Fact to Fancy: Interpreting Information (in style!!!)

As Year 4 walked into the classroom this morning, they were presented with a map of Europe with the outline of Australia overlayed on top.  This was to try and show the sheer size of the country we are learning about.  Working collaboratively in teams, they had to add place names from both Europe and Australia, where the maps overlapped.

We then turned these locations (the “Facts”) into comparative sentences (the “Fancy”).  This is a very tricky task and the children enjoyed being able to do something so grown up!

We turned “Fact” into “Fancy” right there and then in the lesson, starting from just a blank map!

Boom! (As you children apparently say????)

Did the investigation work?

We realised that we could get an awful lot of particles, in our mixture, out of the water through sieving and filtering.  However, no matter how careful we were and how fine a filter we used, the water would not come clean and clear.

Mr Swallow introduced us to the concept of mixtures and solutions Mixtures can be separated by filtering BUT solutions can’t.  Therefore, the dirty water left in our cups after all that sieving MUST be a solution!!!

Mr Swallow challenged us to come up with an experiment to separate the solution and finally purify the water.  We brainstormed all the things we could do to a liquid, we came up with:  pour it (done that), shake it (done that), drink it (errr!!!!), soak it up (good idea), heat it up, cool it down or add something to it.

Each team chose which approach to take and planned their experiment.  Mr Swallow ran around school and popped to the shop at lunch to get all the equipment we needed and off we went.  Investigating whether our idea would separate the solution or not…

Some teams soaked up the water with a sponge or kitchen roll, then squeezed it out to see if that would separate the solution…it didn’t.

Some teams added chemicals, such as Milton, hand sanitizer or washing up liquid, to see if that would work.  It probably killed off any germs but we still wouldn’t want to drink it!

Some teams cooled down the solution by freezing it in an ice cube tray or adding ice to it to “grab” the particles (nice idea as it works with salt if you put too much in your cooking!).  It didn’t work here though!

The final team opted for heating the solution.  They boiled it in a pan on Mr Swallow’s camping stove and as the liquid evaporated into steam, they collected it in half of a bottle (with Mr Swallow’s help and his oven gloves!!!), where it condensed back into clean, clear water!  success!  In order to separate the water from the solution, we had to turn it into a vapour and then back to a liquid.

Well done everyone, we may just survive this journey after all!


Super Scientists!!!

This morning, Year 4 had a very tricky challenge! We have found out that our water supply on board ship has been contaminated. We need to purify the water so that we can survive the journey.

Mr Swallow got out a bunch of containers, sieves, funnels, colanders, cups cloth and other things and asked us to choose any equipment we wanted for our team. We then had to come up with our own plan about how to use it! What equipment should we use?  How should we use it? What order should we use it in? Our teams discussed what to do and came up with a plan!


Down on the field, we experimented with the equipment to try and remove all the horrid things from our cup of water, to make it safe enough to drink!

Some of them worked better than others!

We looked at how the team who had got the cleanest water had done that worked well. They had:

used the filters with the biggest holes first, to get rid of any big particles and not clog up their filter.

worked methodically from large hole filter down to smallest.

worked really carefully, keeping equipment clean and not re-using dirty containers.

Worked patiently, pouring slowly so they didn’t lose any water and giving the water plenty of time to drain through the sieves and muslin.


We all adopted their way of working and our results improved dramatically!!!

Unit 2 is all about the special places in Australia

We have used a 3D design program called Sketch Up to make models of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in Sydney!  It is really tricky to work in 3D because you have to rotate the model to work on different parts and sometimes the program tries to “guess” what you are trying to do and help but gets it wrong so you have to find a different way of solving the problem!

Sketch up is free to use on a laptop or PC at home if you sign up for it.  To have a go, visit:


Take a look at what we have designed so far:

The Harbour Bridge by Isla & Lucy



We are writing a diary as if we were one of the convicts that made the journey to Australia on the First Fleet

We have had to learn lots of new skills and knowledge to be able to do this:

  • We had to research and read about who was sent to Australia and what the journey was like
  • We had to look at a good example of a diary so we knew what features to include in our own version.  Including; using personal pronouns to write in the first person, talking to the diary like a real person, sharing our feelings and emotions, using non-standard English and time fronted adverbials to move the action along- clever stuff!
  • We created authentic-looking artwork to illustrate our diary, like the pictures we saw when reading about the First Fleet
  • We had to use some very clever computer skills to be able to transfer photos of our work from the iPads to our school server by sharing an IP address!!!
  • We had to use formatting skills to make an authentic looking writing frame for our diary on Word
  • Finally, we had to put all of these elements together to write our independent diaries!

We used our art work to help with our creative writing this morning

We are creating ink drawings of ourselves in character onboard a prison ship, in the First Fleet on its way to Australia.

This morning we had to add post-it notes to show how our characters would be feeling.  Were they missing home?  How was life onboard ship making them feel?  What were they scared of?  What would Australia be like when they got there?  They look great…

We now need to use those post-it note feelings in our diary writing!

Our first challenge…

We had to work in small teams to decide if some statements about Australia were true or false.  the purpose of the activity was to let me see how much the class already know and spot any misunderstandings they had.  The purpose was also to discuss your opinions with your partners and justify your point of view.  Later in the topic, we shall have a chance to revisit this work and see if there are any statements we would change our mind about.


Welcome to our new topic Year 4…Australia!

New topic and new teacher!  For any parents who have not met me yet, my name is Mr swallow and I shall be working with this class for the rest of this academic year and all the way through Year 5.

Our first topic together is all about Australia…or more specifically ‘”Surviving Australia!”

Here is our planning outline so you and the kids can see what is coming up this half term.  Hopefully, this will help you understand what we are doing about in class and help you ask your child about what they’ve been up to!