Y5 & 6 Update

Welcome back to Term 2 in the Homestead! We are well underway with our learning, and the Homestead has been buzzing with activity. We all enjoyed the Lightning Premiership sports competition day and recommencing our Homestead Activities program. On Fridays, working in mixed-age groups, all of the Homestead students engage in real-world activities. These range from gardening, cooking with our garden's ingredients, sustainability support in the reserve at the Senior Campus, STEM problem-solving, scientific exploration under microscopes, sewing, chicken care, team-building sports activities and art exploration.

This week our Year 6 students set off for their study tour around Canberra, leaving behind a quiet Homestead for our Year 5s to complete their NAPLAN assessments. We wish them all the best of luck.  

Inquiry (Year 5)

Sharing the Planet! Ecosystems! Agroforestry! Mung Bean Scrambled Eggs! Salinity!

These are just some of the things our students have engaged with. Having two scientists from Primary Industries work with the students has led to a greater understanding of the interdependence of all ecosystems and the part humans can play to enhance rather than destroy our environment. We learnt the importance of trees and how agroforestry is leading to greater biodiversity on farms. Zooming with Hannah and Christie (two farmers creating a more diverse and productive environment) from Yan Yean allowed the students to ask questions to understand that we can produce a greater variety of foods if we protect our environment. 

Interest-based projects related to our lines of inquiry are our focus for the next few weeks. The topics are varied and thought-provoking. 

Inquiry (Year 6)

In preparation for our visit to Canberra, we commenced our inquiry on 'the interconnection between governance, leaders and citizens'.

Over this term, we will investigate, question and research:

  • The structure and systems of governance and leadership
  • The connection between governance, leaders and citizens
  • Our role as leaders and citizens 

Already the students have looked into what democracy is, how democracy differs from other forms of leadership globally, the different levels of government here in Australia and their responsibilities, what it means to be an Australian citizen, and how historical government policies impacted minority groups. Through the 'Australia in Colour' episode 'Populate or Perish', the children were quite shocked to learn of Australia's past immigration policies, including the White Australia Policy and our Aboriginal people's treatment. 

Literacy (Year 5)

Our main literacy idea has been 'What is needed to communicate effectively to an audience?' Our focus, to begin with, has been on the written form. The students have honed their skills of editing and persuading their readers to see their point of view. There has been an emphasis on vocabulary and sentence structure, as well as using the correct punctuation. Persuasive texts have been written, and at the moment, the students are writing informative texts as part of their inquiry projects. 

During reading sessions, we have looked at engaging beginnings and descriptive vocabulary and how they enable the reader to visualise a story with greater comprehension.

Literacy (Year 6)

Complementing our inquiry focus, we have focused on reading and writing in a persuasive manner. In class, we have debated issues, brainstormed arguments 'for' and 'against' a point of view and classified evidence as either strong or weak. As a combined Year 6 group, we put our public speaking and listening skills to great use by placing a debate into action. We set up a mock 'House of Representatives' in the classroom and enacted the process of passing a bill through to the Senate. Students voiced their points of view, playing various ministers, the speaker, a clerk, and our various political parties. 

We have looked at strategies that authors use in persuasive pieces during our reading sessions, including emotive language, anecdotes, and providing evidence for their arguments through data and statistics. 

Here are some of our students' introductions to their persuasive writing pieces. Their writing prompt was Children should have the right to vote from the age of 10 years old.

"I strongly think kids shouldn't vote until they are 16 or 18 years old. At ten years of age, kids don't understand how politics works, and they won't understand the correct process to vote or who to vote for. At this young age, many kids are immature, and most don't even care about politics. Kids are often stressed out by things such as school, so an upcoming vote will only make them more stressed."  Tiana, 6M

Mathematics (Year 5)

In Year 5, we have a broad focus in mathematics to begin the first few weeks of this term in preparation for this week's NAPLAN assessment. By focusing on problem-solving strategies, we revised most areas of the maths curriculum and familiarised them with the style of questions they are likely to be asked during the test. We are approaching the NAPLAN assessment with a growth mindset by 'embracing the challenge' and using the revision process as an opportunity to explore one of our central ideas this term; 'identifying & describing patterns can assist in solving problems. The children have been solving complex problems from previous tests in groups, using strategies such as:

  • Draw a diagram
  • Create a table/chart
  • Break into smaller steps
  • Work backwards from the answer
  • Eliminate incorrect answers

Once NAPLAN is behind us, our focus will shift to our second central idea for the term; 'operations with numbers can be solved using various strategies. The students will inquire into the different methods for solving addition and subtraction problems (including written and mental strategies) and evaluate their effectiveness. Through this inquiry, the students will gain further proficiency in number fluency, reasoning and problem-solving.

We look forward to sharing some of our work with you in the following Letter Home. 

Mathematics (Year 6)

Our number focus in mathematics this term will be the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). We will start with some revision and then investigate open-ended problems where both mental and written methods are utilised. In measurement and geometry, we will be exploring angles, area, perimeter, volume and time (24-hour, elapsed time and timetables). 

Recently the students worked on a problem titled 'What's my best angle?' This task looked into the perfect angle of release required to shoot a netball goal into the ring. After revising angle types and drawing and measuring angles with a protractor, they moved into some real-life examples, exploring how different heights of students and distance away from the netball ring impact the angle of release. 

Some student findings included;

  • The closer the person is standing to the ring, the larger the angle of release. As they move away, the angle becomes smaller. (Lyra, Remy, Maia)
  • When you are standing under a meter away from the ring, you are shooting at an acute angle. (Harsha)
  • Every meter the netballer moves backwards, the angle of release decreases by half of the previous measurement. (Blake)
  • For every 10cm increase in a person's height, the angle of release increases by 1 degree. (Oliver)
  • Obtuse angles of release will never go in the ring. (Henry)  

What a marvellous Mothers' Day School Meeting we had last Thursday. Perfect weather and delicious food! Fabulous performances from the students performing on the day. Many thanks to all the wonderful women in our lives who attended to celebrate with the students. 

Our Year 6 students are looking forward to sharing their Canberra adventures with you when they return too.