Happy Easter and messages of hope from Key Stage 2
Please see your child’s Google classroom page for Easter wishes from our younger children!
Hello nature explorers – it is going to be very chilly this week which is perfect for investigating ice. You will need to wrap up warm and wear extra thick woolly socks, a hat and gloves. Ice is so exciting to explore! Here are some of my favourite activities to get you started.
A winter wander
Even a light frost creates amazing ice crystal patterns in frozen puddles and on windows. How many different patterns can you find? Look for frozen clouds, fern frost and ice flowers. Can you find spiky ice crystals growing out of leaves, tree branches and blades of grass? This is called hoar frost which is tiny dewdrops of water that have frozen.
I like to look for trapped air bubbles in frozen puddles and watch how they move under the ice when you step gently on top. If the ice cracks, pick up a piece – how thick is the ice? Feel how flat and smooth the underside of the ice is and then look through your ice lens to see the world around you differently – its magical! I like to take photographs of the delicate patterns that I find before they melt away and vanish forever.
Where do your feet and eyes take you? This is called ‘wandering’ – not following a particular path or direction but letting nature and your feelings guide you.
Make your own ice sculpture – no hammers or chisels are needed! Simply, when outside wandering, collect a few natural objects that would look beautiful frozen inside ice. Hazel catkins, lichen, moss and small leaves can be easily found. When back home, fill ice cube trays, small plastic fruit punnets or empty yogurt pots with tap or rainwater. Now arrange your natural treasures in the water – think about why your objects might sink or float? Carefully put your creations into a freezer overnight, or if its going to be below freezing, outside in the garden!
I also add a loop of string tied onto a short stick – the stick will sink and be frozen in the water but make sure the loop of string stays out, so you can hang up and admire your beautiful ice sculpture.
Leave your frozen creations in their moulds for a few minutes before turning out – this allows the edges of the ice to melt slightly.
Hang a piece of your ice art outdoors and indoors (maybe hang over a kitchen tap – to avoid puddles of water on the floor!). Now observe what happens. If it’s really cold, your ice may not melt at all! Which piece of ice begins to melt first? Why? What happens if you put your ice in water – will it sink or float? Sprinkle some salt onto an ice block – what happens? Clue – roads are salted in icy weather to make them safer to drive on. (Salt lowers the melting point of water, so the ice melts quicker). If you add a drop of food dye or fruit juice you’ll be able to see the colour fill the cracks as the ice melts. At what temperature does water freeze?
Maybe finish your investigation by making an ice lolly!
Remember, stay safe – always explore with an adult and never stand on frozen ponds or lakes.
Welcome back nature explorers – I hope you enjoyed meeting a few wiggly worms and learnt how important and amazing they are. It’s time to pull on your welly boots, jump outdoors and get muddy again!
Mud, mud, glorious mud – it’s free, easy to use and can be found pretty much anywhere. Okay, its messy but that’s why its super fun! Firstly, you need to find a nice muddy patch. Here are some mud-fabulous activity ideas about how you can use it to create your own artwork.
Molehill soil is perfect for modelling. Soft, crumbly and damp the soil holds and sticks together well when squashed into a ball. Small plastic fruit punnets make great moulds to make bodies for hedgehogs, dinosaurs or giant insects. Or turn a molehill into a mud-castle using plant or yogurt pots as moulds to make towers.
Decorate your sculpture with natural objects such as sticks, stones and plant materials like acorns and fir cones. Pine needles make lovely whiskers. What does your mud creature like to eat?
If your sculpture is made with just natural materials then it can be left to return to the earth for the worms.
No molehills – then you can mix up your own soil mixture – make sure its not too wet or too dry.
Animal footprint tracks are often found in mud. Look for a nice muddy patch that’s not too wet and practice identifying signs by making your own animal footprints. The heel of a hand makes a good palm pad impression and fingers for toe pads. Sticks can be used to make claw prints. Then challenge your family to guess each other’s tracks.
You can also use a large sheet of paper or the back of a roll of spare wallpaper, to paint mud footprint trails. Cut out cardboard templates and use mud sponged around the edge; then carefully lift to reveal the print shape. Or you can use a paint brush – but using fingers and hands is more fun!
The colour of mud can vary hugely, from yellow ochre, dark umber and rich red sienna’s – all colours which were traditionally derived from mud. Experiment to make your own range of mud paints. Add and mix ground up white chalk or charcoal to a small pot of mud; thin with water – paint onto white card or watercolour paper. Can you make light and dark shades? Look for sticky grey or yellow clay soil to make new colours. How many different colours can you make?
Use an old flour sieve to push through your mud paint to remove small stones and grit to make a smooth paint. You can also add a small squirt of washing up liquid to give your soil paint a beautiful sheen.
Messy fun tips:
When creating art with mud, have plenty of water nearby, mixing sticks and spades. Mud and water really go hand in hand, and only adds to the fun. Make sure old or protective clothes are worn and that hands are thoroughly washed afterwards. Cuts on hands should be covered with a plaster.
Have fun exploring,
Welcome back nature explorers – it’s time to pull on your welly boots, get outdoors and discover the wonderfully wiggly world of earthworms!
Earthworms are our ‘superworm’ heroes. They live hidden underground in the soil but are secretly busy recycling dead things, like fallen autumn leaves, and turning them into healthy plant food. It’s an important job.
Here are some fun activities to help you ‘get to know a worm’.
A worm in the hand
Worms can be found everywhere in gardens, woodlands and compost heaps. Carefully dig up a worm from the soil in your garden using a hand trowel. Put the earthworm in a folded piece of paper and hold this next to your ear – listen to the scratchy sound which its body makes when rubbing against the paper as it wiggles. The sound is made by tiny hairs called bristles that help the earthworm pull itself forwards and backwards through the soil.
Now put your earthworm on your hand – how does it feel and move?
Its body is covered in a slimy mucus to make it easier to wriggle through the soil.
Head or tail?
Carefully look at your worm. Adult earthworms have a thickened area, called a saddle, part of the way along their body. The head is the closest end to the saddle. To check you are right, put your worm back – remember to be respectful, it is a living creature. The pointed end, which is its head, will disappear back into the soil first. Its tail is more rounded and sometimes slightly flattened.
I-spy a worm burrow
Many earthworms live in burrows in the soil. At night they pull dead leaves down into their burrows. Safely underground they eat and then poop out the waste called castings above the ground. These look like long curly mounds of earth spaghetti – can you find one? Casts are rich in recycled plant nutrients which helps keep the soil healthy and plants grow. Now move the cast carefully away to find a hole underneath which is the burrow entrance.
You can also look for small piles of rotting leaves pulled together on the soil surface. Earthworms block the entrance of their burrows to help stop the tunnels being flooded by rainwater.
Carefully pull on the leaves to find its hidden home.
You can attract earthworms to the surface by vibrating the soil. Maybe it sounds like rain or a mole digging through the soil looking for its favourite food – earthworms! I like to stomp and jump on the ground for 2-5 minutes. Then patiently wait for the worms to appear. Birds are often seen tapping the earth with their feet to make vibrations to catch a tasty worm snack – see if you can spot one.
Simply collect some soil in a pot (molehill earth is the best), mix with a little water using a small stick to make a beautiful mud paint.
Use a paintbrush to paint your own Wiggly Woo.
Super wiggly worm facts:
- Earthworms have no bones or skeleton.
- Worms do not have eyes or ears.
- They can sense vibrations and are sensitive to temperature and touch.
- Worms have 5 pairs of hearts and one brain – so you cannot make two worms by cutting one in half!
- There are 27 different types of earthworm in the UK.
Have lots of wriggly wiggly fun.
As a child I played cards frequently. My grandmother is a bit of a card sharp and taught me dozens of games from rummy to whist and patience. We even played pontoon – gambling with matchsticks! Now as a teacher, I’m struck by how fantastic these games are for a range of skills the children will need in their education. Beyond the obvious maths links – subtising, number recognition, counting, ordering and sequencing, strategies for mental calculation for starters – card games also teach & practise sustained concentration, turn-taking, patience, organisational skills, strategic thinking, perseverance and how to win or lose with grace. There are even speaking, listening and language benefits as you chat and joke over a hand of cards.
Some games can be neatly adapted to help your child master key maths skills. I’ve videoed my daughter and I playing two old favourites that are perfect for number bonds practise so you can see how the adaptations work. We’re playing with number bonds to 10 but you could dial this back for numbers under 10 if your child is not quite ready for 10 yet. Fluency with number bonds, even for smaller numbers like 5, are significant building blocks for mental calculation going forwards.
This is a good place to start for learning number bonds as the children can take as long as they need to find the total. You’ll be impressed with how quickly they start to remember the pairs of numbers they need.
Donkey (a variation of Old Maid)
This was a favourite between me and my siblings! In this version, play with the number bond pairs as in Pelmanism plus one joker card – this is the donkey. Shuffle the cards and share them out between the players (3 or more players works best for this game). Each player removes all the number bonds from their hand. Then players take it in turns to choose a card from the hand of the player to their left, removing number bonds as they are made. At the end, there will only be the joker card and the player left holding it will be the donkey. My grandmother would have some carrots handy when we played this and the donkey would have to eat one!
A fast-paced game of snap will help children build that speedy recognition they need for mastery of number bonds.
I hope you enjoy the games and some fun family time together playing them!
Enjoy a few festive treats from the children in Key Stage 2!
At the end of each term we celebrate the children’s achievements in Celebration Worship. Click on the link to watch the video (you’ll need to be signed in with your child’s login).
Congratulations to all of our fantastic pupils – you’ve been brilliant!
Are Key Stage 2 excited about Christmas? Hmmm… we’re not sure – see what you think:
Each year, the children in Gruffalo are welcomed to SBS by their buddies. This year, things have needed to be a little different – check out this year’s buddy welcome on Learners Pool by clicking here.
(You will need to be logged in with your child’s google account to access the video).
On Friday 12th June we held our first ever, extraordinary SBS Virtual Sports Day 2020! It’s wonderful how, in spite of the restrictions of the pandemic, the logistical difficulties and even a spot of rain, our families came together to keep the tradition of our sports day alive. We were impressed with your level of commitment – and your ability to find small orange cones from somewhere! Many families marked lines on their grass, roped in younger siblings and parents and some even made rosettes or awards. The children who were able to be in school also participated enthusiastically with a lot of laughter and competitive spirit. Most importantly, everyone who took part was active and had a lot of fun.
You can see photos from our virtual sports day on Learners Pool and we have also made a video to celebrate this unusual and inspiring day – check your emails for the video link sent my Mrs Fordham. Thank you to our Year 6s, Miss Scott and Mrs Barna for their support in bring our virtual sports day to life.
Mrs Moir will be announcing the final results in her newsletter on Friday!