Albert Einstein remarked, ‘Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted’. That’s certainly true in a school, particularly when the personal development of pupils is placed at the heart of its education.
Nevertheless, numbers are the great international language of our world. A world which increasingly communicates with statistics and graphics and expects young people in the workforce to be confident and flexible in solving problems. According to the World Economic Forum, the top three most important skills for preparing young people for modern employment are complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. This week we touched base with newly appointed Head of Mathematics, Mrs Rainsford, to find out more about the varied Maths projects in Years 3 to 8 and the methods by which Maths contributes to preparing our children for the future.
Recently, Year 3 have been adding 3-digit numbers, and solving a range of number problems and puzzles. They have also been practising their times-tables and have learned about different types of angles. The focus this week has been on solving subtraction problems by counting up, using the ‘frog’ method, and pupils have used real-life money situations to find change in pounds and pence.
Year 4 have been working on statistics (data handling), interpreting pictograms, bar graphs and line graphs. The children have been introduced to the concept of discrete and continuous data, and working on time/distance graphs, making narratives to match the data in their graphs. The Year 4 children have also spent two weeks on division and have used and applied their skills to solving word division problems and reasoning challenges.
Year 5 have been learning about factors, multiples, square numbers, cube numbers and primes. Working collaboratively, pupils have used their knowledge of factors, to find ‘perfect numbers’, a positive integer that is equal to the sum of its factors excluding itself (6 is the first one). Interactive games, such as Nrich’s ‘Factors and Multiples’ game have challenged pupils to find the longest ‘chain’ of multiples and factors.
This term, Year 6 have embarked on the Frogs Investigation, an extended project that requires strategy and perseverance, and the application of previously-learnt algebraic and sequencing skills. To solve the investigation, pupils must work logically and systematically on this open-ended problem, record their findings, identify and explore patterns and establish a general rule to find the solution. The results have been impressive. Aaron in Mr Mutucumarana’s class has taken his understanding of the Frog project one step further and has made the following video detailing how the frogs have to jump or slide to get to their destination.
Meanwhile Year 7 have been enjoying the wonders of algebra. Mr Mageean’s class took an imaginary trip to the ‘Golden Arch’ restaurant to solve simultaneous equations and find the cost of different menu items. Using Angry Birds as a theme, other pupils have been plotting linear graphs; pupils scored points on their Angry Birds graphs for successfully finding the pigs! This week, Miss Romera’s Year 7 and 8 classes have enjoyed a selection of puzzles in the form of a Valentine’s Relay.
Finally, Year 8 have been working on surface areas and volumes of 3D shapes. In preparation for the forthcoming Junior Maths Challenge, pupils have been working on a variety of UKMT papers and questions, Junior Maths Challenge papers, Junior Kangaroo papers and Junior Maths Olympiad past papers. These questions require pupils to draw on a range of topics and encourage the development of problem solving skills.
Following our focus on English last week, we have received more wonderful pieces of writing and have included these in the side bar of this newsletter, so you can see the impressive literary skills of our pupils.
On Monday, after starting the day with an extended Registration and Tutor time, pupils in Years 3 to 8 left their screens behind and embarked on a range of tasks which promoted creativity, mental awareness and kindness. Later in the day, Houses came together for special assemblies and then everyone was encouraged to enjoy an hour of physical activity, as part of a structured session from the Sports Faculty or as a family by walking, running or cycling in their local area. Given the weather, many understandably chose to enjoy fun and games in the snow! We are delighted that our children revelled in these different activities and chose to share details of their photography, letter writing, art, music practice, den building, snowball making and acts of kindness. We have received much positive feedback thanking the school and in particular the Wellbeing Day Coordinator, Miss Kennerley, for organising this off-timetable day.
In keeping with the theme of wellbeing, our Art teachers, Mrs Bowes and Mrs Ankin, have been very pleased with the wonderfully creative work that pupils have been producing in their own time, as well as in Art lessons. Space prevents us from showing all the work in this edition of the newsletter, so we have included a couple of pieces from Year 8 pupils below, and will show more in the newsletter after half-term.
Pupils in our youngest year groups have been thinking about national Safer Internet Day, which was on Monday. Foundation children read stories and talked about staying safe on the computer – which is not, as one child charmingly thought, ‘’remembering not to walk off attached to my computer via headphones!” They also read stories that made them think about the validity of online information. This week, Foundation children have been learning about positional language, such as ‘next to’, ‘between’, ‘in front’ and ‘under’, using teddy bears to show different positions.
Meanwhile Year 2 have been exploring, and building 3-D shapes this week, both in school and at home. Numerous materials look to have been used in creating cubes and pyramids, and I suspect many marshmallows were consumed in the process!
Today saw a display of extravagant costumes, online and in the classrooms, as the children and their teachers celebrated Pre Prep Book Character Dressing-Up Day.
Bentley House Virtual Pet Show
Bentley House celebrated pets during their House Assembly time on Monday. A series of categories allowed pupils to enter their (not always) furry friends for judging by the Year 3 and 4 critical worker pupils who were in school. Categories included Best Trick, Scruffiest Pet, Most Unusual Pet and the Pet that Year 3 and 4 would most like to take home. The range of animals on show was astonishing, from dogs and cat to ants and stick insects. As a ‘curtain raiser’, Mrs Helliwell and I were asked to show off Mollie our Jack Russell, who dutifully demonstrated her ‘talent’ in becoming very excited by the lighting of our fire, though given the arctic temperatures this week it is perhaps not such a surprising response.
Newton House Acts of Service
Earlier this term, Newton House children were asked to kick-start the New Year with an act of kindness or service. This initiative replaced what would have been Newton’s House Charity event for the whole school. Children were asked to help or support someone at home in order to make a positive difference to that person’s day or week. The uptake from the children has been tremendous and their sincere selfless acts of service are a delight to see. During their House Assembly on Wellbeing Day, Mrs Hames talked the children through the wonderful variety of acts of kindness recorded.
5B Baking Challenge
Billie in 5B recently challenged her class mates to a baking challenge, sharing her Pound Cake recipe with the class and then tasking everyone with making their own version of the cake. Mrs Switsur was delighted with the way her class all joined, as you can see from the photos. 5B seem to have become quite the chefs in the making, having also created innovative club sandwiches. Perhaps they will share their recipes with Head Chef, Kevin, for us all to enjoy when school reopens.
Show Racism the Red Card
As part of their PSHCE curriculum, Year 5 are busy exploring Diversity and Racism. St Faith’s has entered the ‘Show Racism The Red Card’ calendar competition to encourage the children to use their voice and creative talents to stand up against racism. Mrs Switsur, Head of PSHCE, has been impressed by the creative and thoughtful posters developed by Year 5 pupils in addressing this very important topic.
Despite the rapid advances of technology, it is reassuring to see how some traditional children’s toys have endured the test of time, and there is no better example than Lego. In this self-made film, James in 8B has shown excellent creative and problem-solving skills by using Lego to produce a humorous sketch about home-learning.
Speaking of humour, these pictures of a Year 7 Drama activity are well worth a look and certainly made me giggle. I love the canine James Bond look-a-like.
Half-term will provide a much-welcomed break away from screens and hopefully, time to rest and recuperate with your family. Thank you again for all your support with the Home Learning programme. I very much hope that we have just a short period of online learning after half-term, before our community can reunite once again.
In the meantime, I send you and your family my very best wishes.