Mrs Dowdall's class.

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!

Day One - Wednesday 21st June

Already we have been very busy.  Pond dipping was our first activity and the for the first time the 'Cuffley Loch Monster' captured a net!  We did get a few volunteers to go in after it , but thought better of it.  We had lunch and everything was devoured by some very hungry children.

This afternoon we had the 'Up and Under Challenge' just watching made the adults tired, but the children made it look easy, despite the heat.  Sweetie tins have been raided to keep the energy levels up and we are now looking forward to dinner cooked by Mrs Moore ... yay!

Shelter buiilding will follow before we fall into bed, hopefully exhausted!

Quote of the day ... "This place i awesome!"

On Wednesday 26th April Years 3 and 4 accompanied by some parents visited the Chiltern Open Air Museum at Chalfont St Peter to experience life in the Stone and Iron Age.

Each class participated in two workshops. Year 4 began with the Iron Age house and learned some of the skills necessary for survival in that time. The house itself is built around a round wooden frame. The walls are then built up of daub - a mixture of clay, water and animal dung. A hole would have been dug out of the ground and then the children of the tribe would have mixed the daub using their feet, tramping it down into a useable material. Luckily for Ladbrooke the museum did not need any additional building work carried out!

Inside the house were wooden frames for sleeping on. These would have been padded out with hay and then covered with animal skins for warmth. The house had a fire pit in the centre, which not only gave warmth, but was used for cooking. The fire was not allowed to go out as this was very important to the tribe.  A metal trivet was hung from above and supported an iron pan. They also had a griddle for cooking bread. A 'fridge' was made by digging a hole in the earth and covering it with a wooden lid, this enabled them to keep meat and perishables cool.

Each class had a go at making clay pots, churning butter, weaving fences, grinding wheat and making dough for the bread.

The Stone Age workshop showed children the skills that people of the day needed to have. Stone Age people were nomads, moving to wherever there was food. The children made shelters comprising of a wooden frame covered with animal skins. They also learned how to mark out the camp to keep away evil spirits, how to make fire using twigs and dandelion fluff, how to weave twine and how to cook food using the open fire.

The children were encouraged to find roots that had been hidden around the forest for them to cook. These roots were actually parsnips which were placed underneath the fire itself, left for about 30 mins, after which time they were taken out. The skin had thickened - rather like a banana skin - and so could be peeled back revealing the soft, warm skin of the roasted parsnip. It looked delicious, but sadly we were not allowed to share it!

Stone age people used the nature around them to survive. Every part of an animal killed was used, apart from the obvious, skin and meat, brains were used to soften the animal skins so they were comfortable to wear. Horn was used for making horns to call the tribe together and warn of danger, but also for drinking utencils, toggles to hold clothing together and even needles to sew with. The use of all of the animal showed the tribe's respect for its sacrifice.

The trip coincided with the sudden return of the north wind and thus a high of only 8°c, but in fact this gave us an even greater appreciation of what life would have been like in those days. Despite the cold, both classes really enjoyed their time at the museum as you can see from the slide show below.