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Chestnut Year 5

Welcome to Chestnut Class 2020-2021



Welcome to our class page. Over the year, we will use this page to capture snapshots of our learning, progress and experiences - so keep checking in for updates! If you ever have any questions or would like to learn more, please get in touch with our class team (Mrs Ash, Mrs Atkins, Mrs Ramira) who would be very happy to help.


Updates - our PE days for Term 3 will be on Wednesday and Friday. Please can children come dressed in their PE kits for these days (please see our Parents Information Document for further details on PE kit).

In the case of self-isolation or further lockdown


In the event of your child needing to self-isolate, please use the homework website links above that your child can access for a range of subjects. 

In the event of our class bubble isolating, or a school closure lockdown, we will be using Teams Online. Your child will need their username and password to access teams (these have been emailed). 

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Recognition of Achievement

Term 4 - Our project for this term is Ancient Greece

Our online learning in Term 3 during lockdown


Our Ancient Maya Learning

We've loved investigating the Ancient Maya civilisation this term; we have strengthened our historical inquiry skills by using a wide range of sources (from videos, images, myths, online sources and written texts) and have applied our reading retrieve skills to locate and understand relevant information and have challenged ourselves to record, and consolidate, our new knowledge in a host of ways, as you can see below.

We were fascinated to learn about the Ancient Maya number and letter systems - we explored how they worked, tried them out ourselves and made comparisons between our own systems and theirs. These are some of our reflections about them:


  • "They had a 0 in their number system, like we do, but their's looks like a shell."
  • "The base 20 system is cool - I like how they use symbols to write their numbers."
  • "I didn't think I would be able to do it at first because it was so different to our numbers but once I got it, it was fun. I liked using my 5 times tables for the lines."
  • "I found a fun way to practice the 1-5 numbers by making a hopscotch grid outside. I kept practising and I'm really good at reading 1-19 now!"
  • "I liked playing Ancient Maya numbers bingo in our Maths session - now I can read up to 40 by counting the 20s first."

We investigated Ancient Maya fashion and ideas of beauty; after researching more about their use of masks, we designed and created our own using our S2S and could choose our own media to make them from.


  • "I learned there were 3 types of masks - battle, celebration and death. The death ones were usually jade because this was very expensive."
  • "I designed a battle mask with a jaguar because the Mayas thought animals were really powerful. It would scare their enemy!"
  • "I used bright colours and feathers on my mask because it was a celebration one. The Maya loved bird feathers, especially the quetzal."
  • "I was shocked that the Maya would file their teeth to make them pointy and I didn't like the idea of flattening the babies heads or making them cross eyed on purpose!
  • "It took me ages to make my mask out of papier mache and I had to wait for it to dry - I'm really proud of how it looks now because I didn't rush it."

We learned about the Ancient Maya's farming techniques - we found this really interesting and it showed us about the Maya's problem solving and perseverance because they had lots of ways of overcoming the many challenges presented by trying to grow crops in a rainforest. These were some of our reflections:


  • "My favourite technique was the raised beds because I thought it was really clever to dig the soil up from the swamps to make an island. I like the idea of paddling on a boat, too."
  • "I thought the slash and burn way wasn't very kind to nature as it would damage the wildlife."
  • "I really liked the terraces because it was such good way of growing things on a steep hill."
  • "The Maya grew lots of crops but their favourite was maize (corn) which was 80% (8 out of 10 fingers) of their diet so they grew lots of it. If the rain didn't come the crops would die so they prayed to the gods a lot."

At the same time as deepening our knowledge of farming techniques, we also investigated the foods and dishes the Maya would have eaten and explored some of the meanings/importance of certain foods (like maize and cacao). We presented our new learning using our Picture Smart skills. Some of us even made a Menu for  a Mayan Cafe, too!


  • "I used watercolours to create a papaya - I got better at using blending to mix colours and using highlights to show the shine on the black seeds."
  • "I used pencil sketching to draw a tomato and I am pleased with the shading on it to show the dark and light areas, and the hatching too."
  • "I chose to draw maize because it was their favourite food. I used colouring pencils and tried really hard to show the textures of the leaves and each little bit of corn inside."
  • "My drawing of an avocado using colour pencils is the best drawing I've ever done. I used lots of colour blending to get the right colours and tried hard to make the stone look 3D with hatching and shading."

We explored Ancient Maya art in it's many forms (frescoes, sculpture, carvings, jewellery) and challenged ourselves to develop our Practically Smart DT skills to create our own pieces using the same style and skills, where possible. We linked our learning with exploring Ancient Maya Gods and religion and presented our new knowledge as a quiz or in top trumps cards.


  • "I got better at modelling with clay to create textures and carvings."
  • "It took me ages to finish my Mayan sculpture because I wrote gylphs onto it to look like carvings - I used what I had learned from the writing lesson."
  • "I learned more about Mayan jewellery and made a jade necklace using pasta and carved an amulet from clay. I learned jade was really special to them and showed off their wealth."
  • "I learned the Maya had lots of gods and the priests would shout and dance loudly."
  • "I thought it was interesting that the Maya had a creation story but in theirs, people were made from maize."
  • "I learned the Mayan priests had lots of power and they used their knowledge of astronomy (stars) to predict events and choose when to do things, like go to war."


We investigated the famous Ancient Maya ball game 'Pok A Tok' and created our own information leaflets to teach a beginner player. Some of us combined our new knowledge with our Technology Smart skills to recreate a court digitally. We also explored the myth of the 'Hero Twins' which was linked to the game; after listening to the story, we used our summarising and sequencing skills to order the main events and then retold the story in our own ways (e.g. comic strip, story map, video, story). 


  • "I made my court in a video game - I matched the size, shape and different parts using what I learned about Pok A Tok. The court was an I shape and had 2 sloped sides and 2 rings that they had to throw the ball through."
  • "I found it confusing that some historians thought the winning team would be sacrificed as a reward (so they'd go to heaven) and others thought the losing team would be killed."
  • "I liked that they made a ball using rubber from a tree - I didn't know that rubber came from a tree."
  • "I thought it was interesting that some courts were really small but others were bigger than Wembley.

Tom Hero

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Anya's Hero Twins Myth

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Term 3 - Our project for this term is the Ancient Maya

Our 'Take One Piece' Learning


Through our 'Take One Piece' project, we have widened our knowledge of famous composers and genres of music. Our piece, called 'Rhapsody in Blue' was written by George Gershwin, a trailblazer, who loved lots of different styles of music and sought to combine these in a melody which summed up his feelings about his beloved city, New York. Here are some snapshots of our learning.


After listening to the piece, we created a thought cloud to help us reflect on our initial thoughts and feelings. What did it make us think of? What pictures did it paint in our minds? What emotions did it make us feel? 



We all had lots of questions about the piece and the person behind it; these were a selection of our fantastic questions we wanted to investigate further:


Where was he from/where did he live?     What were his family like?                          How did he feel about music?
How did he learn music?                           What were his other hobbies?                    When was he alive?
Where did he work?                                  What sort of music did he enjoy?                What were some of his famous musical pieces?


Next, we thought about different ways we could present all of this information and decided we could choose from:


• An information poster full of facts and images
• An information leaflet with writing and pictures
• A biography of his life and achievements
• A video ‘documentary’ about him


Once we had chosen our text type, we then applied our technology skills (selecting relevant information sources from online) with our retrieval reading skills (scanning the page for information, using headings/subheadings to guide our reading, summarising information from a text and recording it into our own words) to deepen our knowledge of Gershwin and his life. Here are some brilliant examples of our new knowledge!


We explored the story behind 'Rhapsody in Blue' through a wonderful picture book called 'The Music in George's Head'. 


During our shared reading, we got better at:


  • applying our inference skills to read between the lines of the words and images
  • putting ourselves into character's shoes to explore thoughts and feelings
  • making links between different parts of the story (and even drawing comparisons with other stories and characters)
  • explaining the meaning of words and thinking about the effect of word choices

Lots of us asked if we could use our Picture Smart skills to create our own town/city scape inspired by Gershwin’s piece ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.

We had the choice to create a fictional city, a place we'd visited or somewhere we knew about; we could replicate the buildings of Wallingford, Oxford, New York, London, Cardiff or any other town/city. We had a free choice of media too, so could use paints, modelling, digital media, sketching or collage to create our cities.


These were the S2S we used to guide our creations:

  • Try to include some of the ‘iconic’ buildings from that place 
  • Consider the size, shape and textures of the buildings (as well as the surrounding environment e.g. water, hills, sky)
  • Think about the colours for your painting to tie in with the music (shades of blue would work really well!)
  • Take your time and plan, design and produce your work as carefully as you can
  • You can create this in any media you’d like (or a mixture of more than 1)

Oscar's New York City Building (made in Minecraft)

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Our learning in Term 2

Christmas Celebrations

During our class celebrations for Christmas, we learned:


  • How to say 'Hello' in 24 international languages - each day our advent calendar taught us a new language - 'San by noo', 'Keeora', 'Shalom' and 'Namaste' were some of our favourites!
  • To develop our Practically Smart skills in DT by creating paper decorations - Josie and Alicia modelled to the class how to create an intricate paper star using cutting and twisting techniques and Oscar challenged himself to follow a Youtube tutorial for making a Christmas tree which he then went home and modelled to his Mum!
  • How wonderful it can be to share Christmas greetings with each other during a community celebration - we loved having a Christmas lunch together and talked about our family traditions, too.
  • To explain the meaning of a Christingle through words and images. 
  • A bunch of new - and very cheesy - jokes from each other and from our crackers - we sent these into the Bishop of Oxford, too.

Term 2 - Gem Treat

As a result of our hard work and great choices, we earned a Gem Treat last week; we chose to bring in our ‘wheels’ so that we could enjoy spending time riding around together as this was something we’d been missing lately out of school. 


During our wheels session, we reflected that we got better at:

  • Balancing and coordinating on different surfaces
  • Sharing space safely and changing direction
  • Improving our fitness by riding around the track for as long as we could (we even tried changing gears to increase the challenge!)

Term 2 - Maths Day

Mrs Jackson, our Maths lead, challenged us to use Maths in as many different areas of the curriculum as we could during the day.


Being the Body Smart bunch that we are, we applied our Maths data handling skills in PE to record our team scores for variety of sporty challenges. We got better at:

  • Using tallies to record scores in a systematic way
  • Counting in 5s 
  • Adding totals together
  • Recording our data into an organised table


We linked our learning in RE about Diwali to Maths by creating symmetrical, geometrical Rangoli patterns. We learned about lines of symmetry, 2D shapes and using a mirror to reflect a pattern. 

Chestnut class have been full of enthusiasm for our latest, science-based, project ‘Out of this World’; we began the project by thinking about what we already knew about Space and then generated a bank of thoughtful questions we’d like to investigate further.


We used these questions to help design our homework learning menu, which has given us an opportunity to personalise our learning and develop our self-led investigation skills. Mrs Ash was so astounded by our first set of projects that we turned the morning into a mini-sharing museum where we got the chance to explain our new learning to each other. These are just a few of our amazing projects so far which have taken the form of models, movies, sketches, presented Powerpoints, collages, information posters (and even cake!).


During the project we reflected on our learning and progress and these are some of our brilliant ideas:


  • We learned about important events that happened during Space history by creating our own timeline - Oscar discovered that the first rocket to go into space was a German V2 rocket (which ended up being used by the US scientists!
  • We investigated the life and contributions of a famous British astronaut called Tim Peake  and used our new knowledge of his skills and astronaut training to write a biography  (with an amazing variety of sentence structures, technical vocabulary and a wide range of punctuation including () - - and ;)- Jacob was so fascinated by him that he ordered his own copy of Peake's autobiography which he has been avidly studying at home and at school.
  • We used a variety of sources (both digital and text) to explore the planets within our solar system; in Science we used our deep knowledge and understanding to create Top Trumps Cards and in Art we used a range of media to recreate their textures, shapes and colours - Billy S learned that there was only 1 star in our Solar System (the Sun) and Sapphire was so interested in the planets that she created her own model of them using her Picture Smart skills. As a result of our Science lessons, Imogen has learned that throughout history, there have been different theories of our Solar System (Heliocentric which is where the Sun is at the centre and Geocentric where the Earth is at the centre).
  • We deepened our understanding of the movements of the planets in our Solar System and learned to explain how these impact on our seasons and weather during the course of a year - Maddie can now explain why the Earth experiences day and night and Rosie has written a superb explanation of why the seasons occur (and how these vary between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere). 
Our learning in Term 1

Shakespeare Project 'Hamlet'

Term 1 - Learning about 'Forces' in Science

In Science this term, we have loved exploring all about different types of Forces.


To help us to understand the main types of forces  (Friction        Reaction Force        Air resistance        Gravity         Buoyancy       Water resistance) we created information posters with diagrams.


We have learned that forces typically work in pairs and how BALANCED and UNBALANCED forces can affect an object in different ways - we found a fun way to investigate this using malteasers and straws at home.



We asked Mrs Ash if we could investigate friction by using a big slide and a toy car; we designed our own investigation by changing the surface when the car drove down the slide and then measured how far it travelled. We learned how to repeat our results to check for any anomalies (unusual results that don't seem to fit the pattern) and got better at making predictions using previous results. Our results showed that the rougher the surface, the shorter distance the car travelled; whereas the smoother the surface, the further the car travelled. We concluded that this was due to the increased surface area of the rougher surfaces creating more friction on the car's wheels which slowed the car down. 



Our next investigation involved learning more about mass and weight - we discovered that weight was affected by the amount of gravity acting on an object and that it could change depending on where an object was (e.g. we would weigh less on the Moon because there is less gravity). We also learned that weight was measured in a unit called Newtons, named after the scientist Isaac Newton who was famous for his ground-breaking ideas about gravity. Next, we learned about mass and the units it is measured in (g, kg, lb, oz) and we came up with a clever mnemonic to help us remember: 

M ass

A lways

S tays the

S ame (it's not affected by the strength of gravity)


To help us understand the link between weight and mass, we learned how to use a piece of measuring equipment called a 'Newtonmeter' to find an object's weight in Newtons and then compared our readings with scales to measure mass; during the investigation, we began to notice a pattern in our results. If an object's weight was 3N, it's mass was 300g. Amazingly, we applied our current learning in Maths about Powers of 10 and could explain: mass = weight x 10 to the power of 2 (e.g. x by 100).


Term 1 - Take One Picture Project

Term 1 - Take One Picture Project

Chestnut class have settled in brilliantly and we have thrown ourselves into our Take One Picture Project with wonderful enthusiasm and creativity. We have been exploring Rousseau’s painting ‘Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!)’ and have worked very hard to accumulate a huge amount of learning in such a short time.


During the week, we investigated the life of Rousseau and we used our research to create eye-catching information pages. Later, we applied our retrieve skills to become experts about the subject of the painting – tigers – and devised our own quizzes using the facts we had gathered.


In reading, we have explored the imagery and ideas of William Blake’s poem ‘Tyger Tyger’; we used our understanding of each stanza to create illustrations and even learned to recite the first stanza off by heart.


In Art, we have carefully studied tropical leaves and have used our observations to sketch our own leaves using oil pastels. Our colour matching, blending and use of light and shade helped us to create incredibly realistic leaves. Later, we challenged ourselves to learn to draw tigers using a technique of finding shapes within the tiger to help us draw the tiger’s body to scale. When we finished our leaves, we assembled them to create our own rainforest – complete with a crouching tiger!