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Chestnut Year 5

Welcome to Chestnut Class 2023-2024



Welcome to our class page. Over the year, we will use this page to capture snapshots of our fantastic 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 - Teacher; Mrs Somarakis and Miss Lucas - TAs and Mrs Fairbairn - Teacher on Fridays) who would be very happy to help.


Our PE day for Term 6 (Summer 2) will be Wednesday - please wear your PE kit on this day. We will be swimming on Tuesdays (our last swimming session is 2nd July); please wear school uniform on Tuesdays.


Homework is handed out on Tuesday and due back in the following Monday. Please see your child's homework book for home learning expectations and ideas.  

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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Term 4 - The Ancient Maya (a History project)

History - Ancient Maya Workshop

To help us deepen our knowledge and understanding of the Ancient Maya people and their customs, we took part in a whole-day workshop led by ‘The Red Queen’. During the day, we used drama to investigate more about Mayan death rituals as we ‘sacrificed’ 5 of our students as an honour to the gods in a range of gruesome and painful ways as well as finding out about the ‘Chaac’ festival and the terrifying Goddess of Death!


We discovered how important cacao beans were to the Maya (who used them for currency as well as food) and learned about how they would prepare the beans to make a special drink; we even got the chance to taste some dark chocolate which was very bitter and didn’t have milk or sugar added to it.

‘The Red Queen’ brought lots of artefacts with her which we investigated with lots of curiosity; we had to predict what they might have been used for, by whom and when and then compared this to the information cards and see how close our ideas had been.

We discovered that the Maya were the first people to create one of our favourite treats - chocolate - although their version of chocolate would have been different to the sweet, milk-enriched chocolate lots of us like to eat. We learned that the Maya would dry out the seeds of the cacao tree (which were in red pods) and then grind them using a metate (a flat stone) to make a paste, to which they would add water and chilli! This was considered a luxurious drink which would only be afforded by the rich. 


We investigated the designs of Maya chocolate pots and used these to inspire our own; we thought about what images to use (including glyphs and depictions of gods), where to place them and how big or small they should be within the design. 

After learning a bit more about the 'when', we wanted to investigate the 'where' and we started by looking at which CONTINENT the Ancient Maya people lived in. Next, we zoomed into the COUNTRIES within that continent (although they had different names to the Maya) and finally, looked at the CITIES within the countries that they populated. 


We were fascinated by how spread out the Maya were and the variety of different types of landscape they lived in; we learned this was one of the reasons they were so difficult to conquer at the time of the Spanish invasion and that their locations would determine their language, writing, beliefs, diet, jewellery and items they could trade.

We challenged ourselves to record our new knowledge by hand-drawing a map and labelling it using a key. 

English - Learning a Mayan Creation Story

We loved learning a traditional Mayan creation story; we followed the Hear, Map, Step, Speak stages of storytelling to help us become confident and fluent storytellers. 


Hear - listening to the story, becoming familiar with events, joining in with some parts

Map - creating a visual picture of events in a storymap to help us sequence the action

Step - stepping out the story with actions, key words to help us recall the 5ws details and order

Speak - saying the story fluently, retelling with actions, expression and gesture


We also loved learning two other Mayan tales; the Hero Twins (a Pok-a-Tok Tale) and the Rabbit and the Crab (a moral Tale). 

Science - Investigating the parts of a flower

Music - Ukulele Lessons

Chestnut class have been really enjoying their music lessons this term - we’ve been lucky enough to have whole class ukulele sessions every Tuesday.


We’ve learned lots about the ukulele in a very short space of time; after only a few lessons we can already:

  • name the parts of a ukulele and describe what they do
  • label the 4 strings on the ukulele and use a clever mnemonic to help us remember the order of them (Good Children Eat Apples)
  • play the A and E string with open strings and also pressing down on the different frets (which changes the pitch of the string)
  • explain how to read tablature music (which is really tricky as it’s ‘upside down’ to the order of the strings on the ukulele)
  • play in time to a piece of music using our knowledge of pulse (the heartbeat in a piece of music).


We are currently learning to play ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra using the A and E strings with different frets – this requires lots of concentration, determination and stretched out fingers but we’re making lots of progress and are looking forward to showcasing our new musical skills to an audience soon!

International Women's Day 2024

We learned about the significance of International Women's Day and using our excellent retrieval skills, we investigated the lives and contributions of a number of fantastically extraordinary individuals who created, discovered, pioneered and achieved in order to make our world a better place. We found out some of the hurdles they had overcome to achieve their goals and remarked on the perseverance and dedication they showed. Then, we applied our brilliant writing and presentation skills to create an information page to celebrate our person. 

PE - Sports Leaders Session at Wallingford School

Easter Egg Hunt - Retrieval Practice!

We've been using retrieval practice as a way to strengthen the connections to the knowledge in our memory - as well as 'Early Work' maths challenges which revisit a range of previously learned topics, we've been using regular retrieval quizzes to keep knowledge fresh from lots of different subjects across the year. We even had an Easter egg themed retrieval hunt!

Term 3 - Extreme Earth (a Geography Project)

Oxford University Earth Sciences Workshop - Rocks

Volatile Volcanoes

We got to try on a real suit worn by volcanologists and learned a dance to help us remember the 3 different types of movement on plate boundaries (divergent, convergent and transformative).


Igneous Rocks

We investigated the properties of different types of rocks made in volcanoes and used our detective skills to predict which part of the volcano they were made in. For example, Livvy guessed that pumice was made in the ash cloud because it had lots of bubbles and was very light.

Oxford University Earth Sciences Workshop - Types of volcanic eruption

Types of Eruption

We learned that levels of gas, pressure and viscosity of magma can change the type of eruption in a volcano. By adding effervescent tables, we increased the gas which made an effusive eruption, whereas putting the tablet in a small container with a lid increased the pressure which created an explosive eruption. Finally, we tried to blow bubbles into different viscosities of liquids (water, honey and golden syrup) and Oliver explained that the gloopiest ‘magma’ (golden syrup) created a more explosive eruption because it created a greater build up of pressure.


Extraordinary Earthquakes

In our earthquake workshop, we learned that seismologists are the scientists who study earthquakes and we discovered that earthquakes happen in the layer of the Earth called the crust, at points where two tectonic plates meet each other. When they push together, this creates a build-up of pressure which is released in a jolt of energy, leading to an earthquake.



We learned about two types of waves: P waves (which move forwards and backwards) and S waves (which also move up and down, as well as forwards).


Earthquake Proof Buildings

We put our engineering skills to the test to create structures which could withstand a small, medium and large earthquake, using a board which simulated the movement of a quake. We remembered to use triangles as these were strong shapes when we made our bridges last term.

Oxford University Earth Sciences Workshop - Video 1

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Oxford University Earth Sciences Workshop - Video 2

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Extreme Earth - Art - Warhol's Volcanoes and 3D models

Extreme Earth - Geography and English - Investigating Volcanoes and Explanation Writing

As part of our ‘Extreme Earth’ project, we’ve been learning about a cataclysmic volcanic eruption that took place in Italy in 79D at Mount Vesuvius. After using our retrieval skills to find out the 5ws background information about the eruption, we sequenced and summarised the events into a timeline and then used our inference skills to gather details about the senses and experiences of people living nearby. We challenged ourselves to apply this information to help us write an impactful news briefing which we recorded on the Ipad; we thought about using a formal register, time connectives, active voice and vocabulary for impact.

PE - Netball

Term 2 - Street Child (a History study of the Victorians)

Term 2 - Street Child

Visit - The Black Country Living Museum

Black Country Living Museum Visit by the Children of Chestnut Class


During our visit to the Black Country Museum, we got the chance to go into real Victorian buildings, houses and shops and learn lots about Victorian life.


In the sweet shop, we learned that sweets were coloured using unusual ingredients like coal (black), rust (orange), beetle blood (red) and arsenic (green) and that one sweet would be shared by a whole family for a week. These were called 'sook' sweets because they would suck them and then pass them onto the next person.


Whilst in the chemist, we learned that medicines were made by hand and were rolled in sugar to taste better; this was where the phrase 'sugar coated' comes from. Due to the fact that many people couldn't read shop signs, the big bottles in the window showed them which shop the chemist was. 


We experienced a school lesson and discovered that Victorian children had to pay 2d (2 pence) per week to go to school and would be sent home if their hands or shoes were dirty.


The visit was amazing at helping us to experience how it might have felt as a Victorian child and we even got the chance to look into a Victorian narrow boat (a family of 4 would have shared a tiny little space at the back).

History - Victorian School Day

After our fingernail inspection and a run-through of Victorian school rules, we began the day by learning how to copy the Victorian writing script called 'Copper Plate'. We carefully copied the lower-case letters and even had the chance to practise these on a slate board, too. It was very time-consuming and some of the letters were very puzzling to recreate (and to read!). We were shocked to learn that all writing had to be done using the right hand, even if someone was left handed; we didn't think this was fair and pondered how difficult it would be to use a hand that wasn't your dominant one for writing, cutting and drawing.

We enjoyed handling real Victorian artefacts, such as a range of washing equipment. At first, we didn't know what the objects were and worked in groups to come up with predictions about what they might have been used for and had to explain our thinking. Then, in the process of our 'Domestic Studies' lesson, we got the chance to find their purposes and use them to wash a sheet; we didn't realise it would be so laborious and time-consuming but we did enjoy using the grater to grate the soap into the warm water, the dolly to create lots of bubbles and the washboard to rub the stains out. 

Drill was the Victorian term for physical exercise. It involved a series of formal exercises such as marching on the spot, arm swinging, trunk bending and skipping; it was thought to help children follow instructions, improve coordination and health, and prepare them for work and military service. 


These were some of the drills we practised in our lines:

  • Marching
  • Attention
  • Right turn
  • Left turn
  • Bend forward
  • Swing arms forward
  • Swing arms backward
  • Using compass points of North, South, East and West

Art - Studying William Morris

After using our retrieval skills to investigate the life and works of William Morris, we tried to replicate his style by presenting our new knowledge in a scrapbook information page. We became very familiar with his designs and ideas and used our mark-making and sketching skills to recreate some of his most iconic designs; we found this was incredibly time-consuming due to the complex nature of his patterns. 


We used these S2S to achieve our great replicas:


  • Dividing the pattern into sections and recreating one at a time
  • Thinking about the size, position and shape of each image
  • Using fairy lines to mark out initial positions
  • Using mark making to create textures
  • Using shading to create areas of light and dark 

Art - Creating Marbled Books

English - Exploring 'Street Child'

We used our inference skills to make initial predictions about the characters and plot from the images and words on the front cover; we linked previous books we'd read, films we'd seen and our knowledge of history, too. 

We used drama to deepen our understanding of how some of the characters in the story might feel or what they might have been thinking at different points of the story. We used acting with our whole bodies (faces, arms, gestures) as well as our voices, too. In these scenes, we're recreating the moments when Mr Spink (a landlord) discovers Mrs Jarvis and her family have spent their last shilling on a pie; he was not best pleased!

Our drama helped us to unpick the two sides of an important issue for Mr Spink - should he let the Jarvis family stay or should he throw them out onto the streets?

We used our drama and notes to help us write a persuasive letter to Mr Spink in role as Mrs Jarvis, we had to think about the organisation of our ideas so that it made sense to Mr Spink and we tried to use lots of emotive language to appeal to his feelings. We were also challenged to begin our sentences with the 5ws, to use a wide range of connectives to add or contrast and to use ; to join two ideas together. 

Term 1 - Shakespeare Project 'Hamlet'

Term 1 - Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'

English - Drama, Debates, Discussions and Newspaper Reports

In Hamlet, the central character, a young prince, finds himself in a desperate predicament; he suspects his Uncle Claudius has murdered his Father in order to gain the throne and Hamlet is asked by his Father's ghost to punish the new king. We stepped into Hamlet's shoes to explore the two sides of this dilemma; should he avenge his Father or should he leave things as they are?


We've enjoyed using our inference skills to draw on evidence from across the text (and our wider reading, too!) to help us step into character's shoes; we imagined how the characters might behave and how they might react to events happening in the story. To helps us explore the dramatic events of the story, we created freeze frames which we performed to the class; we also had fun writing questions as newspaper reporters to interview characters in the 'hot seat'. 


In our writing so far this term, we've really focused on:

  • Organising our writing into paragraphs by using 'boxing up' to help us group our ideas into topics, time or events
  • Using a range of connectives to link, explain or contrast our ideas (we can now use words like 'however', 'moreover' and 'hence')
  • Using 5ws and how (adverbial phrases) to start our sentences
  • Using a comma to mark the 5ws and how at the start of our sentences
  • Using brackets to add extra information within a sentence
  • Growing our vocabulary and choosing our words to create a desired effect on our reader 


Art - Sketching Tudor Roses

In Art, we've explored the image of the Tudor Rose; a symbol that would have surrounded Shakespeare in church, at home and in architecture around him on a daily basis. We learned about the complicated history of the 'War of the Roses' and how this culminated in the creation of the Tudor Rose. We used our sketching skills and used the following S2S to help us recreate the rose using pencil:


  • Shading to show darker and lighter areas (e.g. shadows in the centre of the rose or under petals)

  • Hatching and cross hatching to create dark areas or show texture

  • Mark making to show texture within the rose (e.g. centre covered in pollen)

  • Scale and proportion (getting the right size, shape and position of the petals)

Art - Creating Tudor Roses from clay

We then developed our modelling skills to create the rose using clay - this required lots of patience, determination and attention to detail. We used different techniques including rolling, stippling to create textures and attaching the clay using scoring and water. We are incredibly proud of our finished roses.

D.T - Baking Tudor Bread

Another DT highlight has been in Food Technology where we worked hygienically to follow a Tudor Recipe; our Tudor Lover’s Knots tasted delicious (the honey drizzled on top might have had something to do with that!).

Computing - Coding our own 'Hamlet' soundtrack

We enjoyed exploring coding software called 'Scratch' in Computing; we learned how to create a scene with a character (called a 'sprite) which could move and play sound. We explored the different block functions and were even able to modify how the character looked, add sketches to our backdrops and show thought or speed bubbles to give our character dialogue, as well as choosing and editing sounds to create a soundtrack for the scene. 

Term 1 - Science - Forces

In Science, we've been learning about Forces. We explored Friction through an investigation; on which surface will the car travel the furthest distance? We designed a method that was fair and made careful measurements to gather data about each surface. We applied our Maths skills to find the average distance for each surface using addition and division, too!


We investigated air resistance through an investigation with helicopters; whilst keeping all our other variables the same, we only changed the length of the blade to see if the more surface in contact with the air would cause the helicopter to take longer to reach the ground. 


We were shocked to learn that WEIGHT was measured in Newtons whereas grams/pounds/ounces are a measure of MASS instead. We learned that an object's weight could change depending on how much gravity was acting upon it (e.g. on the Moon there is less gravitational force so an object would weigh less than on Earth); MASS, however, would remain the same wherever the object was. We learned to use Newtonmeters to measure an object's WEIGHT and measured an object's MASS using scales.  

Term 1 - Take One Picture

Chestnut class have settled in brilliantly and have thrown themselves 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 hard to accumulate a huge amount of learning in such a short time.

English / Art - Making Inferences and Predictions using Right There Clues

English / Art - Investigating the Life of the Artist, Henri Rousseau

During the week, we investigated the life of Rousseau and we used our research to create eye-catching information pages. Later, we applied our retrieval skills to become experts about the subject of the painting – tigers – and devised our own posters and Kahoot quizzes using the facts we had gathered (we even challenged ourselves to use 5ws and how to start our sentences in a variety of ways).

Art - Developing our Sketching techniques to recreate tropical leaves

Art - Recreating Leaves using Oil Pastels

Art - Our finished leaves


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 investigate colour mixing and creating a range of textures using paints on large paper sheets; we then sketched and cut out our own leaf shapes. We also developed our braiding, coiling and collaging techniques with tissue paper to create highly textured leaves and vines. When we finished our leaves, we assembled them to create our own rainforest – complete with a crouching tiger!