Year 4 - Beech & Elm
Welcome to Year 4!
18 December 2020
Year 4 Planet Protectors
Well, what a busy half term! We told you a while ago that we had been given a secret mission and have been so busy trying to save the rainforests. We can now share with you what we have discovered - sadly, so many problems that we would like to change. We can't fix everything but we can hopefully improve things over time.
Deforestation is a big problem is areas like the Amazon. Habitats are destroyed meaning animals, birds and insects have nowhere to live. Plants and crops cannot grow in areas where the soil becomes dry. There are consequently fewer species of animals and plants now than in previous years. Here are some soundbites from the children answering the question posed.
Why is the Amazon Rainforest so vital to the world?
Dora - "Because that's where most of our medicines and our oxygen come from."
Clancey - "Because trees produce oxygen. If you cut them down they can't store carbon dioxide and that's a toxic gas."
Florence - "Some tribes live in the Amazon Rainforest and they wouldn't want to move to cities which they would have to do if the trees are all chopped down."
Teddy - "It produces oxygen and helps us breathe."
Helena - "Because it can produce oxygen and 25% of our medicines come from there."
Gethin - "Because the rainforest produces air and oxygen and without it we wouldn't exist."
Aiden D-R - "It's home to a lot of animals and if there's no animals there will be less food and pollen and our ecosystem will be unbalanced."
Mrs Brewer, Miss Jameson, Mrs Dawson, Mrs Moore, Mrs Camerota and Miss Newman would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your good wishes and wish you all a peaceful, relaxing and safe Christmas holiday.
4 December 2020
In Year 4, we have been looking at changing states. We learned about solids, liquids and gases. We found that solids can be squashed, torn or cut and keep their shape. Liquids take the shape of the container they are in whereas gases spread out to fill the area they are in and don't keep their shape.
Seren -You can heat up a solid and make it become a liquid and you can freeze a liquid and make it become a solid.
We decided to look at substances that can change from a solid to a liquid and wondered about how they change. Ice melts in warm temperatures but we wondered if anything else would speed this process up. We talked about gritting the roads in winter and wondered if ice would melt if we added salt to it. We carried out this experiment.
Mrs Moore filled balloons with water and froze them. The balls of ice were put onto trays. Drops of food colouring were dripped onto the ice then rock salt was sprinkled on. The food colouring was just to show the movement and patterns more clearly. We watched the ice to see what happened. We used torches to look at the beautiful patterns.
Seth - We saw the ice melt. There were lines and holes plus I think there were shards. There was lots of water from the melted ice.
Arinjay- When we put salt and food colouring on the ice it started to melt.
Stanley- The salt changes the freezing temperature of water from 0 to -9 so the ice melts away.
Ethan S- The salt melted the ice. We know this because as soon as we put the salt onto the ice, it melted faster and there were bumps and cracks.
Tim - Bumps, holes and cracks quickly show that the salt melted the ice not the room temperature.
We are looking forward to our chocolate melting experiment this week!
13 November 2020
From Artists to Secret Agents
We didn’t think Year 4 could get any more exciting! We had such fun during our harvest-themed Arts Week. We created printed radishes and used water colours to paint carrots which have been displayed in the library and on our classroom windows. We also had a video call to a lady called Kieran who told us all about her charitable allotment which provides fruit and vegetables for the food bank in Stansted. We had so many questions to ask her! She suggested that we could grow vegetables at home, contact her and volunteer some gardening help and to ask our parents to visit her Facebook page, Human Roots, to gain more ideas and suggestions.
On Monday, we received a letter. We were very excited and speculated that it might have come from Father Christmas! We decided however, that it was more likely to be connected to our new topic, ‘Why is the Amazon Rainforest so vital to the world?’ As the envelope opened we could see a logo and the top of the letter said ‘TOP SECRET!’
It looked very important and we listened carefully as the letter was read to us. It gave us a mission, if we were concerned enough to accept it – we decided that we were! I would like to tell you about the mission we were given by the Planet Protector Academy and how we are going to complete it… but I fear I may have said too much already!
23 October 2020
Stone Age Homes
Well, what a busy half term we’ve had. Elm and Beech classrooms are full of Stone Age homes that we built using clay, stones, straw, sticks and leaves, art work in the style of cave paintings and silhouettes inspired by Stig in his den, fossils that we made using clay and plaster of Paris and some amazing writing. It is such a shame that you can’t visit to see all our hard work. We have been totally immersed in Stone Age life and now feel as if we could be competent cave boys and girls, hunting, painting and singing although I’m not sure that our building skills would keep us warm in the approaching colder weather!
Alison: “We got into small groups and created Stone Age houses from clay. In science, we made some fake fossils to learn how fossils are made. I liked hunting. When we went hunting, we got a foam spear and threw it at the fake animals. We also gathered berries and nuts to see what it felt like to do hunting. I enjoyed writing our caveman descriptions.”
Zach: “It was fun making the fake fossils to understand the process and I loved making houses out of clay. We also went hunting (with foam javelins) and it was great reading Stig of the Dump.”
Aidan: “We went hunting with foam javelins and hit fake animals. I enjoyed making fossils with clay.”
Our fossils were created by pressing shells into clay to make a hollow, then pouring plaster of Paris into the hole and over the clay base. Once hardened, the children excavated the clay away from the plaster to reveal their fossils.
We are looking forward to concluding our topic by finishing the book and watching the DVD of Stig of the Dump, then travelling back to present day for our new topic after the holiday.
Happy half term to you all!
9 October 2020
We Will Rock You!
Our Stone Age musicians created rock music on the field last week. Instruments were made out as many natural materials that could be found. The children soon realised that the instruments were mainly percussion and involved banging and shaking. We are going to continue making rhythms and trying to add some words to them.
Rafferty – “Making music was fun because we actually made our instruments. I used a log and sticks as percussion. I was going to use dry leaves and shake them but I didn’t like the sound.”
Florence – “I made something like a drum using a piece of slate and a stick. It made a loud noise when we bashed it. Sticks knocking sticks were quieter.”
Aiden – “I made a tapping rhythm with sticks. My partner Mason had a stone and a stick and it made a clunking noise.”
25 September 2020
Living in the Stone Age
Year 4 have been delving into the past and finding out about the Stone Age – did you know this is the longest period in pre-history and it gets its name from the simple stone tools that early humans used? We have learnt that the Stone Age covers over 3 million years and it started when the first humans came into existence. During our history lessons, we have created a timeline of the Stone Age. To do this, we found out about key events that occurred during this time and placed them in chronological order on our timeline. We also discovered that the Stone Age can be broken down into smaller time periods; the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic and found out the key differences in how human life changed in Britain during these eras. To show our understanding, we labelled our timelines with these smaller time periods and colour coded the events to show which ones took place in the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic.
In addition, we have started learning about how people lived during the Stone Age. Because there is no recorded history of this time that we can read, we have explored some of the clues left behind that archaeologists have to interpret. To help us understand this, we have read the story ‘Stone Age Boy’ and used this for inspiration for our music, art and English lessons. In the story, the Stone Age people have a party to celebrate a hunt. This made us wonder what sort of music existed in the Stone Age... We looked at photographic evidence of instruments that archaeologists have found such as flutes made of bone. We realised that lots of their music would have been percussion based such as drums and shell shakers. We have started to explore rhythms using topic-based symbols like ‘berry’ and ‘nut’ to represent beats! Next, we will be reading and writing our own Stone Age music.
Also in the story, the main character is shown a cave full of paintings. We then looked at photographs of real cave paintings and had a virtual tour of one of the caves that has been found in countries like France and Argentina. We noticed that most of them are drawings of animals. With this in mind, we have started to create our own cave painting pictures, using images from real cave paintings for inspiration. Watch this space for the finished art work!
We Will, We Will Rock You!
In science we have been investigating rocks. We have used our observation skills to identify the properties of different rocks and compared them to see what makes them different. We used digital microscopes and magnifying lenses to look closely at the rocks in order to see some of these differences. We were able to name them and describe them by referring to their texture, appearance, colour and weight. We have also carried out testing on the different rocks to determine their durability (how easily they can be worn away) through scratch tests and tested for permeability (how much water can pass through it) by soaking the rocks in beakers of water and writing our observations. The most permeable was chalk – we could see air bubbles coming out of the rock as the water soaked into it and the beaker water turned cloudy!
Stone Age Settings
In English, we have been reading a range of setting descriptions, discussing their effectiveness and how they make us, the reader, feel when we read them. We have decided that the purpose of a setting description is to set the scene to make the reader feel like they are there and create a mood. While reading these examples of setting descriptions, we have discussed the purpose of each one and identified the good quality language they use. We have written some of these down in our Writing Journals for us to use in our own writing which we are looking forward to sharing with you soon!
Our maths work has been focussed on place value in 4 digit numbers. We have been exploring this using pictorial representations and manipulatives to help us understand that these numbers are made up of thousands, hundreds, tens and ones. We will then be applying this to partitioning and ordering 4 digit numbers which will be very useful for helping us to be able to order dates on a timeline more accurately!
11 September 2020
Stepping back to the Stone Age
Year 4 have come back to school and stepped back in time. No, not to March to carry on from where we left off but to the Stone Age!
This half term we will be reading ‘Stig of the Dump’ by Clive King Year 4 have started investigating where a cave man might have lived. A Stone Age settlement was found in the forest area and the children discussed who might live there, what they might eat, how they would keep warm and how it was different from modern times.
Mason – They didn’t have houses, they lived in caves. It was warm because they had fire.
Emily – There wore animal furs to keep them warm.
Hugo – They wore animal furs… but we don’t!
Taylor – I saw an egg. They needed to eat protein.
Reggie – There was a deer skull. It was needed for meat and fur.
Catarina – I felt like I was a cave man. It felt so real!
We are looking forward to learning more about the Stone Age and creating some amazing art work. We can’t wait to share it with you.