Mrs Dowdall's class.

On Tuesday 1st May Year 4 chidlren visited Potters Bar Tennis club to practise the skills they have been learning in PE. After a deluge the day before, the children were waiting with baited breath to see what the weather had in store for them. Luckily we were greeted by clear blue skies as we walked around the corner to the club.

In pairs, chidlren practised their techniques, with all of them managing to get the ball over the net to their partner. The highest number of hits in a rally was 58 - well done Mack and Kristian!

As you can see from the slideshow below, the children had a fabulous time. Also, there were some who demonstrated a natural flair for the game, so watch out for them at Wimbledon in a few years time!  


This term the topic in Years 3 and 4 is 'In the Spotlight'. To introduce the topic the children visited Harry Potter World, Leavesden to see for themselves, all of the things that are required to create the film.

Once inside the building the chidlren were greeted and shown vidoe clips of how the film and the Harry Potter stories came to the big screen. It was very interesting to learn that the book had originally been passed to a junior member of the film production team, who read it and was unable to put it down. Her boss read it and realised that this book was something special and the rest, as they say is history.

After our introductory tall we walked through the enormous doors into the Great Hall. Although our trip was after Christmas, we were lucky enough to still be able to see the huge Christmas tree and ice decorations that made the scene even more special. The Great Hall had been set with food for a Christmas feast. Although the props were not real this time, for the original film the food was real and as it took quite a few days for the scenes to be filmed, the smell apparently was quite awful by the end of filming.

The children then made their way through the attractions, seeing Harry's dormitory, Dumbledore's office and the potion shop. They learned that filming often is done in front of a green screen initially, so that digital backgrounds can be more easily added afterwards. To prove the point, the children were seated on a 'broomstick' stool and had their photograph taken in front of a green screen. When they collected their photographs the green screen had been replaced by a background which appeared to show them flying through the air.

Perhaps the favourite for most of the class was the Forbidden Forest, where smoke can out of the roots of the trees and the children were faced by the HUGE spiders which crept down from their hiding spot towards them. This caused more than a few shrieks along the way. Then it was time to board the Hogwart's Express at platform 9 3/4.

We visited the Worsley's house which looked just like a real house from the outside, but once inside the children were able to see the wooden frames and metal structures holding it all together. The way they make the bricks look so real is amazing. Next, some of them rode in the Ford Anglia used in the film, but luckily for us they didn't fly off!

The penultimate scene was Diagon Alley which again was so realistic. Then came the grand finale, the model of Hogwarts. This was absolutely incredible, measuring 50 feet across. The work was so extensive that if you added all  the man hours that have gone into building and reworking the model, it would come to over 74 years.

The children had a fabulous day, learning about all the props and people needed to make the film.




During the week of 16th October, Ladbrooke held an Investigative Science Week. In Year 4 our investigation was trying to find the best material to use as a mop, as Mrs Dowdall had found that when she mopped the floor, it remained very wet for a while afterwards. So we decided we needed to find the most absorbant material to do the job.

The class split into 5 groups and designed an experiment which we hoped would help us to find an answer. Each group had 5 or six strips of different materials to try. We attached strips of the material to a laminated grid. This was to make reading our results easier. We added food colouring to a tray of water, so that we could easily see which material had absorbed the most amount of water. Materials that we tested included; j-cloth, corduroy, bubble wrap,knitted cotton dishcloth, wadding, ribbon, plastic packaging and sponge.

Once each table had their results, we put them into a chart and then created a graph using Excel. We talked about the best format to use and put the data into a pie chart, bar chart, line graph and donut. Most of us decided that a bar chart was the best format to use, although one group chose a donut chart.

Someof the results did surprise us and we didn't get a cler winner overall, although we did have fun testing the materials as the photogrpahs below show.



On Monday 11 September the whole school was treated to a visit from a Mad Scientist in assembly, before years 3 and 4 had a workshop linked to the current topic 'What Lies Beneath Us?'.

We were shown how the earth is similar to a boiled egg - who would have thought it? This is because if you cut across the egg, the shell, albumen and yolk look like the three layers of the earth - the crust , mantle and core. We had some rather large guesses about how wide the earth was, but finally learned that the crust is between 3 and 25 miles thick, compared to the Earth's diameter, which is approximately 10,000 miles across. This means that the part we live on is actually quite thin.

We also learned that there are rocks all around us and that these can be one of three types; metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous. Each of the three types is made in different ways. By heat, pressure or a mixture of both and they all have different properties.Next, we went outside and did some prospecting - sieving sand to find hidden gems. These were very colourful and everyone had some examples they took home in their own gem pouch.

Our next activity was trying to smash a piece of geode to reveal the crystal inside. Some groups fared better than others, but in the end, using a rubber mallet and lots of muscles we managed to break the geode and everyone tooka  piece of crystal to add to their collection.

Our grand finale was to create our own volcano. Using a pack of mentoes and bottle of cola, we created an eruption in the playground.

Now we will be seeing how all this learning fits into our topic. As you can see from the photos below, the children really enjoyed their learning.





Day 2

Guess what? We actually got some sleep - maybe not as much as usual, but sleep is sleep!

This morning we have been searching for clues, looking animal habitats. We founds lots of rabbit holes, an old badger hole and lots of insects - cool. Our hard work called for copious amounts of biscuits - yummy. We are all busy practising for Cuffley's Got Talent and our special guests arrival.

MR SMITH'S REVENGE! - Anyone with children in year 5 will be pleased to learn Mr Smith has exacted revenge on the squirrels. After the sneaky strikes of last year & a mini assault by the critters yesterday, they came back for seconds, but the goodies had been tactically moved to Mrs Dowdall's car and Mr Smith quickly blocked their escape route. To see Mr Smith gloating as the trapped squirrels peered forlornly out of the window - PRICELESS! Hopefully they have learning their lesson and won't be back.

We've got the assault course after lunch, then the talent show + BBQ tonight - busy, busy.

Hi-de-hi from your (weary) yellow coats!

P.S. Sooo excited to receive your letters