Year 5 - Migration,… | Independent Primary School Buckinghamshire

Year 5 - Migration, Morpurgo and maps

Year 5 - Migration, Morpurgo and maps

Year 5 children have been excited to engage with their new topics this term. Kensuke’s Kingdom will take them to new lands and immerse them in new cultures and characters. The topic of Space in Science will also prove to be limitless and encourage children to formulate and answer their own questions.

They will explore the topic of Dreams and Goals in Learning for Life and consider their own future aspirations.

This term, in English, our lessons will be based on the stories of Michael Morpurgo, with a specific focus on Kensuke’s Kingdom. We will be using the story to analyse how Morpurgo creates intrigue at the beginning of his novels, how he develops his characters and how he brings his settings to life.

We have begun the term researching Morpurgo himself, giving the students an insight into the world famous author, before we see how he does his thing. We are using our research to practse methods for structuring notes to ourselves and to try to gain an insight into where they can take inspiration from when inventing their own characters and settings. Over the coming weeks, we will be using those foundations to develop the maturity of the children’s writing when creating their own unique characters and settings.

In Maths, the children have enjoyed sharing their ingenious strategies when working with numbers. For example, how might you calculate 16 x 25, compared with 17 x 13? They might look at factors of numbers or consider how 25 relates to 100. They have realised that their mental strategies are logical and may not be based on a formal learnt rule. This technique encourages independent thought and empowers the children to take charge of their learning to find efficient, yet accurate methods of computation.

Children also need to learn formal methods and have used practical apparatus to model and perform 2 x 2 digit calculation. They have solved problems and reasoned with the related money problems. They have progressed onto 4 x 2 digit multiplication and will continue to practise their formal and informal methods in the coming weeks.

Exploring space creates more questions than answers. However this half term, we are going to try together to answer some questions such as: is an earth year the same as a Neptune year; and how big is the sun? Last week we tried to picture the relative size of the sun, earth and moon. Having done lots of maths and then a bit of sense checking we decided that the earth is approximately 4X bigger than the moon and that the sun is 100X bigger than the earth. For this we compared the sun to a netball, the earth to a marble and the moon to a peppercorn. All the distances and numbers are just mind blowing and really tricky to comprehend. Year 5 even spent some of their Christmas holidays producing amazing posters, some of which are on display in the Science lab; please come to have a look.

Year 5 have been learning about different types of maps this week - ask them to see if they can remember the names. We have looked at Ordnance Survey maps in more detail; finding the highest points; physical features and analysing the different symbols that are used. In the coming weeks, we are going to follow a map of the local area (yes, actually leaving the school to follow the map). If they read the map correctly, hopefully it will lead them to treasure! Using this knowledge, the pupils will be drawing their own maps of the local area, using appropriate scales, symbols and keys.

In Drama, Year 5 and 6 embarked on a project about migration. In their first lesson, they thought about the full range of ways in which people (not they themselves) might respond to someone coming from another country. They articulated how these people might feel, from hostile to welcoming, from curious to fearful, from confused to excited at the prospect of meeting someone new. Some of the responses were,

“You’re welcome to come with me. I’ll show you around.”

“What does he want and why is he here?”

“I’m interested in that person!”

The person representing the one who left their homeland then articulated how they felt having heard these comments. Some of their ideas were,

“I feel more relaxed now because the people are welcoming.”

“I feel threatened.”

“I think this is going to be exciting!”

The children considered all the reasons why someone might leave their homeland and go to a different country, from job opportunities, to joining family, to escaping war or natural disasters, to a desire to learn about other places.

This theme will be developed by reading and listening to first person recounts of people who have emigrated to Britain, such as children involved in the Kindertransport before WW2 and EU migrants who came to Britain for work. The children will also listen to extracts of ‘Windrush Child’ by Benjamin Zephaniah.Through role play and improvisation, they will explore the emotions involved in migration and develop empathy for those who found themselves in a strange land.

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