National Young Mathematicians

Four children from Mighty Oaks took part in the National Young Mathematicians competition recently, run in collaboration with the NRICH project at the University of Cambridge. They worked incredibly well as a team, applying their reasoning and problem-solving skills to make it through the first round and be invited back for the regional finals. They tackled very tricky maths problems, being praised by the organisers for their methodical working and good written methods. Ultimately, the team missed out on being regional champions (and a place in the national final at Cambridge University) by just one point!

We are very proud of our super mathematicians, and we will carry on training up all our mathematicians for future competitions!

FUNghi at Forest School

The Year 5 children found and identified various types of funghi in the forest this week.  They also had a go at cutting apples into segments, sprinkling them with sugar and cooking them, to produce delicious caramelized apple slices. 

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A ladder and a rocket stove

Year 5 children made their own ladder at Forest School today, using rope and rungs.  The ladder was hung almost horizontally, so once completed the children had to work hard to balance on it as they climbed, so that it wouldn’t flip over.

Mr Rumbold also brought along a rocket stove.  He explained that even today, 50% of the world’s population still cook every day on an open fire, which can cause respiratory and other issues.  For this reason, a man called Dr. Larry Winiarski began developing a rocket stove in 1980.  Rocket stoves emit 70% less smoke and use 60% less fuel than an open fire, so are also much more efficient.

Some den building also took place today.  Finlay explained that he and his friends “made a big den on one tree and it was a big success.  We all balanced sticks together and made rooms.  It even had a door, and we used a coat to make a roof in case it rained.  It was literally amazing!”

Other children used the opportunity to read quietly while sitting in a tree!

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Nasty Nymphs in Mighty Oaks!

As part of our science learning in Mighty Oaks, we have been looking at the lifestages of different animals. This week we were looking at the lifestages of different insects.

Most insects (around 88%) go through a complete metamorphosis, meaning that they look completely different at each of their four lifestages, from egg to larva, to pupa, to adult.

Complete metamorphosis. Source: Arizona State University

The remaining 12% of insects go through an incomplete metamorphosis, meaning that they have only three lifestages: egg; nymph; adult.

The nymph stage is where the insect is growing continually into its adult form. Some winged insects will begin developing their wings at this stage.

In order to demonstrate this, we headed down to our school pond to see if we could find some dragonfly nymphs.

Epiprocta, Dragonfly nymph. Photo: David Paul, source: Museums Victoria

The class used nets to carefully search for dragonfly nymphs, which live on the bottom of ponds, feeding on other small animals such as tadpoles. We found many nymphs and took them back to the class to make careful observations.

Dragonfly nymphs, while small, are very aggressive predators, and were allegedly the inspiration behind the ‘Xenomorph’ in the ‘Aliens’ sci-fi films. You can see why in the image of a dragonfly nymph feeding below:

Dragonfly nymph jaw. Photo: KQED Science

The lower part of their jaw (called a labium) is like a long, hinged arm that is usually folded under the head. When they encounter their prey, they extend the labium to grab or impale the creature to draw it back to their mouth. 

Please enjoy the pictures from our lesson below:

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Please note: all nymphs and other creatures were returned safely to the pond after the lesson!

Black History Month

Black History Month is a time set aside each October to celebrate the achievements of black men and women in the past and today. To mark this month, the house captains and their vice captains have delivered house assemblies to highlight the achievements of people of black heritage.

The first Black History Month in the UK took place in 1987 to highlight the important – often forgotten – contributions that black people have made, and continue to make, to our country.

The house and vice captains presented information about important figures from black history, including: civil rights activist Rosa Parks; gold medal-winning Olympian Jesse Owens; nurse & public health advocate Mary Seacole and the first black woman to be elected to parliament – Diane Abbott.

To find out more about Black History Month visit www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk

You can download and view the house and vice captains’ powerpoint here:

Brook Black History Month assembly

The 4th of October also marked National Poetry day, so please enjoy this recital of the poem ‘Still I Rise’ by celebrated poet Maya Angelou: