AH!! So there’s the pond!

I thought I’d share the wonderful news that our pond has been revamped this week. Whilst we were all cheering on our children on Sports day, a team of volunteers led by North West Kent Countryside Partnership were busily tidying and rejuvenating our pond area. Upon arrival, the pond (although hard to spot the actual pond) looked like this:

In year 4, the children, as part of their Science topic and literacy lesson wrote persuasive letters to Mrs Quirk on the advantages  having a pond and the detrimental effect not having it any longer would have on our school environment. They must have been very persuasive, as this is what the pond area now looks like:

In addition to the pond work, they installed a fabulous new composting area and cleared nettles and brambles around the bug hotels, making them more accessible to the children. Through the day, they discovered plenty of tools that the chidlren can now use to help maintain this area.

I am so excited to hear that years 2,4 and 5 are planning to visit this area within the next few weeks as part of their science learning and I know that it will be well utilised in future to support classroom learning.

Thank you to those who helped and made it possible.

 

 

 

 

MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK

On Saturday, we were delighted to be able to install our new science trail with the help of North West Kent Countryside Project. The trail was installed in no time at all thanks to the many parents and staff who generously donated their time to help. We had some amazing hole diggers and superb power tool users too! Thank you so much for helping us.

Because the trail was installed so swiftly, we set about clearing and tidying the school gardens and wildlife area which are now looking fabulous.

Many thanks to all who helped on the day and to those who have offered to help in future too! It really does show that “many hands make light work”.

What a super surprise

This week, we returned to school after the Easter break greeted by beautiful Spring/Summer weather. Not only that, we have discovered ( much to our delight) that we have eggs in one of our nesting boxes. Some Blue Tits have decided that Sophia’s bird box would be the perfect place to lay their eggs. Over the holidays, whilst the school was peaceful, they have done exactly that! There are now eight  tiny spotted eggs in a cosy nest. We are so excited to see what happens and it is very tempting to peek inside the box but we are doing our best to resist  temptation and hoping that all is well and that the eggs will hatch soon. We wait in anticipation. Here is a sneak peek inside:

I wonder if anyone knows how long they will take to hatch?

Do you know how long they will stay in the birdbox for after they hatch?

Let me know what you find out.

Year 5 STEM club – term 4

As 2018 is the Year of Engineering, Science Club became a STEM club this term with an engineering focus. Twelve lucky Year 5 children have used their STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills over the course of the term to tackle several engineering challenges.

Firstly, using their design skills they created trebuchets, investigating whether lighter or heavier objects travelled the furthest. Additionally, they explored the angle ( created by increasing the height by usin more lollipop sticks) of the launch and how this affected the distance travelled.

Isabelle: ” We tested whether putting a spoon on the end worked better than without”

In subsequent weeks, they explored packaging and designed and made packaging to transport a single Pringle to Anthony Roper in the “Pringle Challenge”. We are all looking forward to hearing back from them to see whose design protected the crisp the best.

They then were set the challenge to build a balloon powered car.

Olan: ” We worked out that we needed to ensure the car was not too big for the power generated by the inflated balloon.”
Isaac: ” We learnt the vehicle needed to be well-balanced and aerodynamic”

In the Dyson Marble Run challenge, they set about making a marble run using boxes and cardboard. The easiest part was creating the run; the hardest part was meeting the time challenge of 30 seconds.  Ben : ” The less of the angle on the slope  the slower the marble runs.  The steeper the angle, the quicker the run.”

Emily: “It was great to be able to design and build lots of interesting and different things” 

Harvey: ” I  enjoyed the STEM club more than  I thought. I liked doing the engineering a lot more than than the physics and chemistry because we were able to make lots of things.”  

MISSION TO MARS

On Wednesday, Year 3, 4 and 5 had a special treat when Jo Fox from the UK SPACE AGENCY visited to teach us about the use of robotics in space, and in particular, missions to Mars.  We were delighted to be entertained by her NAO robot and even had a go at giving NAO an algorithm to instruct her to perform a sequence of actions. To our astonishment, our demonstration was interrupted by an incoming SKYPE call from the Space Agency needing us to help with their mission to Mars! We used our knowledge of co -ordinates to find a safe spot to land on the planet, negotiated our way through “Marsquakes”  to find evidence of life on Mars, and helped to construct safe housing pods.  Mission complete!

Year 5 were fortunate to be able to attend a further workshop in which they built Mars Rovers, and learned to program them using iPads.

The workshop was so awesome! I  have never made a rover before and we got it to move across the hall floor using coding on the iPads.

This was a real treat with lots of learning, inspiring children to choose careers in the space industry. I am certain that many of the children watching this demonstration will indeed become engineers, programmers, architects and work in this field in future, given their level of enthusiasm and engagement today. An excellent workshop!

BIRD WEEK TWEETS!

WOW! What an amazing week the children have had. Here is a quick summary of some of the week’s learning with a few photos. There are several AMAZING display boards around the school showcasing what we have learnt. Do try to have a look.

Reception focused their learning on the text “Owl Babies” and produced some gorgeous collage artwork.

Year 1 had a busy week, using the text “Some Birds” and explored adjectives and verbs producing both individual and class poems. They made Cheerio bird feeders to help with their counting, used pointillism painting techniques to create colourful birds and made their own bird books.

Year 2 created  extravagant parrots, using their hands to make the tail feathers practising their 5x table along the way and in maths presented data in charts.

Year 3 took their Big School Bird Watch very seriously indeed. Armed with binoculars, blankets and their surveys they headed outdoors to count the birds in our school grounds. Additionally, they made cute  feathered sparrows.

Year 4 and 6 combined to take on “The Battle of the Beaks” in which they investigated  beak adaptations and found out which beak was best suited to which food type.  Year 4 continued their  bird learning through playing Top Trumps, Bird Bingo, doing the RSPB survey, data handling and Tangrams in maths. We were surprised midweek, when Year 1’s visited to “tickle” us with their tickle feathers to see where Year 4’s were” tickliest” as part of their science work on senses. 

Year 5’s investigated bird beaks; created artwork using collage materials based on the images in Some Birds and they wrote poetry to accompany it. 

The Year 6 class, as well as doing the beak investigation, took the book “SHHHH, We Have a Plan” and created their own versions on the iPads.  

Wednesday was a highlight when Alan, from Eagle Heights, visited to show the children his birds of prey. This was a  fabulous experience for the children! The photos will be available early in the new term if you ordered one.

It has been a wonderful week of learning, through which I hope the children will be more aware of the birds and help to care for and protect them. I have absolutely loved all the fun facts the children have shared with me in the corridors as well as the  egg-cellent” jokes and additional homework the children have undertaken. A great week!

Thank you for taking part in the Garden Bird surveys and for being actively involved.

 

 

 

COUNTDOWN TO BIRD WEEK

It is not long now before we commence our fun learning during BIRD WEEK. The children will be involved in many cross curricular activities ranging from creating birds in art, doing surveys and producing graphs, writing bird poems, stories and fact files and I am sure the highlight of the week will be the visit from EAGLE HEIGHTS.

Meanwhile, we are working hard to encourage as many birds to visit our school with the our wonderful array of new bird feeders. Thank you to everyone who has made one. I was delighted to see so many entries. The winners will be announced next week.

Thank you also to the families who did the Big Garden Birdwatch survey last weekend. I will be sending your sightings off to the RSPB which will help them with their very important research.  Next week, we will be surveying the birds that visit St Johns too!

Children in Year 4 and 6 were invited to  write fact files about some of the  birds they saw in their gardens. Their work is beautiful and is now on display between in the corridor between Year 4 and 6.  

On a lighter note: next week we would love the children to bring in some of their funniest birdie jokes to add to our ” Egg-cellent yolks wall”. Teachers will be adding their “cracking” jokes too! Egg-stremely funny jokes will  be egg-statically received.

 

Night at the Science Museum 2017

Ten very lucky children,accompanied by Mrs Grimble and Mrs Casewell, attended the Sleepover at the Science Museum event in London. What an exciting venue to have a sleepover and a fabulous experience for all science lovers!

The evening began with us preparing our beds in our cosy “pod”, followed by workshops. Firstly, we did a treaure trail using ipads. We learned lots about innovation in calculating machines over the decades!

The children were entertained by Zoolab, who brought in different creatures for the children to handle, linking science with maths using the Fibbonaci sequence. Did you know that cockroaches have 2 brains? They can survive almost anything!

We made colour changing night lights which looked spectacular dotted around the gallery whilst children slept.  Finally, 11pm came and we headed to bed exhausted.
After an early wake up call, we headed to breakfast, followed by an IMAX experience and then a session in the hands on exploration zone.

This was my personal favourite! The children learned as they explored different concepts, from light and sound, to forces. We watched as lighting was produced inside and children did some mathematical thinking too (Mrs Grimble even got hands on!)

The children were exceptionally well behaved and a true credit to St Johns. I hope this experience is something they will rememember fondly in years to come and perhaps it will spark in them a desire to learn more, and perhaps be a scientist of the future!

 

 

 

 

SEVENOAKS IN BLOOM

Before the summer holidays, we entered the Sevenoaks in Bloom Wheelbarrow challenge.Many of you may have seen it when dropping off or collecting children.
A wheelbarrow was decorated in school colours and planted by Gardening Club pupils and Class 4C. The theme of ‘plants used in medicine’ reflected our school focus on Science.
On Monday 9th October 2017 , Sevenoaks Mayor, Cllr Maxine Chakowa, presented us with a Certificate of Excellence and trophy (displayed in the main corridor). A huge achievement by all involved.