneyland and the major cities and tourist attractions in California. Using our research we were able to explain why there was a boom of migration to California before it officially became a state and why it is still a popular destination for residents and tourists.
In English, we have started our new unit: journalistic writing. We turned detective to hunt down the features of journalistic writing in newspapers. We managed to identify many of the features by ourselves and generated a comprehensive list.
In science, we have started our new topic: light. We have been learning about how light travels. We designed our own investigation to prove that light travels in straight lines and to discover what materials allow/block the passage of light. We began by experimenting with torches and materials. After this, we refined our ideas and designed a formal investigation. Finally, we carried out our investigation.
We have been learning about the history of California. In this session we learnt about the Gold Rush in 1848. In groups, we re-enacted four scenarios :
1. James Marshall and John Sutter finding gold;
2. People from the east reading news about the discovery;
3. People journeying to California along one of the treacherous routes;
4. Miners digging and panning for gold under the harsh Californian sun.
Each group rehearsed a freeze-frame or short play and performed it with a narrator to the rest of the class.
In science this week, we have been investigating how yeast works to make bread rise. We were given some yeast, sugar, balloons, warm water and measuring cylinders. We decided to make our variables the amount of sugar and yeast we used but kept the amount of water and the measuring cylinder the same to make the test fair. We found the best conditions for yeast to work were when a packet of yeast was mixed with the water and two teaspoons of sugar. We discovered that the measuring cylinders were a little small so conducted a fourth experiment with a larger bottle containing warm water, two teaspoons of sugar and a packet of yeast. The measuring cylinders containing sugar, yeast and warm water all inflated. The ones with more sugar and yeast inflated at a quicker rate than the others. During the experiment, we noticed the bubbles created in the measuring cylinders caused by the reaction between the contents. Our conclusion was that yeast must react with the sugar content of dough and warmth to make bread rise.
In Science we have been learning about microorganisms, particularly bacteria (also called germs). We have been investigating how bacteria spreads using glitter as our ‘germ’. Each child had glitter sprinkled on their hand to represent the catching of a sneeze in their hands. After this, all children washed their hands in the way they normally would. We tracked the spread of the germs around the classroom and Year 6 building. Between children ‘sneezing’ and washing their hands, germs had already spread to their tables, door handles, doors, books, watches and their chairs. Even after washing hands in the way they normally would, some germs remained on hands and spread further to other equipment they used in the session. We learnt more about the importance of the ‘Catch it, Kill it, Bin it’ campaign against germs and watched a video that showed the importance of a thorough hand wash with soap before eating to ensure bacteria are removed. Some members of the class have been very germ-conscious since this experiment!
The PTFA have kindly donated new books to each class in the school. In order to familiarise themselves with the new books soon to join their bookshelves, Class 13 have been ‘speed dating’ with books. They were given five minutes to spend with six of these new books and then ranked them by order in which they would most like to read them. There are lots of lovely new titles and something to appeal to everyone – Class 13 are desperate to get reading! Thank you to the PTFA.
Class 13 have been working tirelessly to crack secret codes crucial to the war effort! We have been learning about the vital work of Alan Turing and other code-breakers who worked at Bletchley Park during WWII. The Enigma machine and how it helped crack secret German codes during the war fascinated us.
We made our own machines and cracked some codes before making our own codes for others to crack. We set our code-crackers to different settings each time we wrote a new code so that it couldn’t be guessed easily!
Fleet Airm Arm Museum
On Thursday 17th October, we visited the Fleet Air Arm Museum. The children dressed as World War Two evacuees for the day. During our visit, we took part in two workshops – one about rationing and one about The Battle of Britain. Both were fascinating and so engaging! We were able to be ‘hands-on’ and examine real artefacts.
In the rationing workshop, we planned a week’s menu for our teacher. We had to weigh our ingredients and spend our meat ration money wisely so it would last a whole week. Each group had a different focus: breakfast, lunch, dinner, celebrations and, most importantly, tea! We were tasked with planning seven lots of meals, a celebration cake for a birthday and how many cups of tea one person could have a week. Groups had to negotiate with each other too – the breakfast group had the whole milk ration for the week.
We also learnt about how Britain triumphed over Germany in The Battle of Britain. We discovered that this was a team effort and how all the parts worked together to make the British campaign a success. We researched and interrogated real artefacts, maps, the ‘roll of honour’ and saw demonstrations of how the command structure and radar system worked.
Finally, we toured the museum with a knowledgeable guide who told us about the planes that were involved in the war and how technology and manufacture advanced in such a short period of time to change the design and speed of them to keep up with the requirements of warfare.
We had a fantastic day! The learning centre team at the museum were extremely impressed by the attitude and behaviour of all the children who visited. They commented that they asked intelligent and thoughtful questions, worked well together and were completely engaged in what they were doing. Well done, Year 6!
History - Gas Masks
In Class 13, we have been continuing our history topic by researching how and why gas masks were used during World War Two. Children spent time undertaking their research at four ‘information stations’; they discovered how propaganda was used, studied real gas masks, researched the different purposes of gas masks and independently researched interesting facts about gas masks.
Living Things and Their Habitats
As part of our ‘Living things and their habitats’ unit in science, we have been learning about the work of Carl Linnaeus who developed the taxonomy for the classification of all living things. We have been learning about the six kingdoms of all living things and learning some challenging vocabulary along the way! To help us remember the six kingdoms and the difficult words, we made wheel spinners to test our friends. Once you have spun the arrow on the front of the wheel, you have to tell your partner a fact about that kingdom. Finally, you can lift the flap to check your answer.
In computing, we have started out first programming unit. We will be creating our own quiz games for our World War Two topic. During the first part of the unit, we are creating times table quiz games to test and refresh our programming skills. Initially, we mastered the basic programming for a question and response e.g. 7 x 6 = 42.
After this, we learned some new skills that enabled us to generate a random question, repeat this for a given number of ‘goes’ and add a score for a correct answer/remove a score for an incorrect answer. Next session, we plan to make the game more visually appealing and our challenge is to add programming for an additional player.
We have been discovering more about what life was like in Britain during World War Two. This week, we have been learning about the different types of air raid shelters used during the war. The two types of shelter we have been researching are Morrison shelters
and Anderson shelters. We were most surprised to learn that people had to build their own shelters and some had as many as 350 parts to assemble. Fortunately, the model Anderson shelters we made were slightly easier.
World War Two
In Year 6 this week, we have been learning about the events that occurred leading up to the beginning of World War Two. We listened to Neville Chamberlain’s infamous declaration of war speech and then had a go at writing our own. We practised ‘performing’ our speeches and then recorded them. Some of us got the giggles whilst trying to impersonate Chamberlain’s ‘received pronunciation’ accent!
Following this, we also had a lively discussion about whether war was the only option for Britain in 1939.
In science, we have been learning about the seven life processes of all living things. We searched our school grounds to find evidence of living things within them. In groups, we selected three separate areas to search and recorded our findings in photos, sketches, rubbings and pictograms. We discovered lots of creepy crawlies in the Forest School area but found it more difficult to find evidence of living things on the playground.
Following on from our investigation of living things in the school environment, we have been thinking about how we distinguish different types of living things from each other. We thought broadly to begin with but then tried to narrow down our ‘groups’. We learnt that living things are classified into groups based on similar characteristics. We all were given a living thing to ‘be’ and we had to sort ourselves into groups. To begin with, we organised ourselves based on the number of legs we had. After that, we tried to narrow down our categories to make smaller groups e.g. birds, fish, insects, mammals. We discussed how mammals can also be classified within that larger group, for example with the ‘cat family’. Our cat family included a lion, panther and tabby cat. Although all of these are cats, we realised that there were still a lot of differences between them, including their shape/size, habitat, appearance. We ended our lesson by posing a question for next session: How do scientists classify living things so that they can be easily distinguished?
ACADEMIC YEAR 2018-2019
Year 6 Prom
Our year 6 leavers prom was held during the last week of term, where the children dressed in their finest outfits and danced the night away to celebrate their last few days at school. We wish them the best of luck at their secondary schools in September.
Class 13 & 14 were really lucky to have Lt Cdr Hollingsworth explain the different roles of the Royal Navy. She explained that her role is like the headteacher of a school, but that her students are the fighter pilots who fly all of the noisy jets around Yeovil.
Ellie told us about the exciting career opportunities that can be found within the Navy. She explained that when onboard a ship everyone is on duty all of the time, but that they get good holidays when they return. Life onboard a ship is like being in a village - lots of different people are needed to provide all that the sailors need during their time (chefs, doctors, chaplains, mechanics, engineers, postal workers, to name but a few).
Fleet Air Arm Museum Trip 16.1.2019 (Or should that read 16.1.1939)
We enjoyed a really interesting day at the Fleet Air Arm Museum on Wednesday! Our teachers (and our hosts at the museum) were delighted with the effort everyone had made to dress as World War 2 evacuees – we really looked the part! When we arrived, we met Stuart, our guide for the day (and Gemma’s grandad!). He outlined the day ahead of us before sending us to our first workshop about wartime rationing.
Working in groups, we explored the range of foods available to us in 1939 (no ready meals!) and were tasked with planning a week’s menu for one of our teachers. We chose Mrs. Moss, who took a day off from maternity leave to join us – she must being missing us! Each table group had to plan one aspect of the menu, which included breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and a birthday cake (very tricky with rationing in place; only one fresh egg a week was allowed – imagine!). In order to successfully complete the task, we had to negotiate food swaps with other tables as the food allowances were often very small, e.g. 2oz of cheese a week, and make sure we didn’t run out of money! Within the hour, however, we devised a menu of which to be proud – Mrs. Moss wasn’t going to starve! She would enjoy bread and dripping, curried kidneys, rabbit stew, liver and cabbage… You’d have thought her face would have shown more gratitude for such a nutritious diet, especially when we chose her as a thank you for joining us! She was, however, delighted with the birthday cake even though it looked like something that might have come out of Mrs. Fossey’s oven – flat as a pancake! She knew it had taken a lot of our week’s rations to bake it.
The Battle of Britain
Our second workshop involved working in teams to investigate different aspects of the Battle of Britain. We used documents and artefacts to solve puzzles and learn about what actually happened. We explored pilots’ experiences, women’s roles, propaganda and much more! Did you know that Britain was very close to losing the war even though our armed forces were doing an amazing job? Mr. Churchill was extremely worried! Thank goodness the USA came to our aid! Once we gained supremacy in the skies, we also gained the upper hand.
After lunch, we split into groups and enjoyed a tour of the museum, including the aircraft carrier experience. All too soon, it was time to leave for home. What a great day we had had though!
World War II Pick & Mix Homework
We have had a lovely afternoon sharing our ‘Pick & Mix’ homework with each other.
There were cakes, biscuits, board games, poems, cards, posters, a story and a toy, all with a wartime theme. You’ve all been working hard on this creative task and should be proud of your efforts. Thanks to all the parents (and in some cases grandparents) for their support.
Year 6’s trip to the SSDC offices.
On Wednesday 10th October we visited the South Somerset District Council offices as part of our ‘British Values curriculum. We found out about all the diiferent ways the council help our community.
In our House teams we prepared proposals for a new leisure facility for the town. We then learnt about the voted process before voting for the proposal we liked best.
Come and see our display in the main school corridor.