Our Summer Topic - China: The Middle Kingdom
The end of the road
The last week has seen the culmination of our China topic. This includes Chinese brush painting techniques on bamboo scrolls and creating our own diamond kites.
Quizzing our spellings!
Today Year 4 attempted a new way of practising spellings, through the power of online quizzing. Each laptop was automatically sorted into teams and the children had to search for the correct definition that matched one of the hundred Year 3/4 spelling words. Although the classroom was incredibly loud, teams scores quickly improved, especially when they realised that one wrong answer took them back to 0!
Today Year 4 spent the morning working out how telephones work. After creating their own string telephones, they then investigated the best way of transferring sound from microphone to receiver. We even managed to create a telephone web with up to 5 receivers!
Mr Lamming managed to make it back from paternity leave in time to go on a fantastic trip to Compton Verney. The weather was definitely on our side as we travelled over, parked and walked into the grounds of Compton Verney. The morning consisted of investigating a range of artefacts. This included looking at three in great detail, being able to pick them up, feel their weight and scrutinise their details. The other part of the morning was spent with a sketching pencil and pad working our way through the Chinese exhibit. After lunch, the children all were given a lump of clay and instructed on how to shape them into their own ritual Chinese vessel. A great day all round!
After waiting for the clay to dry, the class spent a morning painting them to resemble the impressive collection of Chinese vessels we saw on the trip.
Today Year 4 started to look at sound - how it is made, why it changes volume, whether you can see it! To start the unit, we investigated how tuning forks create sound. As well as changing the pitch depending on the length of the fork, we saw its effect when placed in water (quite impressive!) Finally, we completed a sound survey, deciding on the loudest or quietest locations around the school (hint - quiet was not to be found near Year 4!)
Questions the children would like answered (any help on a postcard...)
- How does sound travel?
- How do we measure sound?
- What is sound made of?
- Is sound affected by pressure?
- Why does sound seem different underwater?
- Why can't we see sound?
- Why is all sound not the same?
- Why is sound made when something is hit?
- Is sound always made when you hit something?
- How are tuning forks made?
In Art recently we have been examining the Terracotta army, a collection of figures modelled on soldiers from the Chinese army. The soldiers were unique in their design and took over a month to create - unfortunately our timetable only allowed us two lessons! However, the children have each created their own clay image of a terracotta soldier. After leaving it to air dry over the half term, they will be finished off ready to display!
Science - Classifying animals
In Science this term we have been investigating how animals are classified and sorted due to their adaptions and characteristics. To finish the unit, we attempted to sort the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac (we swapped out the dragon for the cat) using their own classification keys.
Kingham Lodge - Art Week
On Friday afternoon, Year 4 walked over to Kingham Lodge to experience a range of sculptures presented all over the garden. From frogs listening to stories, to boxing hares, the sculptures were created using a variety of materials and themes. Thank you to Mrs Mahony for organising the trip!
Are you struggling to choose your next reading book?
I recently asked the children to suggest three books that they had enjoyed reading this academic year.
I have tried to supply a link for each book to give a brief idea on genre, story line, characters.
The main website I have used is http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/ which is an excellent resource for choosing books as it generally provides an excerpt of the beginning.
Please provide any more suggestions which I can then add onto the list.
Race the Clock
This week we have been concentrating on time including: telling it, adding fractions of time and calculating the difference between two time points.
Today we played a game called 'Race the Clock'. Starting at 9 o'clock in the morning, the children rolled a dice to see how many minutes to add on (a maximum of 60 to start with). We knew what to add by using our 5x tables, we could work out how many minutes we would have to add (i.e. 2x5 = 10 minutes, 4x5 = 20 minutes, 9x5 = 45 minutes).
The game was so popular that we started creating extra challenges, including going back through time (from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock), extending the time to play from 12 - 12 and changing how many dice we used (by using 4 lots of 1-6 dice we could roll a possible 24 - so 120 minutes!)
'You want to be a Firework-Maker? Walk into my flames!'
More than anything else in the world, Lila wants to be a Firework-Maker. But every Firework-Maker must make a perilous journey to face the terrifying Fire-Fiend!
Can Lila possibly survive? Especially when she doesn't know she needs special protection to survive his flames...
Our Spring topic - Mechanical Marvels!
Year 4 will spend this term looking at ways in which automated inventions over the years perform many of the functions of society and, in turn, reflect on some of the issues that we humans face and with which we have to deal.
This week has been Science week, with a theme of 'exploration and discovery'. As Year 4's theme is currently 'Marvellous Mechanics', we have looked at different scientists, inventors and engineers that have changed our world. So far, we've studied both the Wright brothers; creating paper planes that fly (or not) across the hall and Elon Musk; investigating a material that is absorbent enough to capture and store water for use on Mars.
Heritage Motor Museum
On Tuesday 27th February, Year 4 went to the British Heritage Motor museum. Our first workshop saw us following steps to make a Lego racing car and programme it to start and stop using sensors. After finishing all the steps, we raced our different cars and then changed the wheels to see if this made an effect. Before lunch, we split into groups and walked round the museum, looking at the different cars, including a caravan with a bathtub in its floor; a replica of the first car ever made (from 1886) and a bus from 1923 that could go at most 20mph. Our second workshop taught us about the balance between fashion and function in car design. Examining a range of different cars, we then went back into the museum to have a look at Land Rovers, including a Land Rover the James Bond film 'Skyfall', an army Land Rover painted pink to camouflage in the desert and a concept car worth £1 million. 'We had an absolutely fantastic day it was the best trip ever.'
Facts we learnt
- In 1923, the speed limit was 4mph in London. Reaching the countryside you could get to a maximum of 12mph.
- There are 153 cars in the Heritage Museum, ranging from Lady Penelope's Pink limousine to a Mini Cooper made of Lego.
- A double decker bus had an arch ceiling to make all the water run off as it had no roof. It had to be repaired every year as the wood would rot and warp.
- The bus didn't have a windscreen and the passenger seat was nicknamed the 'hot seat', which is where the driver's mate sat, right above the engine. When it was smoggy, the driver's mate would have to walk in front of the bus to indicate where the bus needed to go. An early seat belt design, the driver's mate had a chain around his waist to stop him flying off when the wheels hit a big bump!
- The first man to break the speed limit of 4mph was travelling at a ridiculous 8mph!
- Super cars are designed to be sleek, low to the floor and cut through the air to reduce wind resistance.
- Part of the museum had a car split in half which was incredible as you could see the whole engine!
Winter Olympics - Curling
Although we've had the most successful Winter Olympics ever, unfortunately our curling teams didn't quite make the podium! So, training for the 2026 Olympics has started. We may not have had ice, but with the 'beast from the East', we may soon do!
On Wednesday 21st, Y4 became Brunel for the morning, exploring the different types of design to make a bridge. Unfortunately, we didn't have iron, but we made do with the next best thing, spaghetti! Trying a range of styles, the idea was to hold at least 250g of weight. Look at the pictures and decide whether anyone's bridge would make it over troubled water.
Electricity - insulators and conductors
On Friday afternoon, Y4 attempted to discover why some materials can be made part of a circuit and others create a barrier. After trying a variety of objects, including tea spoons, rulers, pen lids and rubbers, a general consensus that metal things let electricity flow around a circuit was agreed upon. But is it only metal that works as a conductor....?
Our daily mile!
At the beginning of the Spring term we relaunched the daily mile, a target to get out for 10 minutes a day running around the field. Well, with all the laps counted, we managed to run a whooping 324 miles as a class in the month of January. Very well done to every one of Year 4 who ran and ran and ran. Now we've got a benchmark to work of, we are looking to beat it in March (February unfortunately has a half term!)
With the children 'convincing' me to join them on their daily run, I have been looking for some motivational quotes to help - a particularly apt one to start
'Your speed doesn't matter, forward is forward!'
On Friday, Year 4 investigated the famous Bloodhound SSC, a supersonic car that is designed to reach 1000 miles an hour. After deciding whether it was a boat, plane or car, we looked at what made the car travel so fast. We discovered that Bloodhound does not follow the conventional car design as instead of an engine turning the axles, a large jet and rocket propel the car forward. Recreating this design, we built out own jet propelled balloon cars, investigating both their speed and distance travelled.
Iron Man measuring
This week in maths we have been calculating the size of the Iron Man and comparing him to our own measurements. Working in partners, tape measures were held up against six parts of the body to build our measurement table. Have a look at the photos below!
For the past two weeks, we have been using Pie Corbett's 'The Bicycle' to inspire us to write poems which capture a personality in a vehicle. Last week we imitated 'The Bicycle' as a class, adapting the language to suit a bike that is new, fresh and ready to ride. This was different to the original which gave the impression of an old, tired bike, ready for retirement. (See pdf below)
Today we started looking at cars, comparing three in the car park and giving them their own personalities. See if you can spot which description matches the car.
Lights shaped like a falcon’s eyes
Candles lighting the way in the darkness
Spokes shaped like a wagon’s wheels
Grey as wolf fur splattered with mud.
A silent cruiser, smoothly whizzing along the road.
Like a puma.
Eyes full of life.
Constantly staring at its long journey ahead.
The car prowls like a jaguar hunting.
Mirrors glazed by dirt.
Spokes as strong as gorillas.
Roof as curved as a dolphin leaping out the water.
Windscreen as smooth as a stallion’s glossy hair.
Number plate covered plate with dirt like hippo’s skin.
Radio 2's 500 Word Stories
For an ongoing project over this half term, Year 4 are going to participate in the Radio 2 500 word story contest. The stories can be about anything or anyone, written in any tense, perspective or time! The only limitations are that they need to be 500 words or fewer AND (linked to our topic) have some sort of mechanical link. This could be through a character (robot), setting (stuck inside a computer) or story line (using a time machine to go back or forward in time).
First drafts need to be written and brought into school by the 29th January. This will allow the children to share their ideas with their peers and receive some constructive feedback before starting the editing process. Final deadline on the Radio 2 website is the 22nd February, so I would advise submitting before this date!
Links to the website and advice pages are below. Enjoy!
Thank you to those children who brought in extra socks for today! We have restarted the very popular initiative from last summer, the daily mile, which involves children running for 10 minutes during the day (and building their laps towards completing a mile). As the weather is a bit wet and breezy at the moment, it is imperative the children have spare socks so that they are not stuck in wet clothes for the afternoon. If the field is too wet (like it was today) we can still use the plaground for an 80m running track, enough to get their hearts pumping!
“The Iron Man came to the top of the cliff.
How far he had walked? Nobody knows.
Where he had come from? Nobody knows.
How he was made? Nobody knows.”
Our Autumn Topic - The Vikings!
Vikings - vicious, valiant, victorious?
The Viking age in European history was from about AD700 to 1100. During this period many Vikings left their homelands in Scandinavia and travelled by longboat to other countries, like Britain and Ireland.
When the people of Britain first saw the Viking longboats they came down to the shore to welcome them. However, the Vikings fought the local people, stealing from churches and burning buildings to the ground. Is this reputation fair though? Behind shaggy bears, smelly breath and fierce fighting skills, there exists one of the most dynamic and creative tribes ever to have invaded and conquered our land since Roman times.
On Tuesday 28th, Year 3 and 4 took over the hall and turned it into a Viking workshop. Learning how to weave wool, sew sails, write with runes and build shields, the children worked through a carousel of activities linked to the Viking industries. As well as all the individual activities, they all joined in building a scale model of a Viking longship. By the end of a hard day's work, the children had built a 6m boat that could fit 10 sailors in! After all taking a turn, parents were invited to join the children in the hall, where they were taken round to the different activities and bowled over by the amount of information the children could recite from their days learning!
Please look at the photos below to see all the activities completed during the day.
On Friday, Year 4 completed their annual Autumn bird survey. This involves every member of the class taking it in turns to sit in 15 minute slot, counting the amount of birds that visit the bird table outside the classroom. We have created a bar chart that shows 2016 results compared to 2017.
If you would like a copy of the class assembly, please provide Mr Lamming with a usb stick that has at least 2.5gb on. Thank you!
Over the next few weeks in English we are going to be looking at the epic poem, Beowulf, the story of a Scandinavian hero who confronts a monster terrorising the Danes. To start learning the poem, we retold the story outside, sitting around a campfire, just like it would have been told hundreds of years ago. After hearing it a couple of times, children started created freeze frames of moments in the poem. Can you work out which moments in the story the children are showing?
Year 4 Non-Negotiables
Whenever we write in school we use a specific focus to improve one part of the writing process. However, there are certain parts of the writing that we have discussed that are a must. These we have called our non-negotiables. Please see attached underneath as they are expected for work in and out of school.
One of the class decided to do some further research into the customs and traditions surrounding the Vikings. Please see below Grace's powerpoint about Viking traditions.
School Council Representatives - Year 4
On Friday Year 4 elected their school council representatives. Sophie, the class' old school councillor, gave a brief presentation on what it meant to be a representative which the class listened to intently. Then each child stood up and presented their argument on why they should be chosen. Each candidate was put through two rounds of voting before we had our two new councillors, Ava and Cayetano. Congratulations to all children that took part!
How to Train Your Dragon
In English this week, we have been learning a scene from the film version of How to Train Your Dragon. This has involved drawing out a text map (showing off Mr Lamming's amazing art skills), retelling the story in under a minute (no-one managed it!) and using freeze frames.
Apples, honey and blackberries. A Viking cooking experience took over Y4 on Wednesday. By the time all the groups had finished coring, stuffing and smothering, the smell of baked apples had spread down the corridors. All the apples were judged on their taste, appearance, smell and texture. A big thank you Mrs Hitchins who helped all the groups and to Mrs Townend who came to help the children taste their masterpieces!
Hrothgar the Viking
On the morning of the 29th, our classroom was attacked by a Viking. Joining him in the hall, Hrothgar firstly took us through the Viking warrior's pack, his range of weapons and all their various purposes.
After that, we met a range of Viking Gods and heard stories about their deeds. Before lunch, Hrothgar took us out to the playground and instructed us on how to make fire.
After lunch, we played a strategic game of Hnefafatl (King's table). This involved two teams: one defensive team trying to get their King to a corner; the other attempting to block each corner.
Finally, Hrothgar showed us the customs and rituals surrounding a Viking chief's death. This involved ensuring he was actually dead, before sacrificing a slave to help him in the afterlife.
An incredibly fun day all round!
Science - Digestion and Decay
This term, we are investigating the human body. We have so far looked at the digestive system, naming each of the important organs and explaining their functions. We created a model of the digestive system including a plastic bag, tights and paper cups which represented the different parts. It was very disgusting!
An important part of the digestive system is the teeth. Both teeth and eggshells have a large amount of calcium so we can test how different liquid decays teeth by using eggshells. We put eggs in water, milk, orange juice, vinegar and coke and will be finding out how their shells have changed after a week.
Computing - SMART Rules
Children have been asked to create their own presentation linked to the SMART online rules by Monday 9th. These are rules meant to ensure children stay safe when using any internet connected device. Within our computing work, we will be exploring these rules further, creating an in depth presentation on them.
To help with the poster, please use these links.
Year 4 are going swimming on these dates. Please ensure swimming kits are brought in.
Monday 11th September
Monday 18th September
Monday 25th September
Monday 2nd October
Monday 9th October
Monday 15th October
The Y4 class slot for Indoor PE is on a Monday.
The Y4 class slot for Outdoor PE is on a Wednesday.
In the beginning, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was the most put upon Viking you'd ever seen. Not loud enough to make himself heard at dinner with his father, Stoick the Vast; not hard enough to beat his chief rival, Snotlout, at Bashyball, the number one school sport and CERTAINLY not stupid enough to go into a cave full of dragons to find a pet...
Below is the overview of what Year 4 will be studying this term. As the term progresses and the children's interest broadens, the document will be subject to change.