University Challenge – Save the Bees

Did you know that 97% of the native British Wildflower habitat has been lost since World War 2?

Wildflower habitats are where bees and butterflies make their lives. This is serious for Britain. Without bees, our flowers and plants wouldn’t be pollinated and grow. This is particularly important if you think about the crops (the plants grown on farms) which give us food.

And, without bees, we wouldn’t have honey which is an AMAZING natural product, useful for lots of things – not just eating! It’s full of vitamins to help keep us healthy, and is a great way to reduce symptoms of hayfever too, and honey is a great moisturiser.

So, we need to help the bees! Here’s a challenge to help you do your bit …

You will need:
Soil or compost
Wildflower seeds
Some space in the garden or a planter or plant pot
Water
Paper, pencil, crayons, etc.  

Step 1: Ask an adult to help you think of a good place to plant some wildflowers. This could be in a garden, in a plant pot, or even in a planter on a balcony. All you need is some soil or compost, some seeds and a bit of water, and they need sunshine.

Step 2: Prepare the soil or earth by making sure it’s nice and loose and free from weeds if you can. It should be nice and moist but not too wet. This will give the seeds the best chance to grow.

Step 3: Get your seeds (these can be bought very cheaply from many garden centres, shops or even supermarkets for less than £1), or sometimes, companies give them away for free to encourage people to help the bees! Decide where you will scatter them.

Step 4: Sprinkle your wildflower seeds into the soil – try and spread them out a little if you can. Then gently cover them with a thin layer of soil or compost. They don’t need to be buried very deep, just enough to cover them. Now, it’s time to wait – wildflowers need plenty of sunshine and a bit of water to help them get going, so it’s best to plant them around April, or later in the year around September.

Step 5: Keep watching and waiting. The seeds normally take around 2-3 months to grow. Why not keep a diary of what you see? Once they have grown, make sure they have enough water (but not too much) so if it hasn’t rained for a while, give them a little drink of water. Keep looking out for bees and other insects visiting your wildflowers especially on sunny days. If you can get close enough, can you watch what they’re doing?

Step 6: Next, we want you to share what you’ve learned about bees, what’s happening to them and why we need them. Maybe you could include some ideas on how other people can help bees by planting their own wildflowers? Could you design a poster, a leaflet or perhaps even a video or photos of what you’ve done?

University Challenge – Disappearing Egg

Following from our learning about eggs last week we wondered if you would like to carry out an investigation so that you can see what is inside an egg….

Investigating is a great way to find out more about a subject. Scientists investigate all the time – why does something happen? How does it happen? What affects how fast or slow the change happens? It’s good to ask questions as this will help you learn more. It’s also good to try and think of the answer beforehand – try and come up with an explanation if you can, or make a prediction about what might happen and why. This makes a great science experiment, so here’s a challenge to get you thinking (and speaking) like a scientist – the Great Disappearing Egg Shell Experiment! You could record your predictions as well as your observations. Ask an adult to help you – they could be your assistant!

You will need:
An egg
White vinegar
Glass jar
Pencil and paper (optional)  

Step 1: Take your egg and gently put it in a glass jar so the shell doesn’t crack, then put some white vinegar in the jar until the egg is covered (prediction 1: will your egg float or sink? Talk to your adult about why you think this. What did they predict? Who was right?)

Step 2: Leave your egg in the glass for a while (prediction 2: What do you think will happen?) Keep watching the egg and you should start to see tiny bubbles forming on the egg’s shell. (Did you guess this would happen?) This is due to the release of CO2 (carbon dioxide). This is similar to that chemical reaction which happens when you open a bottle or can of fizzy drink.

Step 3: Put the lid on the jar and keep it somewhere safe for 7 days. Keep checking on your egg and recording the changes you can see (prediction 3: what do you think will happen? What did your adult think would happen?) Something called ‘osmosis’ takes places making the egg start to swell and you should see the colour of the eggshell fades from brown. A scummy layer is formed on the surface and it is good to change the vinegar solution when you see this happening (but don’t worry if you don’t – it will still work)

Step 4: It’s time to empty the vinegar from the jar and take the egg out. Wash off any remaining eggshell. You should be able to see the egg without eggshell. It should now be soft like a sponge and light in weight and it’s probably swollen a little too. If the remaining eggshell is hard to remove, just add some fresh vinegar and wait a few more days. The soft egg should now feel rubbery to touch and you should be able to see through the egg which still contains the yolk. Why do you think this happened? Does your adult know why?

Step 5: The acid reacts with the shell and “eats” away at it. The shell is made up of calcium carbonate and this gets dissolved by the acid (vinegar). The egg also swells up, because some of the liquid seeps inside. Clever eh? Prediction 4: What do you think would happen if you added food colouring to the vinegar? Why not give it a try?

3 Insanely Cool Egg Experiments - Playdough To Plato

University Challenge – Ramadan

Ramadan remembers the month the Qur’an (the Muslim holy book) was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The actual night that the Qur’an was revealed is a night known as Lailut ul-Qadr (‘The Night of Power’).

Most Muslims fast between dawn and sunset.

During Ramadan, it is common to have one meal (known as the suhoor), just before sunrise and another (known as the iftar), directly after sunset.

Almost all Muslims try to give up bad habits during Ramadan. It is a time for prayer and good deeds. They will try to spend time with family and friends and help people in need. The end of Ramadan is marked by a big celebration called ‘Eid ul-Fitr’ (the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast). Some families light lanterns during this time, linking the theme of light to Ramadan. So, now you know a little more about Ramadan, why not get creative and make your own lantern, and explain to an adult what it represents?

You will need:

  • a rectangle of card or thick paper (A4 is fine) plus a little extra for a handle
  • wax crayons
  • watercolour (or watery) paint
  • scissors
  • sticky tape

Step 1: Start by drawing a design on your rectangle of card or paper, using wax crayons. You can make repeating patterns, a traditional Islamic geometric design, crescent moon and stars, or anything other design you like.

Step 2: Next, using some watery paint, cover right over the surface of your wax crayon design. Watch how the wax resists the paint and see how your design pops through the paint.

Step 3: Once your paint is dry, fold your paper in half, long side to long side. Then use some scissors to make cuts all along the folded length. Just cut half to two- thirds of the way to the other side. Finally, open up

your card and roll it so the two longer sides meet to form your lantern shape. Fasten your lantern in place using some sticky tape. The cuts you made will open out to give you a great lantern design.

Step 4: Use an extra piece of card / paper to make a handle for your lantern and attach it with some sticky tape.

Step 5: You can use a flameless LED candle inside to light your lantern, or string them up across your room like bunting.

Easter Egg Hunt

We have all been excited about Easter this week and on Friday we came back from lunch to find a note from the Easter Bunny. He had been so impressed by our commitment to becoming a kind and thoughtful class that he had brought us some gifts. But first, we needed to follow the clues to find them.

Can you remember where our clues took us? On the way we found lots of little chicks but it wasn’t until the clues sent us back to the classroom that we found our treats.

Egg Competition

Prince Edward School had a very exciting competition this week.

Mrs Ainsley invited all the children and their grown ups to decorate an egg and bring it into school.

We were blown away by the amount of entries and how creative our families are.

Lots of children from Garnet class brought eggs and placed them in the hall along with everyone elses.

We had the opportunity to go to look at the entries and showed our friends what we had made, they were so impressive.

Mrs Ainsley had a very hard task to decide who were the winners in each class because they were all so fantastic. The children in Garnet class showed each other our entries, they were all so proud of their creations.

A huge WELL DONE to everyone who took the time to decorate an egg, they were AMAZING and we really enjoyed looking at them all.

Chocolate

The children were getting really excited about Easter this week and were looking forward to receiving lots of Easter eggs.

We had just been learning about eggs last week and knew that lots of animals lay eggs but we weren’t quite sure where the chocolate eggs came from.

Some children thought the Easter Bunny laid the eggs and brought them to us, other children remembered that rabbits don’t lay eggs because they are mammals and they have live babies. We decided to read some books to find out the answer.

We began by reading the story ‘Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory’. The story was about chickens who worked in a factory, their job was to eat chocolate and then lay chocolate eggs. We talked about whether this was true information and the children realised that it was a story book, we know that story books are written using imagination so aren’t always true. We remembered that we would need to read some non-fiction books to find out information. We also watched a video about what happens in a real factory which the children really enjoyed.

Can you remember what we learned?

What is chocolate made from?

We learnt that chocolate is made from cocoa beans which are grown in how countries like Brazil and Ghana.

Can you remember what the trees and pods are called?

We read a story about a Cocoa Farmer and found out how he harvests the cocoa pods and turns the beans into chocolate.

Can you remember the process which the farmers have to do before the nibs can be ground down and mixed with milk and sugar to make chocolate?

Once we had completed our learning we decided to find out which flavour chocolate was our favourite, we tasted lots of different flavours and made a tally chart to record which we liked the most.

Can you remember what it means when we have a group with a diagonal? Can you remember which flavour had the most groups of five? Can you remember which we liked the least? Can you explain to your grown ups how you know?

We decided to find out why people give eggs at the Christian Celebration of Easter and found out that they could represent New life and New beginnings because all around us during Easter time we see lots of plants and vegetables growing and see lots of animals being born.

What Lays an Egg?

During last weeks learning we were talking about how to grow plants and some children began to talk about how to grow animals, they knew that they had grown in their mummy’s tummies and some children shared the information that their mummies had babies in their tummies now.

One of our children was a little confused and wondered if the baby brothers and sisters grew inside eggs like chickens. Amber is our resident expert about babies at the moment because her mum is going to have a baby brother for her very soon so, she has been doing lots of learning at home about babies and she knew that babies are just born as babies, that they don’t hatch from eggs.

We began to wonder which animals laid eggs and which animals had live babies and we also began to wonder why the animals were different.

Some children went to the library to look for information books about different animals some children found some books on our class shelves too.

Some other children searched the internet and looked at pictures and short videos of animals that lay eggs.

Can you remember some animals that lay eggs and some that don’t lay eggs?

Once we had found the animals that do and don’t lay eggs we took a closer look to see what we noticed. How were they the same? How were they different?

Once we had learned about the animals, we chose one to learn more about. We decided to learn about spiders because some children are fascinated by spiders and some are scared of them. Miss Deighton wondered if the children would change their mind about their opinion of spiders if they knew more about them.

Can you remember what we learned?

We learned that spiders lay hundreds of eggs at once and they sometimes carry them around in a little silk sack that they made or they build the nest very high up in a dark space to keep them safe.

We learned that spiders have hairs on their legs that they shoot out to defend themselves, that they also sometimes bite to protect themselves too.

We learned that they wrap the food that they catch in their webs to keep it fresh for later, and they have 8 legs and 2 pincers to help them to hold their food.

We found that they have spinnerets to make their web and that the silk they make is very, very, very strong and some spiders can shoot their web 25 feet to make a bridge from one place to the next!! They also have 8 eyes to help them to hunt for food.

We decided that we would like to meet some real life spiders so went to the secret garden to see if we could find any.

The spiders were very difficult to find because they like to hide in dark spaces. We decided to bring our insects back to the classroom so that we could have a closer look at them. When we looked closely we realised that all the spiders were slightly different, some had stripes, some had spots, some were black, grey, brown, small and large.
Natasha said – They like children, we are all different too!

We didn’t only find spiders, we found other mini beasts too, Can you remember what we found?

Once we had finished looking at the animals in our bug viewers we talked about whether we ought to keep them in the classroom in their small containers. The children remembered from our carpet learning that animals should be left in their natural habitat when ever possible.
As Amelia pointed out – We wouldn’t want to be kept in a cage because it would be way too boring.

And Riley also said – We would have to catch flies to feed them, yuk!

And Amber said – What about their eggs? They need to go back to them so they can look after their babies when they hatch.

We talked about where we should put them and the children decided that we could put them in our natural, growing area so that they have food and somewhere to hide and build their webs.

Growing Experiment part 2

When we carried out our growing experiment last week, some children wondered if we could grow any fruit and vegetables from things we ate at home.

Miss Deighton brought a pepper, banana, pear, cucumber, apple, orange and tomato to school. We opened them up and compared the seeds inside.
Can you remember which seeds were the smallest and which were the largest? Here’s a photograph to remind you…

We were a little disappointed because we couldn’t find any seeds in the orange but we decided to plant a segment anyway to see if it would grow.

We found out that the banana had tiny black seeds growing all the way along its centre, we found that the cucumber and tomato both had some sort of slime around its seeds. We found that the apple and pear seeds looked very similar but the pepper seeds looked very different. They were also the only ones that were dry.

We put some fruits and vegetables on out investigation table to look more closely at them and we placed the pots in our greenhouse and know that we need to be patient while they grow. We will keep you updated with our observations.

University Challenge – Easter Nests

You will need:
200g milk chocolate
85g shredded wheat (or you could use rice crispies or corn flakes)
200g mini chocolate eggs (and/or other Easter decorations)
Saucepan of water
Spoon
Bun cases  

In April, Christians celebrate Easter – the time when Jesus rose again after he had died on the cross. It’s a time to think about new life, so did you know this is why many Easter decorations, treats, etc. are themed around eggs? This is why we give and receive Easter eggs – to represent new life (a chick grows inside an egg). It’s also a great time to think about something new and all the positive things that brings – perhaps it’s a new stage of your life? Perhaps it’s starting a new activity? Or it could even be the start of the new season (Spring). So, here’s a great activity to get you feeling positive, and of course, enjoying some Easter treats!

Step 1: Break the chocolate up into small pieces. Break up the Shredded Wheat into small pieces (if you’re using this cereal).

Step 2: Heat some water in a saucepan. When it is almost boiling, ask an adult to turn the heat down so the water is just about simmering. Put the chocolate pieces in a mixing bowl, and ask an adult to help you to sit the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water. (Alternatively you could use a microwave)

Step 3: Once all the chocolate chunks have melted, ask an adult to help you remove the bowl from the saucepan (turn the hob off as you don’t need the saucepan of water anymore).

Step 4: Add the Shredded Wheat (or whatever cereal you chose) to the bowl of melted chocolate and stir well until all the cereal is covered in chocolate – mmmmmm!

Step 5: Using a spoon, fill each of your bun cases with the mixture, making a little dent in the centre (you might need to do this part fairly quickly before the chocolate starts to set!).

Step 6: Place 3 mini chocolate eggs on top of each nest. You could add some little chicks or other Easter decorations if you have them.

Step 7: Chill the nests in the fridge for 2 hrs until set.

Make sure an adult supervises you and other children eating the nests – the mini eggs can be a choking hazard for younger children, so they’re best and safest enjoyed while you’re sat down, relaxing!

Back to School

We were all so excited about returning to school and have settled back into the class really well.

This week we have been learning how to interact with a large group of people again, we needed to practise taking turns and using our quiet voices to ask for things. We were all so excited to meet up with our friends and we spent this full week immersed in our favourite activities. Here are some of the things we have been doing.

It was also Mothers Day this weekend and we thought a lot about why we should be grateful for our grown ups love and support, we decided to make cards for our loved ones and worked really hard on drawing gorgeous pictures and writing our messages inside. Some children decided that they would like to make gifts too so we developed our fine motor skills by threading beads to make bracelets.

We decided that we would like to give them a show too to explain why we love them, we worked hard all week to learn some new songs and invited our families and friends to our zoom show. It was AMAZING, we were so proud of ourselves and the grown ups loved it!!