English Club : Water (Making a raft and having a race)

Our last class for the Thursday group this term. Unfortunately we only had two members – being the end of the school term, kids have started early holidays and have school trips, etc – but we had fun anyway, exploring our last element, water.

Starting with an ice-cream…

 We scooted down to the river, and I read them A.A.Milne’s excerpt from ‘The House At Pooh Corner’, about the game ‘pooh sticks’, and how to play it.

And then of course, we played it..

Having watched the flow of the river take our sticks under the bridge, we went on to make mini rafts…

..which we then floated on the river, and raced them down the river, using the flow of the water….

And Maya just couldn’t help but dance in the river afterwards! πŸ˜„


English Club : Stone Walk

Our final class for the Monday group, and our final ‘geology class’.

We celebrated with a ‘stone walk’ – their mission was to complete the following…

Starting with an ice-cream…

These are some of the examples taken of ‘rock used by and for mankind’…

…and rock in ‘natural settings’….

(The above picture was focused on the rock in the person’s garden..)

Along the way, the kids were asked to collect samples of the three kinds of rock, igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic, and then to sort them all in to groups – much trickier than expected!

A nice ending to the term… πŸ˜„

English Club : Our last element ;Water (What does it do?)

It was absolutely deluging with rain outside, so unfortunately we couldn’t experience water at the lake or the river, as I had originally intended.

So, instead, we experimented with water inside. We first talked about how much water we had on earth, how it was the most important thing on earth and why,  how it tasted, smelled and what it looked like.

We then went to talk about how it reacted, first comparing water to our sand marble runs we made last week. What would water do? It would run down. Why? Because of gravity. What did we need to combine the sand in to a stronger shape? We needed water. Water reacts with materials, changing it’s form.

Then we tried two experiments, both to do with the above facts. The first was seeing how water ran downwards, by the scrunching of paper, and using pipettes and coloured water to drop on the paper, see the rivers it makes, and open it up to see the ‘art work’. The fun part was using two different types of paper – normal printing paper, and watercolour paper, to see which held the water the longest. The watercolour paper was by far the strongest!

We then tested how water could change materials, by using cornflour, and making oobleck. Such a successful experiment with the Monday group, I wanted to try it with this group too. And they loved it! πŸ˜„

This group, being slightly younger, found it much harder to add the exact amount of water for the right consistency – thus truly experiencing how water changes form!

Some of the students were away this week on holiday and at concerts, so we had a small group. πŸ˜„

English Club : Worm Farm Sketches & Sand Runs!

We had a mixed activity english class on Thursday. I wanted to kids to observe, sketch and write a little in English about the worm farm, using certain words…

We had observed that the worms had been busy making tunnels, and moving the earth in to the sand, and vice versa.

As we are presently looking at the element of ‘earth’, and have been looking at what the earth is made up of  (having looked and explored clay, and now soil) we now moved on to sand…..

We went down to the lake, and started to attempt to make marble runs from sand…

Alfie even joined us for a bit!

The kids worked hard, but this was a really tricky task! And sadly we didn’t manage to quite get those marbles rolling down our runs! 

This enabled us to talk a little about the earth’s pull, of gravity.

Of course, being by the lake, on a warm day, we couldn’t help but paddle!

Which brings us nicely in to our last element, of water! πŸ˜„

English Club : The ‘Marble Effect’ (Metamorphic Rock)

On Monday we read about our last rock type, metamorphic rock. I explained about why it was called ‘metamorphic’, what happened, and what it looked like, and then showed them a couple of examples, including of marble.

One of the kids had earlier asked to bake, so I thought, what better way to show the ‘marble effect’ than by baking marble cake! πŸ˜„

So, each kid had to read and follow the instructions in the recipe….

…and while the cake was in the oven, we went through the entire ‘rock cycle’ and I asked the kids to draw their own version….

And of course we ate the cake! Which was delicious! 😊

English Club : Worms!

As our attempt at ‘worm pudding’ failed when we tried to last make it, I made it for the kids ahead of time…

Chocolate pudding, crushed Oreo biscuits and gummy worms! πŸ˜†

The kids enjoyed eating this while I read them the story of ‘dirt’ – it’s importance in the world, why we need it – and about some of creatures who ‘make it happen’…

We then went outside to make a worm farm…

Taking care to layer the tank with sand and earth, we sprayed the top with water and put some old leaves and fruit on the top too.

We will be observing the tunnels they make next week (and at home this week with my own children).

The kids loved this. It was great to see their enthusiasm – and even one kid who dared to pick up a worm (albeit with a spade) who had always steered clear of them before! πŸ˜†

English Club : OobleckΒ 

So it was a beautifully hot and sunny day, and at 25C , I just knew that the boys wouldn’t feel like doing a ‘real’ lesson inside. I also knew that they really wanted to continue with the Oobleck experiment……

So, after an ice-lolly and a long chat in the garden (in English of course, because after all, that’s what it is all about!), we read a book about the rock cycle, including about our final rock type – metamorphic (what it is, and how it is made)…..

We looked at some examples of metamorphic rock in a book, and a real example of marble….

…and then we went on to the real fun…mixing water, cornflour and food colouring, to make ‘Oobleck’….

As I said previously, it’s wonderful to see these teen boys get to chance to explore, and enjoy, this relaxing sensory ‘play’… πŸ˜„

English Club : Sandstone & Chalk

Having talked last week about sedimentary rocks, and how they’re made, this week, I told the kids about two specific  kinds of sedimentary rocks – sandstone and chalk.

We looked at some real sandstone…

I explained about how these rocks form huge formations (such as Bruce Canyon) and cliffs (such as the cliffs of Dover), and showed them photographs of these.

We then went on to make, firstly sandstone (using sand, water and cornflour), and our own sculptures….

…and then we went on to make our own chalk, using cornflour, water and food colouring. The kids loved doing this, and we hope to try out our chalks next week… 

It’s nice for these older boys to have a chance to ‘play’ with these craft recipes. It seems to be very therapeutic for them… πŸ˜„

English Club : What Can We Make From Our Soil?

The answer is, shepherds pie! πŸ˜„

I had planned to do other activities with our soil in the garden, but it was pouring with rain, so I had to change my plans.

I decided to get the group to make a traditional english dish ‘shepherds pie’ for dinner…

And what has this to do with ‘earth’ ?

Everything in this recipe is either grown in the earth, or is food which is grown in the earth, used to feed the animal in the recipe (cow). πŸ˜ƒ

Earth (soil) is very important to us!

English Club : Sedimentary Rocks

This week we learnt about what a sedimentary rock was, how it becomes one, and what it is made up of.

We took clay, sand, gravel and water, and put them in a lidded jar, shook them up, and watched them settle, to see how sediment settles in the real world…

We will observe this again next week.

We also made a mixture of flour, sand, salt, water and oil, to make a dough, as our ‘rock’, to which we added different coloured ingredients   (cocoa powder, pepper, paprika and tumeric), which we then squashed together, to show how our sedimentary rock is layered. 

We talked about how rocks get weathered (through sun, ice and wind), and eroded through being moved and broken in various ways. Then how the tiny rocks settle on the land or on the sea bottom, and eventually become new rocks – sedimentary rocks – natures way of recycling. 

We also continued adding the dissolved alum and food colouring to our egg geode experiment from last week… πŸ˜„