On March 8th the children of Sheepy Magna School returned to the classroom following the lockdown to celebrate British Science Week. Our theme for the week was "The Science of Plants" and our aims were:
· To reconnect the school community, with the school grounds at the heart of this.
· To promote curiosity and scientific thinking.
· To give opportunities to improve mental health of children and staff through connection with nature.
· To begin an ongoing project which will connect the school through the project until they can be together again physically.
Sunflowers for Everyone!
As part of Science Week, every child in school planted a sunflower seed to take home and care for. Later in the year, we will see how tall everyone’s sunflower has grown and who has managed to grow the tallest sunflower.
In Key Stage 1, the children looked at the lifecycle of the sunflower and created beautiful art work. The children in Portland made their pots from toilet roll tubes whilst those in Swaledale made theirs from sheets of newspaper.
In Key Stage 2, the children looked in detail at the seed and how sunflower seeds are harvested and used. Year 5 and 6 children wrote their own version of “Diary of a Wimpy Seed”, looking at the world from the point of view of their seed and giving it a personality.
Across the school, the sunflowers are being regularly measured and their height recorded.
The Element Gardens
All of the children at Sheepy School are in one of four houses; Earth, Fire, Air or Water. Year 6’s “Garden Gang” are leading a project involving the whole school designing four small element gardens which are positioned between the new outdoor classroom and the eco-shed greenhouse.
Portland are responsible for the design of the Water themed garden; Cotswold are planning the Air Garden; Swaledale are in charge of the Earth Garden; whilst Woodlands have taken on the Fire Garden.
Each class has worked on their theme in different ways. Swaledale, for example, used reflective symmetry in their gardens and considered how to use the motif of the snake, Earth’s house mascot, in their designs.
Year 5 and 6 completed a school grounds survey, integrating Maths and Science. They used equipment to understand the ph and moisture levels of the soil in different areas of the school and considered the types of soil and the amount of sun-light different sections of the school grounds receive daily. This information then helped them to suggest where would be the best positions for different types of plants.
This is an ongoing project and the children will use some of the seeds planted this week to populate their gardens, as well as selecting other flowers that complement their theme.
The Colour of Plants
Each of the classes used vegetables and fruit to create dyes which were then used to dye cotton fabric.
In Portland, the children used nettles, berries, red cabbage, avocado skins and brown onion skins to colour the fabric. They left the material in the dyes overnight and were shocked that even though avocado skins are a very dark green colour, the dye produced was pink!
In Cotswold and Swaledale classes, the children experimented with painting with the different plant dyes. Cotswold used pipettes and looked at the ways the colours blended whilst Swaledale painted stripes of different colours. Their bunting is now proudly displayed in their classroom—brightening the front of the room.
Year 5 and 6 began by investigating acids and alkalis and tested different liquids using their own indicator paper that had been made using red cabbage. Woodlands and Southdown classes tried tie-dying their materials and made predictions on whether using salt—an alkali—or vinegar—an acid—as a colour mordant (fixer) would change the colour outcome. They boiled their material with either red onion skins, nettles, berries or red cabbage. In the afternoons, Woodlands have used their dyed material as the background for screen printing as part of their art topic.