Patron of Reading Steve Skidmore

Recently we had a visit from our Patron of Reading Steve Skidmore who gave out awards to pupils who had excelled in a writing competition. The children wrote letters to Mother Nature about how they would make changes to make the world a better place.

Electricity! Quiz machines.

In Year 4 we have been combining our Design Technology, Science and Inquiry work to create electronic quiz machines. We learned about electricity and circuits and then applied this to planning, building, testing and reviewing our work. If you can answer a difficult question about the Romans and the Celts and select the correct answer the circuit will be made complete and the light bulb will turn on. We tested our quizzes on our Headteacher and Assistant Headteacher.

Happy Halloween or as we learned Happy Samhain.

In Year 4 we have been learning about Samhain which was the Celtic celebration that marked the end of their calendar year. They believed that the line between the living world and dead became blurred on the 31st October. We made masks and wrote Samhain poems. Here are the masks that we made. They are terrifying we know!

What did they eat? How did they cook?

We discovered a possible answer to two more of our questions in our current guided reading book. The Neolithic people ground flour from seeds, mixed in with water to make a dough and cooked the bread on stones heated by fire. We were excited to try this in our Neolithic archaeology experiment!

It was the best bread that some of us had ever tasted even if we were a bit dirty afterwards!It must have been so much work just to make one little piece of bread!

Guided Reading: Stone Age Style!

We are looking at this book in our guided reading sessions.

We noticed that the front cover seemed to be a real stone age picture and we looked at the contents to find out more about the art of the Stone Age. They used their art to tell stories, keep their history and express themselves like we use books to now. So we had a go at telling our own Stone Age stories:

Potatoes!

We had a visit from some scientists from the John Innes Centre, talking about growing vegetables. They set us a challenge to grow some potatoes in bags for Christmas. Mrs King helped us to plant them. We will update you as they grow.

Update: Did the houses have roofs?

We returned to our experimental model houses after a few days to see if they had survived the weather. Here are our results:

Things that went well

  • The roof sticks stayed in the ground as we had made sure that they were pushed in well.
  • Some of us had used leaves to cap off the roof. These stayed on because they were spiked onto the wood.

Things that didn’t go so well

  • The grass we used had mostly blown away. It was hard to attach it to the wood.
  • Some of the houses had not been tied tight enough and came untied

Conclusion

We have decided that loose dead grass is not the way. Although the leaves worked, it might have been hard to find leaves big enough for a real sized house.

Bella-Rose found a picture of a reconstruction where they had put material over the sticks.

We also now think they put dirt over the top of this a grew grass over like this…
We are starting now to make a model of Skara Bare using our ideas.

Pictures to follow.

Did the houses have roofs?

One of our questions was about the roofs of the houses that were built into the ground. We talked about the fact that it was so long ago that much of the house may have rotted away. We looked at how they may have constructed the roofs with wood.

Now we have a design that we think will work we have constructed our own house to experiment with how they were covered. We think they may have used grass and leaves.

More updates to come.

Foraging and Gathering

Now that we have chosen to investigate our questions using experimental archaeology, we have begun to set up our site.

First, some our our archaeologists set up make shift shelters using the string and furs that the Neolithic people would have had at the time (we didn’t have furs so we used waterproof sheets!).

Meanwhile, the other investigators spent some time seeing whether it was possible to forage enough food from the surrounding area. Despite finding plenty of things we could eat, we decided that it would not last us very long.

This meant that the people of Skara Brae must have had something else that gave them food other than gathering as their ancestors did.

West Earlham Junior School
Scarnell Road, Norwich NR5 8HT

Telephone: 01603 454569
Email: office@westearlhamjunior.norfolk.sch.uk

Headteacher: Mrs Catrin Parry-Jones
School Business Manager: Mrs Beverley Savage