Year 5 - African tales… | Independent Primary School Buckinghamshire

# Year 5 - African tales and the importance of prime numbers

As part of our study of African tales, Year 5 has been enjoying the story of Kirikou, a small but incredibly brave and resourceful boy who takes on the evil Karaba. This cruel sorceress chose to punish the villagers by drying up their well. The children created their own spells for her, including African animals and features. They wrote in rhyming couplets, such as ‘Take the lungs from two baboons, Mix them well with five cocoons.’

In addition to writing their own poems, the Year 5 children gave excellent recitals of African poems for the House Poetry competition. Our reading of the gripping adventure set in South Africa, ‘The White Giraffe’ continues and things are getting very tense for the protagonist Martine. All in all, we have immersed ourselves in African stories and have thoroughly enjoyed reading, watching and writing them.

In Maths, we often talk about the relevance of our learning in the real world. The topic of prime numbers has provided an opportunity for lots of discussion. The children have used various tests of divisibility, i.e. what whole numbers divide into a given number? For example, they have discovered that if the sum of all digits of a large number is divisible by 3, then the large number is also divisible by 3. They have used factor trees to find prime factors and used square, cube and other powers of numbers to represent them.

The children have learnt that the most common use of prime numbers is in security. In order to secure credit card details, medical records, even some messaging services like WhatsApp, engineers make algorithms using prime numbers. By multiplying two very large prime numbers together (some companies use prime numbers that are hundreds of digits long!), we create an even larger number whose original factors (the two very large prime numbers) are only known to us. We then use this even larger number to encrypt our information. If anyone else wants to discover what information we are sending, they have to find out what our original factors were, which we know can be really tricky!

So far this term, we have been investigating changing states between solids, liquids and gases. We have completed investigations about reversible and non reversible reactions. It has been a brilliant opportunity to use the bunsen burners. We heated water into which we dropped an egg and at the same time set fire to a piece of bread. The ensuing smoke from the charred bread and hard egg white and yolk were indisputable proof of a non reversible reaction. The children were able to compare this with a previous investigation when they watched water evaporate and then condense in a reversible reaction. We then thought of all the examples of different reactions which take place at home in our kitchens.

In Music we have been having fun exploring beat and rhythm patterns from different musical styles. Year 5 has focused on Ghanian drum patterns, based on speech patterns, which has complemented the English work on African tales. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas now, as we prepare songs and carols for our Christmas carol concert in December!

In Art and Design & Technology, Year 5 pupils have been participating in the House Art competition. The theme this year has been Diwali, with pupils researching the art form of making rangoli patterns. Pupils have worked in teams to design and create their own vibrant and original rangoli. The finished pieces will be judged and points awarded accordingly to each house. Watch this space for further details!

Year 5 are continuing a little longer with their German language practice this term. They have been learning numbers, to introduce themselves, phrases to describe weather conditions, dates and ages. Now they are learning German to talk about who is in their family.