Healthy Environment Healthy Me Club Term 2

This continues to be an exciting, eclectic club held after school incorporating many STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) aspects. The children have been surprised by the variety of activities we do and report LOVING IT!!!

This term, we have used the sycamore seeds and acorns collected, artistically: making cards and cute characters.

 

Last week, we created our own oaty breakfast bars. Even though we used dark chocolate( a special treat), we thought it would still be much healthier than bought options that have lots of added sugar. We included dried fruits, oats, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds and then took them home to share with our families.

Next week, we will be making something fruity.

Thank you to the children who attend the club for your enthusiasm and commitment to improving the environment and health of children at St John’s. I am delighted that you have enjoyed this new club so much!

Healthy Environment Healthy Me Club Term 1

This is an exciting, eclectic club held after school incorporating many STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) aspects. During initial sessions, we began to create a new trail (with the help of Gordon our volunteer) about endangered species. This is ongoing and we use miserable weather days to type up the information we have found out to printed for the trail stations.

Aiming to improve health, we have investigated sugar content in popular drinks, snacks and cereals the children eat and compared these with the recommended daily allowances. Making a poster, which is displayed in the hall, the children hope to raise awareness of the hidden sugars in many foods.

One week, we decided to work outdoors and did some weeding, planting and refilled our bird feeding stations. Additionally, we checked on the pond and discovered that even though it is late in the season, we have tiny frogs and tadpoles. There is an abundance of pond life at the moment.

We have also recycled plastic bottles and made hanging planters, bottle terrariums and self-watering planters that were planted up and taken home.

See the source image

In preparation for next term, we have collected acorns and sycamore seeds for a small art project and have planned to do some healthy cooking.  Thank you to the children who attend the club for your enthusiasm and commitment to improving the environment and health of children at St John’s.

 

 

Drastic Plastic Day October 2018

“Plastic is not so fantastic!”. Although plastic is very useful, throughout the day we learnt about the negative impact it is having on our environment, particularly the ocean. The whole school  was involved and children in each class reported back their learning at the end of the day.

Key stage 2 children were set the challenge to design a sculpture entirely made of plastic. The winning design was created by a team of parents, teaching

staff and children and entered into a nationwide competition.

On  “Drastic Plastic  Day” we were lucky enough to have a video sent by a parent (Marine Biologist) attending an international conference on plastic, in which a 9-year old spoke passionately about the problem with plastic waste and what she is doing about it. She urged others to the same. Highly motivating!

Some classes wrote persuasive letters to coffee shops and supermarkets  to encourage them to reduce their use of plastics. Others created persuasive posters to remind us to be mindful of plastic waste. Year 2s made useful pots, recycling plastic bottles and will be continuing their learning next term and looking at this topic in greater depth as a result of today. Year 4s surveyed their plastic waste at home and used the data in class to create graphs.  6M thought about solutions and have challenged the school to ditch single-use plastic bottles and opt for reusable ones promoting aluminium bottles as an even better alternative.

We encourage you all to think about small changes that can be made. Don’t use single use plastics, say no to plastic straws, reuse and recycle plastic containers are some of the small actions that will help.

It is hoped the children  will have come home and spoken about their day. If not please do ask them what they have learnt and have a discussion about small changes you can make as a family. If you have made a swap or taken an action to make a difference to reduce plastic waste,we’d love to hear about it so come and tell us at school.

 

 

 

Year 6 Lego House Build Challenge

This blog was written by Year 6W Science Ambassador, Ben C: 

Recently, Year 6 had a workshop led by Sam from BAE systems. He challenged us to build a Lego house. Sounds easy, does it? Well, we soon discovered that it was much more challenging than we thought, especially as we were given a budget of £200 from which we had to purchase our lego bricks, tiles, windows and doors.

Firstly, we needed to plan our house on a grid creating a 2-D representation and work out how many of each type of brick was needed. We were warned that we could only visit the shop ONCE!!! So we had to check we had enough money and enough supplies.

In teams of 4, we constructed our model houses. We discovered that good planning, teamwork and patience ( a lot of patience) led to greater success. This was a hugely challenging task!

“It was fun, but it was really, really hard!” Ethan.

Working as a team was the hardest part, especially making sure that everyone did equal parts of the job” Ben

The winning team showed that they had all the necessary skills.

Congratulations to the winning team!

How will they do in the final?

Astronights at the Science Museum.

Ten lucky children, accompanied by Mrs Casewell and Mrs Grimble spent Saturday night in the  London Science Museum. What a fantastic (and exhausting) experience it was!!

After setting up camp in one of the galleries, we were quickly whisked off for our safety briefing, followed by a science show ” The Super Cool show” in which we learned more about temperatures and changing states. Did you know you can change the properties of a material by changing its temperature? Have you ever wondered whether you can hammer a nail into wood with a banana? Or whether you can take the bounce out of a bouncy ball? These were some  of the concepts explored using liquid nitrogen. Also, we learned that hot always moves to cold. So, when your teacher or parent says, “Close the door, you are letting the cold air in! ” Technically, they are wrong. You are letting the warm air out!

We then played Chemistry BINGO and watched some “cool” chemical reactions. Our favourite being “Elephant Toothpaste”.

Following  this, we created our own screen printed T-shirt and explored our sense of taste, before watching another demonstration on chemical reactions. It was then time for bed and twelve exhausted (but well – entertained) “astronighters” snuggled in their sleeping bags.

Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early, had breakfast and headed to the IMAX theatre. We donned our special glasses and watched a 3-D film about the Hubble telescope and how astronaughts maintain and service it. We ventured beyond our own galaxy to explore phenomena beyond that which we can see from earth. It was fascinating and awe-inspiring.

No trip to the science museum would be complete without a session in the Wonderlab. Here we had the freedom to explore, investigate, puzzle and experiment in the hands-on gallery.  For many children, this was the highlight of the trip! So much learning and so much fun!

This was a wonderful night.We hope the children who were lucky enough to attend, will tell others  about their experiences and that they will remember their night at the science museum for many years to come.

 

Year 6 Visit to Down House : Darwin’s Home

This post has been written by  Year 6 Science Ambassadors, Mac and Isaac.

On the 1st October 2018 and 23rd September 2018, Class 6M and 6W went to Charles Darwin’s house: Down House. To learn more about the theory of evolution as it is our Class topic for Term 1, we explored Darwin’s home by looking in the greenhouse, at the beehive, and in all the rooms in his house.

Upstairs there was a hallway with a container with loads of birds which we found interesting. There was also a hologram of Charles Darwin on his trip inside the HMS Beagle. Inside his office/study were lots of things that he would have examined carefully. In another room was a games table that he bought with the money from selling his father’s watch!

An additional room had a first edition copy of the book ‘On the Origin of Species’ and a theory of how he had died: a Benchuca bug gave him a disease but it was only a theory and it was not true.

In summary, we all had a great time exploring Charles Darwin’s famous house and it helped us with our topic of evolution.

Mackenzie and Isaac L

AH!! So there’s the pond!

I thought I’d share the wonderful news that our pond has been revamped this week. Whilst we were all cheering on our children on Sports day, a team of volunteers led by North West Kent Countryside Partnership were busily tidying and rejuvenating our pond area. Upon arrival, the pond (although hard to spot the actual pond) looked like this:

In year 4, the children, as part of their Science topic and literacy lesson wrote persuasive letters to Mrs Quirk on the advantages  having a pond and the detrimental effect not having it any longer would have on our school environment. They must have been very persuasive, as this is what the pond area now looks like:

In addition to the pond work, they installed a fabulous new composting area and cleared nettles and brambles around the bug hotels, making them more accessible to the children. Through the day, they discovered plenty of tools that the chidlren can now use to help maintain this area.

I am so excited to hear that years 2,4 and 5 are planning to visit this area within the next few weeks as part of their science learning and I know that it will be well utilised in future to support classroom learning.

Thank you to those who helped and made it possible.

 

 

 

 

MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK

On Saturday, we were delighted to be able to install our new science trail with the help of North West Kent Countryside Project. The trail was installed in no time at all thanks to the many parents and staff who generously donated their time to help. We had some amazing hole diggers and superb power tool users too! Thank you so much for helping us.

Because the trail was installed so swiftly, we set about clearing and tidying the school gardens and wildlife area which are now looking fabulous.

Many thanks to all who helped on the day and to those who have offered to help in future too! It really does show that “many hands make light work”.

What a super surprise

This week, we returned to school after the Easter break greeted by beautiful Spring/Summer weather. Not only that, we have discovered ( much to our delight) that we have eggs in one of our nesting boxes. Some Blue Tits have decided that Sophia’s bird box would be the perfect place to lay their eggs. Over the holidays, whilst the school was peaceful, they have done exactly that! There are now eight  tiny spotted eggs in a cosy nest. We are so excited to see what happens and it is very tempting to peek inside the box but we are doing our best to resist  temptation and hoping that all is well and that the eggs will hatch soon. We wait in anticipation. Here is a sneak peek inside:

I wonder if anyone knows how long they will take to hatch?

Do you know how long they will stay in the birdbox for after they hatch?

Let me know what you find out.

Year 5 STEM club – term 4

As 2018 is the Year of Engineering, Science Club became a STEM club this term with an engineering focus. Twelve lucky Year 5 children have used their STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills over the course of the term to tackle several engineering challenges.

Firstly, using their design skills they created trebuchets, investigating whether lighter or heavier objects travelled the furthest. Additionally, they explored the angle ( created by increasing the height by usin more lollipop sticks) of the launch and how this affected the distance travelled.

Isabelle: ” We tested whether putting a spoon on the end worked better than without”

In subsequent weeks, they explored packaging and designed and made packaging to transport a single Pringle to Anthony Roper in the “Pringle Challenge”. We are all looking forward to hearing back from them to see whose design protected the crisp the best.

They then were set the challenge to build a balloon powered car.

Olan: ” We worked out that we needed to ensure the car was not too big for the power generated by the inflated balloon.”
Isaac: ” We learnt the vehicle needed to be well-balanced and aerodynamic”

In the Dyson Marble Run challenge, they set about making a marble run using boxes and cardboard. The easiest part was creating the run; the hardest part was meeting the time challenge of 30 seconds.  Ben : ” The less of the angle on the slope  the slower the marble runs.  The steeper the angle, the quicker the run.”

Emily: “It was great to be able to design and build lots of interesting and different things” 

Harvey: ” I  enjoyed the STEM club more than  I thought. I liked doing the engineering a lot more than than the physics and chemistry because we were able to make lots of things.”