Homestead Group News

Learning by doing

What a marvellous return to school the Year 5 students have had. Ma'am and Sir greeted the students, ready for a day of learning as students in the 1850's. Impeccable manners, copperplate handwriting and learning about life on the goldfields.

Our trek:

Experiencing what it may have been like for those who came from Ireland to find their fortune in gold, the students travelled from Melbourne to Ballarat—through the bush, pushing a wheelbarrow filled with supplies. We encountered bushrangers and 'weird' animals. Sadly, the ladies in our group lost their family jewellery to bushrangers, Katherine and Pete. We camped under trees, beside the water and under a makeshift tent. Food was scarce as we had eaten most of it on the first day.

It is impressive what experiences we can provide for students when we have such a beautiful environment on our Penbank Campus.

Sovereign Hill Camp:

A roar of excitement was heard in the Homestead when it was announced we would be going to Ballarat. This camp is one of the students' favourites. Participating in the costume school provides the students with firsthand experience and learning from Sovereign Hill's teachers about the gold rush and the people involved.

Learning by Caring

In Year 6, we explore an inquiry unit based on the Central Idea of 'Sharing stories of migration can build compassion and understanding'. We have focused on learning the stories of others and listening with an open mind before forming an opinion. Coinciding with the Olympic games, we have looked into the individual stories of the athletes representing the Olympic Refugee Team. Discussions were based around the struggles they faced, challenges they overcame, and what their future may look like ahead. We have enjoyed following the successes of these particular athletes as they have competed in their events.

We have also commenced an inquiry task into the personal story of migrants or refugees. Students have been interviewing (or researching) family members, neighbours, friends and notable sports/media figures to learn about the stories of others. Soon we will hold a 'screening' afternoon at school. Through their self-constructed video presentations, the students will share and learn about these chosen individuals and their story as a migrant or refugee.

While learning online, we shared a beautiful text, 'Anisa's Alphabet', written from the perspective of a young refugee who was forced to flee her home. The students then put themselves into the shoes of a migrant or a refugee to draft their alphabetical based journey. We had some beautifully published and illustrated final stories.

Hands-on Mathematics

Year 5

The focus in maths for the beginning of Term 3 has been multiplication and division as we inquire into the central idea – identifying & describing number patterns can assist in problem-solving. By identifying the practices involved in multiplication and division, we can master our times' tables more efficiently.

The students have played many different games to master their tables, which continued during lockdown with partners in breakout rooms or with a group game of 'Multo' (multiplication bingo) on Zoom. Learning our tables helps to reduce the mental load when attempting more complex problems and allows us to focus all of our brainpower on the problem rather than the number of facts needed to solve it.

The students have been exposed to rich problems, like the egg tower problem, where students had to inquire into how many eggs were in a giant tower of egg cartons. They then asked further, thinking about the total price of the building and attempting to calculate the profit the supermarket might make per carton of eggs. We will promote some more deep mathematical thinking from the students during the remainder of the term!

Year 6:

The Year 6 students have been investigating the relationship between fractions, decimals and percentages. Using the picture storybook 'If the World Were a Village', we have explored the concept of global data in a more concise format. This text has also linked nicely with our inquiry focus, with the students studying global data relating to:

  • nationalities across the world
  • languages spoken
  • ages of our global population
  • religions followed
  • access to food/water
  • literacy and education levels

Sharing this story, the students used the provided data to create their pie graphs, converting their percentages into an equivalent fraction and decimal formats. It was an excellent opportunity to revise our angles and practise using mathematical equipment such as compasses and protractors.

We have also explored the Olympic Games in Tokyo through a mathematical lens. The students enjoyed researching mathematical data relating to Tokyo and Japan to create their mathematical based displays. They discovered that:

  • In land size, Australia is roughly 20 times larger than Japan, but our population is five times smaller! (Leisel)
  • Japan's 'main island' Honshu, has a population of around 104,000,000 people, while Tokyo city alone is home to around a 13.5million (Harsha)
  • Australia's population is increasing at a rate of about 1.5%, while Japan's population is decreasing by around -0.23% (Tiger and Milla)
  • 1 Australian dollar is equal to around 80 yen, meaning a $6 bottle of Coca Cola here in Australia would cost about 480 Japanese Yen (Brodie)

We are all so glad to be back learning on-site in a face-to-face manner, without the daily reminder of "you're on mute!" We have made the most of getting back into our learning in a hands-on way and can't wait for the exciting opportunities that the rest of the term will provide.