Read all about the work we have been doing.
The Great Ladbrooke Fling Off
During Science Week, Year 5 investigated the work of an Ancient Greek inventor and engineer, Archimedes. He is best known for inventing a way to move water uphill using a mechanical screw, but Archimedes also put his impressive mind to finding practical solutions to many other problems.
The Ancient Greek world had a hot climate and because of its geography many cities were found next to the sea. Archimedes was getting into his bath tub one day when he noticed that the water had started to overflow. He famously shouted out ‘Eureka!’ He had realised that when a solid object is put into liquid, it causes the liquid to be displaced. This helped him to be able to design new ways of building safer and more reliable ships, an important part of the reason why Ancient Greece became such a powerful civilisation.
We set up an investigation to demonstrate Archimedes understanding of buoyancy. After constructing our own model boats, we loaded them with marbles. Some of the boats could hold quite heavy loads before they sank. We extended our investigation to find out whether the temperature of the water made a difference to the buoyancy of the boats. To do this we needed to set up a controlled variable experiment, so that only the temperature of the water changed at each stage of the experiment.
The ability to water food crops is vital to being able to feed people. In Ancient Greece, Archimedes made it easier by building a machine that used a rotating screw to lift water uphill from rivers onto fields where crops were growing. The science behind this machine is quite tricky so we decided to build our own models so that we could observe them in action.
Archimedes was respected for using science in his practical solutions to everyday problems and so when his city was being attacked by sea, he was asked to help to find a way to defend against the enemy. His idea was to use a large catapult to throw rocks long distances out to sea to sink the enemy ships. To see how this plan worked we designed and built our own catapults in the Great Ladbrooke Fling Off. We planned our designs and after testing out what was working and what was not we were finally able to build working models.
The final step was to test out our catapults in a simulation of the attack on Archimedes city. Dylan and Praveen became our champion engineers after they discovered that more elastic at the base of the catapult caused it to have more potential energy. Their machine, called ‘The Dominator’ managed to catapult stones more than three metres away.
Year 5 enjoyed learning about Archimedes, a scientist whose ideas have influenced scientists for over two millennia, and investigating his work through practical experiments.
Year 5: A Year of Great Debate
2016 has seen some important debates in Europe and America. In Britain, there was a referendum on membership of the European Union and in America there was a Presidential election. For the children of Year 5 these debates may well shape their future, so it is important that they begin to understand the process and values of democracy.
We have discussed the meaning of British Values; democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. After investigating the reasons put forward by the campaigns to leave the EU and to remain part of the EU, the children held their own referendum on the issue. Later, we explored the policies put forward by the candidates in the US Presidential contest and again held our own ballot. Our votes on these matters were interesting, but some children began to raise questions about why children are not allowed to vote.
Following this theme, we learnt about the development of democracy in the Ancient Greek city states. A lot of the principles we still use today in the way we run our country were developed in Greece more than 2000 years ago. However, we did find out that many more people were not allowed to vote back then, including women. Children were not allowed to vote and in many cities, they had to join the army when they were as young as 8 years old.
We also found out that some debates take a long time to be resolved. The British Museum has on display a group of marble stone statues and carvings. These are some of the most important sources of primary evidence about how the people of the ancient Greek city of Athens lived. They are referred to as the Elgin Marbles because Lord Elgin took them from Athens and brought them to England. There are many reasons why the statues should stay in England but the Greek government would like them returned to Athens, and there are good reasons for that to happen also. We debated the issue and then decided to write to the British and the Greek governments to persuade them to find a way to resolve the dispute.
These debates have been fun and the children of Year 5 have begun to see how important decisions are made.
The Ancient Egyptian Court of Akhenaten
The Vizier of Armana, from the court of the Pharaoh Akhenaten arrived at Ladbrooke School this term to supervise the preparations for a grand celebration.
The children of Year 5 and 6 imersed themselves in the lives of ancient Egyptians, as they worked to produce offerings to the sun god, Aten. This Pharaoh forced his people to worship a single god for the first time and life in Egypt during his reign, more than three thousand years ago was difficult for many ordinary people. Many believed that he would cause the real gods of the afterlife to become angry. He built a new city to live in and held many lavish celebrations to honour Aten. The children learned and performed dances and story telling at our own feast which was hosted by Akhenaten and his wife, the famous Queen Nefertiti. The day was great fun and the children developed their knowledge of this interesting period of world history a a variety of ways.
After Akhenaten died the Egyptian people decided that they would go back to worshipping lots of gods. The next Pharaoh, Nefertiti and Akhenaten's son, was Tutankhamun. The finding of his tomb was one of the most important achaeological finds of all. We are looking forward to following the story of how Nefertiti's mummified remains may have been discovered in the same tomb.
Science In Our Own Backyard
This year the school has been fortunate to see a new structure 'grow' in our own habitat, an all new outdoor classroom.
Year 5 have been investigating the local habitat to help us to think about what grows there and what lives there. In the future we hope to use our investigations to help us suggest new ideas for the outdoor area. We have study the growth cycles of flowering plants, micro organisms, insects, amphibians and mammals. The work has been very hands on, as you can see from the pictures.
We have noticed that each part of our ecosystem relies on another part in order to survive and thrive, no matter how small or large a part they play. We know that we need to look after our own enviroment carefully. Later on this year we will be thinking about how our ecosystem compares with those found in other parts of the world, especially in the rainforests.
African Charity Update
As part our topic work on Africa, in June 2015 Year 5 and 6 had a visit from a charity which makes cardboard furniture. Our visitor, Mike, explained the difficulties there are in some parts of Africa in providing basic items to assist children with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that affects movement and co-ordination. The charity makes chairs from cardboard for children so that they can sit up in a comfortable position to eat and to play, and also to learn. In most cases the children supported by this charity, Cerbral Palsy Africa, would not be able to have access to to even something as basic as a chair; they come from very poor communities and the medical expertise which we might take for granted here in Potters Bar is often not available.
Our visitor showed us lots of information about the work of the charity and explained how he had been to Kenya to help local people to learn the skills to build cardboard furniture themselves. He showed us some chairs and we helped to add strength to them using glues and newspapers. When they were finished the chairs needed to be decorated. Nice bright colours make an attractive finish, so a group Year 6 and a group of Year 5 children created designs they thought would be suitable. The chairs are often referred to as Chicken Chairs, can you guess why from the pictures?
After they were finished the chairs were labelled and sent with charity workers to Kenya. Here they were delivered to children with cerbral palsy, who immediately began to use them. We hope to hear from the families of these children in the future to increase our knowledge about their lives.
Many thanks to Mike and his colleagues at CPA for helping us to see charity in action.