Energetic, Enthusiastic and Enterprising Year 5

Last term, we ended our work on Beowulf by writing our own version of the battle between Grendel and Beowulf. Since then, we have been reading the remaining two stories of Beowulf’s challenges with the sea-hag and dragon, and relishing the powerful vocabulary and superb alliteration contained within this ancient tale.


This term, we have begun looking at a picture book called ‘The Viewer’ by Gary Crew and Shaun Tan. It is a very dark tale which has enabled us to use our intense vocabulary and advanced punctuation to great effect. The book (so far) has made us think about our own opinions and feelings about the world in which we live in!

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In maths, we have all progressed rapidly. All the children have a formal method, which they can use quickly and easily to add, subtract, multiply and divide large numbers. This term, we have been concentrating on fractions and will be soon looking at decimals, fractions and percentages.

Thank you to the children for the amazing holiday homework on mountains they completed. The range of styles of presentation was great to see and the models outstanding. We have been learning about how mountains are formed whilst using our statistical knowledge to draw line and bar graphs of the climates (temperature, precipitation etc) of different mountains.

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R.E. has given us lots to discuss, as last term we thought about those who had faith and believed in Jesus versus those who did not. This term we have been learning about Simon Peter and his relationship to Jesus. Recently, we wrote to Jesus as Simon Peter, apologising for our lack of faith when we failed to pray for Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and denied him three times as he was arrested. Everyone wrote exceptionally insightful letters, using their knowledge of the bible. However, we all agreed that Hannah Bartholomew wrote an amazing letter to Jesus in role as Simon Peter. Well done, Hannah.

Our science lessons are always busy times. As a class, we thoroughly enjoy practical science so during our Earth and Space topic we made orreries to show the location and distance (not to scale) of the planets from the sun and models of the lunar cycle.



This term, we are investigating the properties and changes of materials. We began the topic by creating and investigating our own conductor and insulator questions, in groups. Many of the questions were based around how to keep a cup of tea warmest for longest. This is very important science! The experiments relied upon lots of different temperatures of tea measured using a data-logger and then interpreting results from the table and line graphs we created.



We are really looking forward to STEM week where we will be able to investigate other areas of science too.

Snow stops play!

Happy New Year and welcome back class 5 and your families.

We began the new term with a whole school science experiment. The penny boat challenge. Mrs Casewell challenged the school to see how many pennies we could get on a floating boat made from silver foil. Additionally, she challenged year 5 to explain the science behind floating and sinking and why our winning boat won. She chose us as we had just completed our science topic on forces.

Quickly, class 5 realised that the winning boat would need to have a large, flat surface area. Well done to the winner of the challenge in our class who was Elekwachi.

In assembly, a team of class 5 scientists reported back to the school that there were two forces acting on this science experiment. The first force was gravity. Gravity was trying to pull the tin foil and pennies downward. The second force was buoyancy or upthrust which was pushing the boat toward the surface. The team explained that the gravitational force was determined by the weight of the tin foil and the weight of the pennies in the boat whereas the force of buoyancy was the weight of the water displaced by the boat (this is the water that moves out of the way when you get into the bath!). We discovered that a boat full of pennies will continue to float as long as the force of buoyancy is greater than the force of gravity and you place the pennies carefully into the boat so it does not tip over or leak .Therefore, we found that the best design for an aluminum foil boat was to try to make it cover as much area as possible.


This term we are studying the poem Beowulf. We have written invitations to the opening of King Hrothgar’s new mead-hall, Heorot, and with a partner we have written and performed a news report of the slaughter of the Lords sleeping in the mead-hall by the vile monster Grendel. Every news report was written and delivered superbly. Unfortunately, the snow stopped us from voting for the best news report which I was going to video and add to my blog so watch this space to see our amazing news readers!

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Just a quick reminder, class 5 will be swimming every Tuesday (for 4 weeks) from 17th January so please remember your swimming kit. Our P.E. lessons this term are gym on Wednesday and Street Dance on Friday.

Christmas Pudding!

What an amazing term we have had in class 5. We have had a fun-packed term full of laughter and learning. I am very proud of every member of class 5 for working hard towards achieving their best. Well done everyone.

In literacy we studied the book Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick and finally last week we wrote a short story using suspense techniques. We are very able to add suspense to our writing but learning to write a short story that flows and hooks the reader has been more difficult. However, using our knowledge of the story and boxing it up into its component parts, we were all able to write some very good stories.

After all our work on place value, addition and subtraction, we have now moved onto multiplication and division. We regularly reason and problem solve and it is wonderful to see everyone looking for patterns, making predictions or trying ideas to see if they will work. Keep it up!

The last few weeks in RE, we have thought about homelessness in the Christmas story with Mary and Jesus having ‘no room at the Inn’ and being forced to flee to Egypt with baby Jesus and homelessness that we see around us. The class researched the subject and we have had many insightful discussions on the topic.

Finally, the highlights of this week have been the Christmas Pudding cake making and the superb KS2 Christmas carol concert.

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Have a lovely Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.



What an exciting start to the week! The whole school were treated to a magic assembly by Abracademy and then we (in two groups) were lucky enough to participate in a workshop to learn how to do and finally present a magic trick to an audience. We were astounded to discover how our tricks were performed – the opening matchbox and magic pen – and thoroughly enjoyed learning how to perform them and then presenting them to each other, to others on the playground and hopefully to you at home!


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Additionally, in English this week we wrote superb crime reports using formal language and varying our punctuation to include brackets, dashes and hyphens (where appropriate!) We investigated the theft of Zoe’s rowing boat in our book, Floodlands.

Meanwhile, in science we have continued our investigation of gears and this week used this knowledge to help us build a working model of, the popular fairground ride, the Big Wheel.



If anyone from class 5 is reading this blog can you see where I have used some of the punctuation we have discussed this week?


Gears, gears, gears!

It was lovely to see you all again this week at parents evening and share with you the progress of your children. Thank you all for coming.

The children have been very fortunate to have cycling lessons, last term and this term. Several children who could not cycle before have learnt to cycle and this is an amazing achievement and we are so proud of them. Everybody has thoroughly enjoyed these sessions and we would like to say thank you to Ollie for teaching us so many new skills, Mrs Neilson for accompanying us and Mrs Quirk for enabling us to access such an enjoyable sport. Over the past two weeks, we have all had the opportunity to ride the track at Sevenoaks Primary School and next week we are hoping to go to Samsara Bike Park.

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In science, we have been investigating gears and looking at how different sized gear wheels can change speed. Cycling has helped us see this in action!


Welcome back to term 2.

We began the week by looking at the opening of our new book, Floodlands by Marcus Sedgwick. We discovered that the opening paragraph is written as a description of the action taking place so we re-wrote it as the character using ‘show not tell’ to describe her. This week, we have been adding suspense to our writing through a mixture of long sentences for description and short sentences to create tension.

In maths, we are looking at strategies to add and subtract efficiently and quickly using estimation to check our work. Next week, we will begin thinking about formal methods for addition and subtraction.

Thank you to everyone for completing the homework on a scientist working in the area of forces. We had a mixture of PowerPoints, posters, fact files and even a science experiment! All the work was completed to a high standard and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our work and explaining what we had found out to each other.  647


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Next week, in science we will be looking at gears so if you get out on your bicycle at the weekend make sure you look at how the gears work!

Double Trouble.

What an amazing first term we have had in Year 5!

At last, Ernest Shackleton has reached the safety of the Whaling Station in South Georgia and been able to charter a ship to return to Elephant Island and rescue his crew. This week, we have written newspaper reports of this incredible rescue and the unbelievable tale of endurance and the strength of the human spirit. As a class, we have thoroughly enjoyed exploring this true story.

In maths, we have been using our reasoning skills to work out number combinations and patterns. We investigated a dartboard game called double trouble whereby we had to score exactly 350 to win but we had to finish the game on a double! Later in the week, we investigated a clapping game (Double double this this, double double that that) by substituting some of the words for numbers and finding the total for the game before we reversed the numbers. We found that if you always use consecutive numbers you can predict what the answer will be when the numbers chosen are reversed. Magic!

Today, we have begun to use our knowledge of forces to create an animal with a moving mouth based around our learning of levers and gears.

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Enjoy half term. Keep reading and learning your spellings and tables!

Levers vs Pulleys!

At the end of last week, the children worked in pairs to write a motivational speech as Ernest Shackleton. They had to encourage their crew to leave their precious belongings behind and set off across the ice and sea. Every speech was delivered with intonation and expression and persuaded the crew that they would survive if they believed in and followed their leader. Below are a few quotes taken from their well-written speeches:

Antarctica is harsh, cold and miserable. Nothing and no-one is going to help us so we need to help each other and believe in ourselves! We can do this! We will live! by Marley and Daniel.

Do you want to die knowing you didn’t try or survive knowing you worked really hard? Would you rather keep your possessions and die or leave them and survive? You have a debit of weight. Take what you need and leave the rest. We will survive no matter what! by Ethan, Oliver and Kayla.

I know it is miserable right now with the boat sinking and the dogs all dead but it is not all bad because we are survivors. We will survive if we keep trying. We have walked so far so do not give up now. We need to live our lives to the full. We can survive everything that comes our way! by Gracie and Tia.

This week, we have at last reached Elephant Island after a terrible journey across the sea in an open-topped lifeboat. The children wrote amazingly insightful diary accounts of the terrible journey to Elephant Island and their subsequent living conditions, whilst expressing how they felt about Ernest Shackleton leaving them behind on his desperate mission to reach civilisation and rescue for them all. Will they be rescued? Will they be able to survive until rescue?

In maths, we have been using our addition skills to add and subtract mentally using different strategies. These will help us to add and subtract large numbers efficiently as we move on to more formal methods.

In science, we have continued our mission to recover the crashed meteorite. We were given planks of wood, oil cans and rope and tasked with finding a way to lift the heavy meteorite efficiently. Last week, we investigated (on a smaller scale) levers and this week we experimented with two different pulley systems – a fixed pulley and a block and tackle pulley system. We found that the block and tackle pulley system was the best use of the items we were given to lift the meteorite easily and efficiently.

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Inspirational Illustrator

On Monday, Class 6 and Class 5 were both incredibly lucky to attend a talk from a professional author and illustrator, William Grill. Class 5 have been studying his book in their Literacy lessons and Class 6 were very grateful for informing them of the details of his book before they went to meet him.

He told us all about the importance of perseverance and how the only way you can ever know that you’ve truly succeeded is if you’ve experience failure at some point before. Mr.Grill was very positive about the fact that “failures” shouldn’t be seen as negative experiences, but something to learn from and strive to succeed.

Some of us were incredibly lucky and were able to flick through one of his many sketch books; we were fascinated that he was so willing for hundreds of children to flick through his plans, drafts and “bad drawings” as he called them.


A very open, honest, inspiring speaker, William Grill has hopefully succeeded in his intentions of inspiring St.John’s Upper Key Stage 2 to “have a go”. Stop worrying about getting things wrong and failing at your first attempt, just remember to always try your best.

Let’s see if we can spot Class 5 & 6 doing that in the future!

Parachutes, Tudors and Ballet!

Further to our mission, we decided as a class to investigate which sized parachute would enable the scientific recovery team to have a safe and controlled descent (see last weeks blog for more details). After carrying out the investigation, Elsebeth explained “The size of the parachute changes the amount of air resistance and the air resistance controls the speed of the parachute’s descent.”


Another interesting fact we discovered, was that a small hole in the centre of the parachute stopped the parachute from spinning as it fell. Therefore, making the parachute easier to control!

On Monday, we visited Knole House. Thank you to all the adult helpers who came with us. Your help was very much appreciated.

In the morning, we enjoyed a tour of the house. We saw lots of artefacts from Tudor times and looked at the portraits of Henry VIII, Elizabeth and Mary in the long gallery. We also got to see a dumbbell which the men used to exercise their sword arm! Additionally, everyone dressed up in Tudor costume and learnt about who would have worn the clothes and the types of jobs they would have undertaken within the house.

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After lunch, we were introduced to conservation at Knole House and had a chance to make our own bug and light traps before handling and discussing the uses of replica Tudor artefacts.

Everyone enjoyed the day and wrote amazing recounts of their trip on Tuesday.

Class 5 were very lucky to enjoy another trip this week when they visited the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden to watch the ballet.

What an interesting week we have had!