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 : 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 : 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˜„

Chalking Around Shadows With Friends

Yesterday Ted and his friends enjoyed the sun, chalking around their shadows…

It was a great bit of spontaneous education – talking about the sun being high in the sky, and it being mid-day. 

They enjoyed watching their shadows move and playing with them, while I drew around them. πŸ˜„

Then it was time for a little role-play…trains and muffin factories…

Ted enjoys his friends.. πŸ˜„

English Group : Rockets

We had our last lesson on astronomy last night. I decided to end with a fun experiment – vinegar and bicarbonate-of-soda rockets!

The mission was to build a great looking rocket that flies…



When the rockets were made we filled them with vinegar, corked them, made pouches of bicarbonate-of-soda, and took them outside. 

We then attempted, one at a time, to push the bicarbonate-of-soda in to the rocket, and recork it to get it to fly! Well, it’s a struggle to recork a bottle when there’s bubbling vinegar splurting everywhere! Our first rocket kind of worked, but the second two didn’t (a variety of guessable reasons such as a different type of vinegar, a rather too well fitted cork and the stress to get the cork in)!

But we had a lot of fun trying! πŸ‘πŸ˜„

English Group : Shadows

On Thursday we talked about what we had learnt from fire – that we had learnt how to light a fire, and how to put one out. That fire can be used for cooking, for warmth and for light. 

We then took a lit candle each, and I asked the kids to look at the flames carefully, and to see what they did. Eventually they figured out, that in the darkness, the flames made shadows.

We then played a game, which I had made myself (using cardboard for trees, paper for the game board, and wooden gnomes from another game for the counters), but which I had read about, and that you can buy.

It is called ‘Shadows in the woods’. There are variations of the game, but we played it so that everyone hid their gnome in the trees while the light bearer hid their eyes. When hidden, the light bearer lights the candle, turns off the main light, and using a dice, moves the candle around the game board.

The idea is that the shadows move according to where the candle is, and when the light creates a shadow of the gnome, or lights up the gnome, and the light bearer sees him, that gnome is out.

We took turns being the light bearer.


The kids really enjoyed this game – it took up pretty much the whole lesson! πŸ˜‰


English Group : The Observatorium

I took the Monday group to an open evening at the Observatorium in Stockholm.

We went by bus and train, found our way fairly easily, climbed the steep and muddy hill up to the top, and found ourselves at the Observatorium.

A winding wooden staircase to the top. The chance to see and use a real telescope (50 times stronger than a normal one!), to see how they use co-ordinates to point the telescope at the correct place in the sky, and to see how the roof of the Observatorium turns and opens. 

Unfortunately it was very cloudy – but at one point we were able to see the moon – and then it was so clear, we could actually see the craters on the moon! Actually truly incredible!    

I just took the one photo – I didn’t want to be clicking and flashing around in the Observatorium too much! πŸ˜‚

A fabulous evening!

English Group : Experiencing Fire

Last week our english group had a fantastic time, quite simply ‘experiencing’ fire!

We walked down to the lake, and started by learning how to build a fire. Start with a ‘grandmother’s cottage’ of wood logs, and then put small dry kindling, bark and newspaper in the middle and in the sides…

It is very obvious to me which children are in the scouts – those who are not afraid, and feel safe around fire. 😊

I tried to encourage the children who were not in the scouts to light the fire. It didn’t always work…

….but sometimes I managed to crack them πŸ˜‚….

We had an amazing time.

Cooking sausages wrapped in strips of dough (‘pinn-brΓΆd’) on sticks…

  Experimenting with ‘torches’ and making fire patterns in the sky…   

  ….oh so wonderful when you finally ‘crack’ the nervous ones….😊…    

Experimenting as to whether they can make a fire on (and burn a hole in!) the ice….

…and just generally enjoying eachother’s company by the warmth of the fire, and learning to work as a ‘team’….   

We talked about what fire gives us – the heat to cook our food, the heat for warmth, and light. We also talked about having respect for fire, and how to be safe around fire – and of course, to always be sure to put a fire out (and how!)….  

A truly wonderful evening with truly wonderful kids! 😘


English Club : The Phases Of The Moon

Last night we learnt about the phases of the moon. 

We started with an experiment using a foil covered ball (the moon!), and a torch, in darkness. Shining the torch on the ball and getting the kids to walk around looking at how bright the ball shone, or not, gave the idea of how the moon looks at its different phases, and how the sun affects it.

We then talked about the different phases of the moon – how long it took for the moon to rotate the earth, how long it took between each stage, what each stage looked like and what it was called.

I then challenged the kids to make the moon phases using Oreo cookies…(which they thought was great of course! πŸ˜†)….

We then read about the moon and how it affects the sea, plant growth, rainfall, people – and about an African myth about ‘the hare in the moon’…

…before starting to watch the beginning of a film ‘Moon’. πŸ˜ƒ