wriggly workshop

To end our learning about animals Year 1 were treated to a visit from a Zoolab animal expert today. We were all really excited to find out what we were going to meet…

During our learning session we touched Simba, the giant African lands snail. We learned that it had two noses, teeth on its tongue and could grow up to the size of a football! We correctly worked out that it was a  herbivore.


Next we met Dory, a beautiful Madagascan hissing cockroach. Maxwell said that it was ‘smooth and bumpy’ as it had its armour on the outside, rather than bones on the inside. We were amazed to find out that it was fire-proof and would survive in ice for up to two months. It would also live without its head for ten days du to having two brains, one in its head and one  in its bottom!


Our third visitor was a creature that had a sting in its tail and luckily stayed in the tank, an Asian forest scorpion called Olaf. We were not allowed to touch it in case it pinched our finger with its enormous claws.


Our final one was a furry mammal called Blueberry. She was a beautiful grey rat who was incredibly tame. Despite having a bad reputation we learned that they are actually very clean animals, using their paws to wash all over four times each hour.


It was great to see these animals up close and to apply our scientific knowledge from last term.


This term our new topic is called ‘Up, Up and Away’, and is about flying and materials. We have lots of exciting investigations to complete involving paper planes, kites and helicopters.

Discovery Zone

Have you ever delved yourself into the enchanting world of science? The Discovery Zone was just the beginning.

Year 6: engaged, educated and beguiled the pupils and parents of St. John’s Primary School. We (Class 6) were split into many groups of two – except for the Static Station who were in a four – and prepared our investigation.

After practising, we set up our interesting station and let the children swarm into the hall and capture their scientific imagination. They experimented with: Oobleck, giant bubbles, laughing buckets and optical illusions.

In conclusion, the Discovery Zone was a great scientific success and STEM week hopefully will carry on like this.


Freya Williams, Class 6.


The small hall was once again transformed into a “magical” laboratory  with the first eager scientists in Year 3 attending a  chemistry workshop in which they explored reactions through making bath bombs!  There was great excitement as they observed fizzy reactions in the production process. I must say that they were excellent at listening to instructions, following the laboratory rules and measured their liquids carefully so as to avoid too much fizz, making their bath bombs react too soon. Well done Year 3. You were a pleasure to teach.

Next, Year 2 visited the lab and for  their “Fizzy potion” workshop. Again exploring reactions between substances. They observed a bottle inflate a balloon! Not magic! Just science! Inside the balloon was a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and in the bottle was vinegar, so once the bicarbonate of soda fell into the vinegar it reacted producing fizz and carbon dioxide which then inflated the balloon. We observed what happened when vinegar was added to bicarbonate of soda, food colouring making colourful erupting potions. We then investigated whether bicarbonate of soda would react in this way with all liquids. No, it doesn’t; only with acidic ones, for example lemon juice and lemonade. Alkaline substances did not produce fizzy results at all.

Lastly, Year 5  attended the workshop led by Mrs Grimble and Mrs Casewell, and explored acids and alkalis, investigating colour changes in different liquids. They were amazed by the “magic” water colour changing trick and were challenged to work out how it was done. They used a ph scale to work out whether liquids were strong or weak alkalis and acids.

That, sadly was the end of STEM week which closed with a celebratory assembly ( pictures to follow)



Static Science

On Tuesday 14th March, the Discovery Zone came to St. John’s. Have you ever wanted to step inside a giant bubble? To make a bucket laugh? To make metal balls bounce without touching them? Well then, the Discovery Zone is for you!

For Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics week (STEM week) Year 6: engaged, educated and enthused the pupils of St. John’s CEP school with their science experiments. We – Class 6 – beguiled people with our fun and interesting science experiments.

I was placed in a group with three potential scientists: Jessica, Paddy and Olivia. After previously practising, we were ready to perform our experiments to the classes as they entered the mystical Discovery Zone. Floods of energetic people came over to our table, thrilled by the prospect of making objects move without touching them. The air was damp and because lots of people were crammed into one hall, our Static Station was quite temperamental.

All around the hall, people were learning about science and discovering different stations that held an equal amount of excitement as the last. St. John’s pupils loved the Discovery Zone in STEM week and this will hopefully lead them to pursue a career in science.

Grace Anderson, Class 6.


Today presented the opportunity to put the E and T in STEM with the children across  the school  participating in Engineering projects and Technology lessons.

There was great excitement in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 as they had a mystery visitor, GENETIC JAN from Sublime Science, who ran a spectacular workshop in the Year 2 classroom. The children were dazzled by smoke rings, sound tubes, exploding  soda rockets, tornadoes in bottles and much many! They even got to make their very own pot of gooey slime.

In addition to this, Miss Allen, Miss Prendergast and Mrs Temp planned a carousel of activities.  In the Reception classroom, the children observed patterns made by skittles in water, they created lava lamps and made an exploding coke geyser outside. Throughout these, the children were developing their “working scientifically” skills; observation, explaining,  pattern-spotting and most importantly questioning. SO many wonderful questions were asked,  “I wonder what would happen if….? Why does this happen? What makes it work?”

In the Year 1 clayear 1 3ssroom, the children set about solving a tricky problem for Winnie the Witch and Harry Potter, who were not happy travelling on a broomstick. There are far too many disadvantages to broomstick travel, for instance: broomsticks get blown about on windy days; you get very,very wet if it rains; and wood tends to rot over time. Miss Temp asked the children to design and build a new, more efficient means to travel for poor Winnie and Harry. Using Knex and other construction kits the children set about solving this engineering challenge.

That’s only Key Stage 1 and also, only the morning!!!!

Children in Years 3 and 4 took on the St John’s KNEX Challenge, supported by our STEM Ambassador , Nicola Shepperd. They were asked to design and build a vehicle that would travel the furthest distance down a ramp. Although seemingly simple, the challenge was more about how to work in a team, how to cooperate and include all  team members, being resilient and flexible. It was interesting how different classes worked to tackle the problem.

4C knex

Children across the school were taught by Miss Barrow, our ICT specialist, who brought in new technology. She showed the children what computers look like inside, introduced them to Makey Makey, lego robotics and pivot stick animator. Wow! Did you know you could play the piano on bananas? Did you know that you could programme a lego crocodile with a sensor to open and close its mouth when it senses a finger nearby?

4C knex 3

A busy day for all and more to come tomorrow. Once again, photos will be added at the end of the week.



Day 2 STEM

“I wonder what we be doing today in STEM week?”This was the question posed this morning in 4C and probably across the school as children arrived to see the Discovery Zone set up in the hall. Our wonderful Year 6 pupils will write a detailed blog about this exciting highlight of the day, however I will quickly tell you more about the STEM learning around thedis year 4 school.

mrs truman giant bubbledis year 3 4dis year 3 3

Mrs Silvester led a PE session with a science and maths twist, looking at what happens to our bodies when we exercise, measuring pulse rates and looking at lung expansion. The children even did a bit of Yoga at the end of their lesson to calm their heart rates after vigorous exercise.year 5 pe 4

Additionally, our student teachers, under the guidance of Mrs Gilhoulley (our maths specialist) led maths workshops throughout the school. Children played a variety of maths games that included Fizz Bang,  time tables dominoes, fraction snap, Yahtzee and Top Trumps  to name but a few. Thank you to the students and Mrs Gilhoulley for putting the M in STEM!year 4 mm 2

I know in Year 3 and 5 the children began investigating fingerprints, trying to identify the patterns on their fingers and match fingerprints to a suspect who had stolen a golden coin! We look forward to them concluding their investigation to find out who stole the coin.

finger printing

Throughout the day children visited the Discovery Zone, ably led by the Year 6 pupils.Pictures of the day to follow. Keep up to date with all the latest news and pictures from STEM week by checking the blog tomorrow.

mrs truman giant bubbledis parents 3dis parents 5

Day 3 …… what will  happen tomorrow????









The long-awaited STEM week kicked off this morning with an “explosive” start, led brilliantly by John Gordon-Reid. The children were dazzled and amazed by his magical science show, in which he made water mysteriously disappear, a ten pound note appear to burn but survive intact and his colour changing flames.  We learnt that different metals produce different colour flames; copper burns blue, magnesium burns blinding white and strontium burns a brilliant red.

We observed chemical reactions in elephant toothpaste that appeared that it would never stop erupting out of the bottle.  The highlight for many children were the luminous goblets that glowed when peroxide was added, as well as Mrs Quirk exploding a hydrogen balloon.

What an amazing show it was, concluding with a standing ovation. And that was just the start of the first day.assembly 2ndassembly 14th

Year 5 and 6 continued their learning through a carousel of activities led by John and the teachers. These included exploring forces sucking up Maltesers through straws, sticking a skewer through a balloon without it exploding, the expanding marshmallow and many more.

Year 6 JGRYear 6 JGR 6

Throughout the day children were engaged in their usual Spanish and music lessons- each with a science twist. Children in KS2  learnt about solar system in Spanish. Impressive indeed!

Miss Marsh and her musical team  taught music with a science twist. KS1 explored sounds through making shakers using different sized beans and Year 4 learnt more about the science of the instruments they play. Mr Fish even played a tune on a hosepipe and amplified the sound using a funnel. All very interesting, educational and entertaining!

Mrs Marsh musicMr Fish music

Please do ask your children about their exciting day. Day 2 has more to offer. Read about it tomorrow!




Sensational Science at Sevenoaks!

Report from our Science Ambassadors

Yesterday the Science Ambassadors went to Sevenoaks School for a science morning; it was great fun. The first show was about fireworks with Matthew Tosh. Kayla’s favourite part of the day was the sonic boom. The vibration was so weird and cool at the same time. Daniel’s favourite part was the sonic boom too and the fountain firework. It was a-ma-zing! To make a huge firework – that you’re not allowed to look at – you would need flash powder. To make colours you need different types of metal.

Between the first show and the second show there were drinks and biscuits. YUM! The juices were lemon and orange squash. There were plain biscuits and some that had nuts, sugar, chocolate chips and raisins.

The second half of the show was about what’s in water? We laughed at the wet head game when they played sink or float.

We had so much fun. Thank you Mrs Casewell for giving us this fabulous science experience.

Kayla and Daniel – Year 5 Science Ambassadors

Science Club (Week 1) Year 5 and 6

Today my very helpful and eager science club members planned and tested out some science activities for KS1 to experience in STEM week. The activities are all “top secret” but we have shown you just one investigation picture to whet your appetites.

We planned next week’s science club activity and to prepare for this we each need a regular empty Pringles tube and a small plastic bottle. If you have any of these lying around at home, please send it to 4C.


Casewell’s Orrery Creations

In Year 5 today, together with Mrs Casewell, we learned more about our solar system, comparing the geocentric and heliocentric models. What a busy morning of learning it was. We created a  “heliocentric” model solar system using balls, fruit and grains to show the relative sizes of each planet and their orbits around the sun. Additionally, we used this website http://www.theplanetstoday.com/ to have a live look at our solar system. Why don’t  you have a look at home too.

It took all morning to make our orreries in groups of 3 and they are now proudly displayed in the classroom. I have to say it was a real pleasure and a treat to teach Year 5 today. The children showed enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, worked cooperatively in groups and demonstrated their best learning behaviour. Well done Year 5!