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Believe, Care, Strive, Achieve

Class 5 Learning

Rocket Science!
Cass 5 and 6 have become rocket scientists this week. We have been learning about forces this term – friction and gravity – and this exercise gave us the opportunity to experiment with Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion: ‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction’.
The teams were given an Easter-themed challenge – to use their budget of £5 to design, resource and make a rocket to send their ‘eggstronaut’ to space (or thereabouts…)! After learning about the physics of bottle rockets, the children then carefully budgeted and spent their money on supplies to build a rocket.
The designs were fantastic, and it was great to see the children putting their understanding of forces into action when creating their rockets, deciding on the amount of ‘fuel’ (water) to use and using crumple zones and parachutes to help their ‘eggstronaut’ land safely. There was lots of really high-quality discussion about reducing air resistance, using airflow and fins to ensure a straight and controlled flight and how Newton’s 3rd law works when propelling the rocket.
The rockets worked even better than the children expected! We estimated a height of around 15-20 metres for most of the rockets, and we were even more impressed at how intact the eggs were after re-entry – all but one survived their mission!
Germans in the Woods
Today, as part of our topic on World War 2, we listened to the story of a young soldier who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Joseph Robertson is now 90 and shared his experience as an audio clip accompanied by a haunting animation. It tells a powerfully sad story of how he came face-to-face with an enemy soldier, and how that moment has stayed with him ever since. The children had some really mature discussion about the morality of war, about the rights and wrongs of the men’s actions, and about how the events of the story couldn’t be blamed on either of the soliders, despite how Joseph might feel now.
The children then spent some time writing, retelling the story as a team and dramatising their recounts. Their writing showed such empathy for the young men involved, and showed that they really understood the human impact of war. We all agreed that we are lucky to live somewhere where, hopefully, these are decisions that we will never have to make.
Here is one group’s story, retold in short soundbites. Click the play button above each picture to hear the corresponding part of the story.
Bletchley Park Codebreaking
This week, we have been learning about the impact that problem solving mathematicians had on the war! After learning about the team of Hut 8, who were tasked with breaking the Enigma Code and safely securing passage of supplies across the Atlantic, the children then worked with a range of different codes and ciphers, ranging from simple letter substitution codes such as the Caesar shift and pigpen ciphers, to the more complex transposition cipher (which relies on factors and multiples to keep its meaning secret) and the Vignere square, which requires a password in order to break. Each deciphered message relayed vital information about the ongoing situation in the Atlantic, helping the children to safely guide the merchant ships into port and ultimately decide the outcome of the war.
York Blitz Writing
This week, the children have been learning about the night of the York Blitz – 29th of April 1942. After hearing some first-hand accounts of what it was like to live through, the children arrived back from assembly to the howl of the Carter sirens, the rumble of approaching bomber planes and, luckily for them, an Anderson shelter in the middle of the classroom. They all huddled underneath the ‘protection’ that their shelter offered as the raid began, lasting about 5 minutes. After the experience, we discussed how it felt – claustrophobic, dark, loud, unsettling – and how we can only begin to understand what it would have felt like to go through at the time. The children then wrote recounts of the experience, focusing on using sensory description along with powerful imagery such as metaphors and personification to give the reader a sense of what the experience was like. They also used ‘show, don’t tell’ to convey their emotions to the reader in a mature and powerful way.
Here’s an example of their vivid and descriptive writing:
12.00 AM. My mum shook me alive and immediately my eyes snapped open, but her eyes gleamed in fear. I didn’t ask; I already knew why. An alarming sound pierced my heart. The noise thundered off the walls, rising and falling like the cries of a wounded animal. The wail of the siren swirled down my body.

As I stumbled down the crooked stairs, I clutched the banister for support. Howling, deafening and ominous – the air raid siren was still echoing down the deserted street. We dashed outside I could already hear the planes grinding through the moonlit darkness. My mother robbed my arm with a clammy hand. Chills dropped down my spine, my hair stood on end. I didn’t hesitate to swiftly race down the garden. As we approached the life saving shelter I saw some tiles fall off a roof, clattering down. Finally, the cold crisp air stopped as we entered the shelter.

My heart was pounding. The dreaded sound drifted around like a wailing banshee. Life, hope, family, all of it could just float away in any direction. Suddenly, a bang tore through the night. As the bombs seemed to be getting closer, the ground shook like a volcanic eruption, the vibration of the rumbling explosion cutting through the ground. I looked at my mother the colour drained from her face. Hours later the bombs were brought to a halt, as a signal for us to exit the shelter and walk back to the house.

Engineering Challenge
The children have been using their engineering and teamwork skills to take part in the scaffold tower challenge. They were given the task of building a structure to help repair the church spire in Alne, which was to be a 1:200 scale model and had to support the weight of a cement bucket, represented by a beaker. The towers were made from only 30 straws and sticky tape and had to stand 50cm tall.  Water was slowly added to the bucket until they collapsed – sometimes quite spectacularly – and the winner was the tower that successfully supported the greatest volume of water.
We had lots of great discussion about the strength and construction of different 3D shapes and centre of gravity, with some fun demonstrations along the way.
WOOFYT workshop.  Year 5 have taken part in a fantastic workshop to learn about the Wooden One-octave Organ For Young Technologists, created by Bill Cleghorn, woth the workshop led by Jeremy Sampson.  The session comprised of: participating in a mixture of rhythm and pitch games, finding out about the science of sound, learning how to play the WOOFYT and finding out about the pipe organ.  We shared our enthusiasm and were keen to join in all aspects of the workshop, with there being something for all, science and music combined.  Just a brilliant experience.
This week in English, we have been writing ‘howlers’. In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, a ‘howler’ is a letter that is enchanted to angrily deliver a message – much to the embarrassment of the recipient! You may remember Ron receiving one from his mother after stealing the flying car.


We thought about the little things in life that sometimes get us a bit cross, and learnt about using hyperbole for comic effect – exaggerating how annoyed we are or how extreme these little problems are, to make our letters funnier. Our punctuation focus recently has been using colons to introduce a variety of different sentence structures. The children have been trying to include these in their letters, as well as using relative clauses to add extra detail totheir noun phrases.

To finish the letters off, we also used some DT skills to construct the howlers, with the final draft of the letter inside. These are now hanging on display in the classroom.

Maddie’s howler, addressed to her brother, accusing him of the heinous crime of eating both Kit Kat fingers at the same time.

Joe vented his frustration at the lack of hot water for his post-football match shower.

The weatherman was Joseph’s target. His crime: casing inclement weather that interrupts his satellite signal.


This week, we have been taking inspiration from the wizarding sweet shop, ‘Honeydukes’: famous for ‘Chocolate Frogs’, ‘Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and everyone’s favourite – ‘Puking Pastilles’. After reading extracts from the book, and getting their hands on some of the Honeydukes sweet boxes, we studied the use of different 3D shapes in product packaging and revised our knowledge of nets, before learning to draw shapes in 3D using isometric paper. The children, after thinking about what magical powers they would like their sweets to possess, designed their packaging and built nets using the computers. They constructed their prototypes and will be adding the visual aspects of their sweet boxes next week.

Caleb’s fantastic design for his ‘Climbing Fudge’ product packaging, which combines a cuboid with square-based pyramids.

Pippa’s design, featuring a cube and a semi-spherical lid

On Friday, the class visited Harry Potter studios in Leavesden as an exciting kick-start to our ‘Harry Potter’ topic for this term. After reading the first book as part of their summer homework, the  children then had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the wizarding world. They explored the sets, including the awe-inspiring Great Hall, interacted with the props (in case you were wondering, the amount of Year 5s you can fit in a blue Ford Anglia is n+1) and learnt about how J.K. Rowling was inspired to create the universe we all fell in love with.


This trip, along with the Harry Potter books, supplementary texts (such as ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and ‘The Tales of Beadle the Bard’) and, of course, the Hollywood films, will form the inspiration for our writing this term, as well as much of our topic work.