Academic Extension Days Michaelmas 2020
On the last day before the half term break, Years 3-8 enjoyed the first Academic Extension (AcE) Day of the school year. These ‘off-timetable’ days provide extended activities and projects which enrich our pupils’ understanding both within and beyond the set curriculum.
Year 3 arrived at school dressed as Egyptians and spent the day immersed in the world of Ancient Egypt. They crafted their own scarab beetles from clay, learnt to communicate using hieroglyphics and created Egyptian themed collages.
Not be outdone, Year 4 arrived at school dressed as Romans brandishing their home-made Roman battle shields! (show my photo). During the day, pupils planned a traditional Roman banquet, writing their own menus. They also made Roman coins and took part in a Roman army training camp that included (foam) javelin throwing, marching skills and long jumping!
Year 5 meanwhile spent the day in the science laboratories, gaining a deeper understanding of science and climate change. They also combined their knowledge of the climate with creative skills in the art rooms, where they were influenced by the works of Dutch graphic artist Maurtis Escher who made mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints.
Year 6 pupils have been studying rivers as their topic in Humanities this term. They spent AcE Day welly-deep in Hobson’s brook, our local historic water course that changed the fortunes of Cambridge with its delivery of clean water to the city in the 16th century. From water depth to flow measurements the children took to their geography field work like ducks to water (pun intended).
Year 7 enjoyed a day of two parts. Time was spent gaining a better understanding of their physical and mental wellbeing, including the influence of social media on mental health and the beneficial effects of exercise and mindfulness on managing mood. They also spent part of their day in the engineering workshop and outside, learning more about the workings of the Goblin go-karts, and having the opportunity to drive the cars.
Year 8 reflected on their time at St Faith’s as they prepared their individual pages for the Leavers’ Book – a photographic memory of their St Faith’s journey – which will be presented to each Year 8 at the end of the Summer Term. They also had a session with our nursing staff, learning a range of highly useful first aid strategies including resuscitation and CPR. They rounded off their day with a talk from a former England Hockey player on the psychology of sports and how to develop a winning mentality.
During the second Academic Extension day Year 3 combined English, Art and Engineering as they spent the day exploring the Quentin Blake classic, Mrs Armitage on Wheels. They read and listened to an audio version of the story before writing their own acrostic poems to consolidate their learning. They designed their own bikes for the eccentric Mrs Armitage to ride and spent time in the Hive understanding the basic functions of gears. The day ended with the pupils writing a picnic menu and making a plasticine picnic basket for Mrs Armitage before engaging in an immensely fun role play of ‘Mrs Armitage Goes Surfing!’
Los Peces en el Rio! (The Fish in the River) formed the basis for a Spanish-themed day for Year 4 who enjoyed a combination of Spanish music and poetry with arts and crafts, as they delved into this classic story.
Meanwhile Year 5 enjoyed their first opportunity to get behind the wheels of the school-famous Goblin go-karts. From working collaboratively on bodywork designs to driving the cars the Year 5s were given a taste of what it is like to be a part of the Green Goblins club.
Year 6 used their day to develop their study skills. Sessions throughout the day focused on the essential skills of time management, problem solving, logical reasoning and how to conduct reliable internet research.
Year 7 focussed on their Arts Awards, which they will be working on throughout this academic year. On Tuesday their main focus was on skills sharing, a key part of the Arts Award and one which the pupils find particularly enjoyable. Pupils were challenged with teaching one of their classmates a particular skill in art, drama or music.
Year 8 focused on exam techniques. They attempted Maths and English papers, developed their verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills and learnt how to prepare realistic revision plans. This helped them prepare for both their imminent senior school entrance exams and also for the exams they will be sitting in the future.
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