Thursday, 12 February 2015

Class 4's Island Project - part I

 We started with a single tile each. Year 5 took the inland section and were tasked with including a range (pun intended) of mountains. We'd studied this prior to starting so pupils were aware of the different types of mountains and the forms these would take.
 The Year 6 pupils also started with a single tile each but were given the task of creating a realistic coastline, including several features which had also been researched prior to commencing this part of the project.
 The island soon started expanding and before we knew it we had a coastline which connected but featured more than twice the amount of tiles we'd originally intended! We all agreed this made the island really cool and exciting (although assembling it was becoming increasingly complicated)!
 Here we are examining an ordnance survey guide to symbols so that we could consider how to draw the coastline in a unified way.
 Here we are referring to our working wall display of coastal features so that we could ensure we included as many natural (i.e. we left man-made features for now) coastal features as possible.
 Assembling the's starting to take shape now.
 After a few refinements to accommodate river mouths (we researched how the rivers might flow through the island too) we had finally created an island template we were all very proud of. Every pupil had designed at least one section and crucially, we'd tried to make the geography as accurate and realistic as possible - the rivers for instance only begin to meander as they leave the mountainside and reach flatter terrain and the banks and small beaches along the river are placed accurately too. We had included a wide range of terrain including salt marshes, five mountain types (fold, plateau, dome, volcanic and fault-block), coniferous, non-coniferous and mixed woodland, plus different types of grassland. The coastland was also varied - some pupils intended their beaches to be shingle, other sand and the cliffs varied too. Other features such as deltas, spits, arches, stacks and headlands were also included. The rivers began at various sources and we included features such as tributaries, meanders, oxbow lakes and more.
 Here pupils are colour mixing their paint to best match our ordnance survey guide. We used our first draft island as a practice copy to ensure our final 2D version was just right. Colour mixing was very important here as we were completing these tasks in sections so different groups had to find tones which would match the overall design - we didn't make it easy for ourselves as the standard blue in the palette wasn't a good enough match for the ordnance guide so mixing was the only way - a useful skill nonetheless!
 Here pupils are adding detail to the mountains by adding initial contour lines - these had to reflect the properties of each specific type of mountain in shape.
 After recreating our island on strong card (which involved some very careful observation and measurement - paying special attention to entrance and exit points so that the sections matched) we began to paint. We started with the blue for the lakes, rivers and sea and we all agreed it was starting to look really exciting now. The paint job was very careful and precise.
 Then we began adding extra features to the island. Here you can see pupils making potato stamps for salt marshes, grassland, coniferous trees and non-coniferous trees - these symbols were once again best-matched to the designs use in OS maps so that we could recreate that regimented, universal style.
 Here pupils are again colour mixing on our tester sheet to try to achieve the light background green to contrast with the darker shade required for our stamps.
 The stamps had to all point in the same direction so at this stage we needed to agree on a 'north' for our island.
 Things really started to take shape. You will notice the mountains now have their own colour as in OS maps and we've coloured in areas of mud and sand too. The forests are different as denoted by the stamps and the blue stamps about the plateau mountain (top right) show the marshland - originally the pupils had chosen this as desert but decided that the island seemed too lush and green for this so this idea was adapted.
 Next, we studied how contour lines can be used to show depth and heights relative to sea level. Pupils practised with photographs of our island - one particular challenge was to show how the river would carve out a valley so this would need to be shown in the contour line - it was pretty complicated! We watched some GCSE Geography video clips to help us with some of this work!
 Here we are adding our contour lines to the 2D island. Around this time we also added final stamps to show grassland. The detail was incredible and we were almost ready for the next (BIG) challenge.....
 ....the 3D island! We have started very small, using tracing paper to map our contour lines onto card - these are they stacked and layered up to create a 3D contour model. We started at the very peak of the mountains and begun working downwards.
 The hall became a hive of model-making activity. It was a wonderful thing to just step back (or in this case climb up really high to take a picture) and watch the class busy away with their particular tasks - even more thrilling was seeing the mountains start to take shape.
 Here we are discussing the mountain height and agreeing as a class if we are satisfied with the scale we've adopted so far (one layer of card per contour line).
 After a good session of building we placed what we'd created on top of the 2D version - it was looking really great (although our card supplies were becoming depleted!).
 This has been a brilliant project so far - we have all learnt so much and the range of skills we've used has been massive too. I've been very proud of Class 4's collaboration - often pupils would design a section of the island which would then later be worked on by another group so this really does feel like a collective effort as nobody has ownership over one specific part. The fact that the 2D final island is such high quality work shows just how well they have worked as a team but the level of detail, and geographical accuracy also shows fantastic, valuable learning too. We can't wait to see where we can take this project next and how it will develop next half term!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

It's Electrifying!!

Class 3 may have been away from school for two weeks, but that doesn't mean that they haven't been working hard. Over the holidays they were asked to make an object that used electricity in preparation for our new topic on 'Circuits and Conductors'. As you can see from the photographs the response was fantastic. We had everything from lighthouses to reindeers! Well done everyone! 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Class 4 stop-frame animation project

At times during the last three weeks, Class 4 have been taking part in a very special animation project. With an audience of Reception Class in mind, Year 5 and Year 6 formed two groups and planned a short, simple story on a Christmas theme. They then got to work building their sets....
 We used a range of materials in creative ways - here chalk has been used to represent blocks of ice.

 Mrs Wraighte dropped by to keep up to date with developments - the Year 5 set is really taking shape here.
 Building a second set for the Year 6 animation (an arctic hare's home!).
 The children are so engrossed here they weren't aware of my snapping!
 Adding finishing details to the sets....
 It was important to create backdrops so that the camera wouldn't accidentally focus on the classroom or any irrelevant things.
 Here, pupils sort though a pile of plastic letters which were used for an animated title sequence.
 Filming commences...
 Great action shot - we used very fine cotton to elevate Santa so that he could be moved in the air without any hands being in shot. The cotton was colour matched to the background where possible so it was less visible.
 We used plasticine to make a wide range of additional characters and props - here is an entire arctic hare's Christmas dinner!
 To make the lightning strike flash we took a couple of frames with it present and then it was removed for the next shots. This was repeated to give a flashing effect. We also used close-up reds and yellows to flash and add drama, as well as turning the lights on and off to make the set appear stormy.

 When all the filming was complete, we turned our attention to the narration. Although we had a basic storyline, we hadn't yet formalised the writing of this. At this stage we had a class writing competition - firstly we wrote the story in a standard narrative style and voted for a Year 5 and 6 winner in class. This story was then pitted against a narrative poetry version (in the style of Julia Donaldson) - the overall winner in each group was used for the final films.
 Well done for being chosen by your class for both the standard narrative and the narrative poetry versions!!
 Here are the Year 5 finalists sharing their best efforts - well done!
 After recording the narration, characterised speech and sound effects, editing was completed to bring the scenes together into the final films. These were completed just in time to share with Reception Class on the final day of term. However, we thought they were pretty great so we decided to invite the entire school instead.
 Clearly they are quite captivated! A proud moment for Class 4.
 The final product - as part of the project we also designed dvd covers (cd size box I know) for the final copies which were all made using digital media too.
This has been a fabulously fun project to run. I'm very proud of the final outcomes and all the brilliant ICT skills the pupils have developed, not to mention great creative design and teamwork skills too. All in all this project has been a great success and I hope one the pupils will remember for a long time.