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Oak Class 2022-23

Autumn 2022
The sun never sets on the British Empire

In our first history lesson, we looked at the extent of the British Empire at its peak in 1921 and investigated what it meant to be a colony. We then used atlases to name the independent countries (or modern day equivalents) that were part of the empire at that time.
Leading the play!

We had our first playleader training session today trying out a few games that they will use at lunchtimes on Mondays and Wednesdays from next week.
Testing our designs.

In DT, we looked at how simple bridges are constructed using beams, pillars or piers. We then enjoyed making and testing our own bridge designs using wooden pillars, paper beams, tape and a selection of weights. We were surprised how much weight some of our paper bridges could hold!
Crossing the border

We had the perfect weather today for a walk from Devon to Cornwall! We learnt so much about the Tamar and Royal Albert Bridges and in small groups, measured the Tamar Bridge from one end to the other. A few surprising facts were that the weight of the Tamar Bridge (not including the towers) is about the same weight as a type 45 destroyer and a simple water butt filled with water helps to dampen the sound of the vibrating cables so it doesn't annoy the local residents. At The Box in the afternoon, we learnt all about the Plymouth Breakwater which started construction in 1811 and wasn't completed until 1841 - you can understand why it took so long when you realise that they used nearly as many stones as the Egyptians used to build the pyramids.
Artificial propagation

In science this week, we continued our work on reproduction focussing on plants. We looked at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of reproduction before taking cuttings from our class spider plant 'Tom' to record the root growth over the coming weeks.
A class full of superheroes

We creative this week designing our own superhero costumes after being introduced to our English text. We had to consider things like colour, material, defensive capabilities, the logo and other practical things like GPS systems and how we would carry all our tools.
Bridging the gap

Our prototype bridges are complete! We worked hard to create the strongest bridges we could with the limited materials and time we had. We then tested and evaluated our designs. All would be wide enough for two cars to cross, most were tall enough for boats to pass underneath and some could support a surprising amount of weight! Super effort everyone.
"I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few"

The first task for arts week was to investigate the life and work of the British textile designer William Morris whose designs will be used as inspiration for our lino printing later in the week. We looked at examples of his work and analysed the shapes, colours, patterns, movement and symmetry before comparing his work to Irish designer Orla Kiely.
A fan-tag-stic festival!

Incredibly proud of Oak Class today - not only did they play the best tag rugby of the term so far with great teamwork, some fancy footwork and tenacious tagging skills, but they were also noticed for displaying great sportsmanship. I think the smiles show that they also had a great time! Well done everyone and many thanks to Mr Tanner for organising the event.
Practise makes perfect!

We continued our printing topic for arts week by simplifying our still life sketches from earlier in the week to use as a motif for printing. After having a go at mark marking with linocut tools, we learnt about the reduction linocut method and carved the first layer of our motif onto the lino blocks before printing with the first colour. Can't wait to see the end result!
Feel the rhythm

Today we explored the musical concept of theme and variations in music inspired by artwork from the Pop Art era. We discovered how rhythms can 'translate’ onto different objects from around the classroom including body percussion.
Trading and the Silk Road

In our first geography lesson of the term, we learnt about the Silk Road and the very precious commodity that was transported by merchants 2000 years ago. We then investigated the modern-day countries that the Silk Road passed through.
Interfaith week visitor

Oak Class spent the morning with Cultural Champion Sandhya Dave who shared fascinating Hindu artefacts and talked about her faith, beliefs and culture. The children learnt to count to five in Hindi, developed their understanding of Hindu symbolism and explored geographical features of India.
Snakes and ladders

In recognition of anti-bullying week, in PSHE, Oak Class designed a snakes and ladders game based on different scenarios with a bullying focus. They then thought about things that would make the situation worse or make it continue represented by the snakes on their board and also the things that would help to solve the situation or make it better which were the ladders.
Spring 2023

Our first forest school of the year 

A breezy but sunny day up at Forest School today for KS2. Our first task was to light the fire which, thanks to Miss Cannon huffing and puffing, managed to stay lit long enough to cook our flatbreads and boil the water for hot chocolate! We then played games, made bird feeders from plastic milk cartons, owls from tree branches and dens which were supposed to be weatherproof enough to spend the night - not sure some of them would have survived!

Finding the words

We created some amazing blackout poetry this week using the introduction from our class book The Lost Words. Blackout poetry is based around found poetry which is the art form of picking and choosing words that resonate with the artist’s vision and focuses on what can be created from a single page of text.

Blackout poetry

The only way is ... down!

Today in science, we were learning about the difference between weight and mass and investigating whether or not there is a link between the two.

I am ...

Using the poem The Raven as inspiration, we worked in pairs to come up with our own poems based on a different bird's personality and characteristics, echoing the patterning from the original text.

Our Raven style poems

Local landscapes

In art, we have been drawing Dartmoor landscapes from photographs and trying a variety of watercolour paints and pencils to mix the right colours and explore different tones to match the photographs. The landscapes are beginning to take shape now and we will add the final details next week. 

A streamlined lesson 

In science this week, we were investigating water resistance as part of our forces topic. Our modelling skills came into play as we tried to create the most streamlined 3D clay shapes to drop into a tube of water to see which one would drop the fastest. 

Making connections 

We took part in a Children's Mental Health Week live lesson today to explore the theme of connections. We met violinist Izandra from Brazil who aims to make classical music accessible to everyone. We had the opportunity to share our thoughts and questions during the lesson and wrapped up the session by explaining to all the schools online why being part of our school community was important to us.

Space to breathe

In the first geography lesson of this term, we had to call on our map and detective skills to discover which UK National Parks our clues were referring to. We also discussed why they are referred to as our 'breathing spaces' and why it is important to preserve our cultural heritage.
Taking a 'brake'

We continued our work on forces today learning about friction. We investigated which material would make the best brake pad for the scooters from Birch Class and had a go at the floating bottle experiment.
Eggscellent engineers!

We took part in an engineering challenge this afternoon led by teachers from the science department of South Dartmoor. To link with our forces topic, we had to design a structure that would help bring an egg down to earth without a bump. We were given a limited budget to spend on resources and there was an element of panic buying as time was running out! You'll be pleased to know that all eggs made it back in one piece.
Dartmoor day out 

We had a great day on Dartmoor this morning in the bright Spring sunshine even though it was a tad windy. Our guide walked us all over Haytor pointing out the wildlife, flora and fauna - the sphagnum moss trampoline was an unexpected wonder of nature and some of us were very excited to hear that they could buy a Dartmoor pony for £1. Whilst in the quarry, we examined replicas of different types of axe and arrow heads that have been found in the local area made of stone, flint and bronze. We then took a break in the remains of a roundhouse before following part of the tramway that was used to transport granite to the Stover Canal. We finished the morning by climbing to the top of Haytor and taking in the spectacular view. Our guide, Richard, said that we were the best school he had ever had with regards to the knowledge that we had on our local area! 
Rain didn't stop play 

A showery, squelchy day at forest school this week for KS2 but that didn't stop us getting stuck in with all our activities. We mixed up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough to cook on the fire to enjoy with our hot chocolate which helped to warm us up and then carried out some scientific activities relating to soil. We made a penetrometer to check the soil compaction in different areas of the woods and then buried some squares of cotton in three different locations. We will dig them up next time we go to see how much of the cotton has been eaten by microorganisms in the soil; the more that has been eaten, the healthier the soil. We also made some natural paint by crushing plants with a mortar and pestle. We then spent the afternoon practising our knife skills and den building ... and demolishing!
Up and down and round and round

We successfully designed, made and evaluated our own moving toys by selecting and assembling a cam mechanism to make the toy move up and down, side to side or spin around. The aim of the unit was to create an attractive and appealing product and develop knowledge of mechanical systems. They are very proud of their finished toys!
Colour inspiration

We had our final music lesson of this term and used the tabla drums and a variety of percussion instruments to create a piece of music inspired by a single colour to celebrate Holi. The children chose orange which represents courage and sacrifice and pink to represent youth, good health and playfulness.
Investigating levers

In science this week, we were investigating levers and working out how far different weights needed to be from a fulcrum in order to balance a 1kg load - not as easy as it sounds!
Get ready for lift off

Oak Class rounded off their forces topic for this term with an afternoon in the explorer dome. The highlight was definitely the dry ice rockets: when the dry ice melted it turned immediately into a gas, filled the container and then needed to escape! Check out the video here:
Summer 2023
Cycling in the sunshine

Bikeability got off to a great start in the sunshine this week. The sessions start off in the playground with the basics to help build the skills, knowledge and understanding to cycle safely on the roads. We checked our bicycles to make sure they were ready for a journey and practised setting off, slowing down, stopping , looking behind, cycling one handed, turning and controlling speed.
A 'tax'ing time!

We became taxonomists in science this week. A new zoo was going to open and we had to sort and group the animals so that similar species could be housed in adjacent enclosures. It was our job to decide how to classify the animals so the flamingos didn't end up next to the alligators!
Giving nature a voice 

To celebrate Earth Week, we joined a live lesson with Piers Torday, the best-selling children’s author, renowned for the Last Wild trilogy, to talk about how to write stories for nature. During the lesson, he talked about the power of storytelling to inspire action to protect nature and biodiversity. He also read extracts from his book and explained where his inspiration comes from and how he gives his characters their voice.
Where in the world ...

We started our Mayan topic in history this week by identifying the region of the world in which Maya people live and then using a range of maps and photographs, explaining what the landscape, climate and natural vegetation of the area is like.
Some you win ...

In maths, we have started our unit on financial literacy and this week was all about investment and risk. The children had £20 to invest in two different projects and whether they made a profit or loss was all down the the roll of a dice. It was a tense half hour with results ranging from a £2 loss to a £208 profit - I know who I would trust my money with!

This term's art topic is gargoyles and the children have learnt about the history, the processes and techniques to make them and also practised sketching using cross-hatching, shading, and thick/thin lines to show the quality of tone. This week they sculpted their own grotesque gargoyles by applying a range of techniques to join, combine and shape the clay. They started with a pinch pot shape before adding the exaggerated features to bring the faces to life.
Welcome to the real world!

In our financial literacy lesson this week, the children were putting together a monthly budget and deciding which items were a priority - some were quite disappointed that they couldn't afford all the nice treats after paying the bills!
How to be an ethical consumer

In our final financial literacy session, we looked at how spending choices can affect our environment and how to be an ethical consumer. We also played a game of Pictionary to help us understand how the government choose to spend the money they get from taxes. 
Everything you need to know ...

In our English lesson today, we were writing quizzes using pages from our new book - Everything you need to know about snakes and other scaly reptiles. I'm sure some of the random facts will make their way into the conversation tonight at the dinner table!