Free Day

You may have heard the class has earned a free day and the plan was to do it this coming Monday. But with the arrival of Elodie I won’t be there. 

The class had already talked about this  and I think we should do it the final Monday of the year. 

I am planning on being at school by the latest this Thursday so we can chat about it then. 

Hope that works for all the students. 


Elodie has arrived

As you may have heard Olivia and I welcomed little baby Elodie Juno Kirkwood to the world yesterday. Olivia was amazing and both of the girls are doing great.

I will not be in school for a few days but I have left plans (which the students already know about). Hopefully we will be able to bring her to school and introduce her to the class next week sometime.

All the best and I will send some more photos through later.

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Electives: Design & Technology

As part of our transition unit we are running a middle school simulation where students rotate between different classes – Language, Maths, Science and Humanities.

During the simulation we discuss with the students who things are going, what have been the challenges and what strategies did people use to adapt.

A part of the simulation is an “elective” session. The session I host will cover Design and Technology and we will be looking at bridge construction.

Depending on the time we have I have two experiments prepared:

Paper Bridge

Your challenge is to create the strongest bridge for a gap of 20 cm which holds the most number of lego blocks. You only can use one piece of paper.


  • A4 paper  – final bridge can be no larger than an A4 piece of paper
  • 5 paper clips
  • Scissors (if required)

Your group can fold, cut or weave your piece of paper. The end goal is to hold the most number of bricks

Lego Bridge

Who can make the strongest, thinnest and longest lego bridge? We will test the bridges with a piece of string and a bucket.

This is harder than you think!

Can you ride a bike?

I simply have to share this video. As I watched it this morning it totally blew my mind and made me re-think how people (adults and children) learn.

I am sure I will come up with an activity/discussion for the video later but for now just enjoy.

Science 1: What is air?

This is first in a series of science lessons which we will be doing as part of the science rotation of our “transition” unit. The first lesson is all about air.

Provocation: What is air?

Talk to a classmate and come up with a theory about what air is. Share with the class.

Question: How do we know air is there? Can you prove that it exists?

Work in a small group to come up with a way to prove that air exists. Conduct an experiment only using resources from the classroom to prove that air exists.

Class Experiments

Lips to Levitate

Hold a piece of paper between your thumb and fingers.  Now take a deep breath and blow over the paper. What happens? Discuss with your group what you think is happening?

The science (taken from here)

So why did the paper lift up when you blew over it? How did that change the air pressure? Air never pulls or sucks; it only pushes. It pushes on you every second, from every direction. This constant push is called air pressure. Did you change the push of air on the top or bottom of the paper? When you blew over the top, the moving air had to squeeze between the paper and the air above it. As the air squeezed through, it sped up, lost pressure, and stopped pushing as hard. The still air below the paper had greater pressure and pushed the paper up.


Have you ever thought about how a helicopter uses air to help it fly? Well we can do an experiment to test this out. Click here to access or click here

What did you find out? What design of helicopter was the most effective?

Science 2: Using Air

Now we know for sure that air exists all around us. We will now look at how we can use air to help us fly and move.

We will start with an experiment called the “Hoop Glider” (click here to access). Take some time to build it carefully and while you are doing it think about what is happening? What is the science behind how the glider works?

Once you are completed the experiment use iMovie to create a short (30 seconds to one minute) explaining how the glider works

Bonus (if you have time)

You already have a  straw and it would be shame to put it to waste. Here is another great experiment to try – Paper Plane Shooters. Make a range of paper planes and test out which design would fly the furthest.

Science 3: Plane Aerodynamics

We now have an understanding that air does exist and how we can use it to help us move. Now it is time to learn about how planes use air to help them fly.

This was a question that always made me “scratch my head” when I was a child. I understood that birds we very light and it is easy to make them fly (they move their wings). But I always wondered how planes could fly – the had wings but they didn’t flap and they were very very heavy. These experiments should help you answer this riddle.

Provocation: What does the word “aerodynamics” mean? What is the history of the word?

With a partner do a short word study into the word aerodynamics and build a word matrix for the word.

Question: How do the wings of a plane work?

With a partner develop a theory of how a plane’s wing work. Once you have shared your theory use they following resources to help develop your understanding.

Site 1

Site 2

Video 1

Video 2

Grab your iPad and develop a short video (iMovie or Explain Everything) explaining how a wing works.

The Great Paper Airplane Test

Our culminating activity for this mini unit will be a paper airplane contest. We will need to discuss what criteria we will judge our planes on before it begins (we can have multiple categories) – distance, maximum flight time, most loops, etc.

Once we have that sorted it is time for you to start researching and building. Use your knowledge of air and aerodynamics to help guide you. Your small group will need to use the following procedure (don’t be limited to only 3 designs but you need to use the structure from the table for your tests) as you work through various models so you can conduct accurate tests.

Below are a range of resources to help you with the process. Please note you are not allowed to print out a template and fold. You must folder the plane yourself.

Plane Designs 1 

Plane Designs 2

Plane Designs 3

Plane Designs 4 (videos) – there are thousands of tutorial videos on Youtube for paper planes


How many helium balloons would it take to make you fly?

This is idea has been shown in many cartoons but is it really possible? It is time to work this out. Use the following information to work out how many (or how large) helium balloons it would take to lift you (you will need to know your weight for this).

Information Site

Fun Video 1

Fun Video 2

Student Update: PE

Just yesterday was our 5th grade sports day! It was pretty fun, and we all got some ideas for the third grade sports day. We have a very short amount of time before the big day, and there’s still some stuff we need to do. The committee is doing a lot of computer work with the score sheets and groups. Overall, everything is fine.