Monthly Archives: March 2017

Sowing Our Ancient Grains

The day has arrived that we start the process of bringing these amazing grains back to life!  We have done our research to find out more about these very special grains that have fed civilizations for centuries.  We realise the climate in this country is very, very different from the conditions to which these crops are best adapted to but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  We really are very interested to find out what happens to the seeds when planted in our Brambleside soil…


Kamut Wheat: Legend has it this ancient grain descends from seeds taken from the tomb of a Pharoh king around 3, 000 years ago.  Scientists have discovered that it is very nutritious grain.

Amaranth: This crop was first cultivated  8, 000 years ago.  It was also a staple crop of the Aztec nation of Mexico from the 13th century.

Quinoa: Dating back to the Incas in South America in the early 13th century, this grain is still grown in Bolivia and Peru.

Sorghum: One of the top five cereal crops in the world, the earliest known record of sorghum dates back 8, 000 years ago to North Africa.

Millet: An important crop in Asia and Africa, this grain has been an important food staple in human history.  A very ancient grain that has been cultivated in East Asia for the last 10, 000 years.




It’s very interesting to note the development of the crops after 2 weeks, kamut wheat is by far the strongest plant, outgrowing the others by far.  Red Sorghum, and Amaranth are growing well with Quinnoa, Millet and White Sorghum not germinating well at all.

farming ancient

Circuit Components and Getting Practical

Exploring how to make components buzz, light and turn…

Excited to share our electrical kits from home. The flying propeller and lie detector was a popular choice!

Learning more about what electricity is, how it is made and the dangers before finding out about working circuits.  

Our next goal is to learn the international symbols for the components so that we can represent our own circuits in a diagram for our friends to make.  It was fun discovering what happens to the propellers when the direction of the current is reversed and interesting to find out that buzzers only work when connected to the correct battery terminal! 

Science With Our Senses

Year 3 were challenged to tune into their sense of smell and sight today as Dr Garry made a return trip to update us on his research and deliver a few exciting experiments to help us understand more about the importance of our senses. 

Discovering that our sense of touch improves when our eyes are closed.

Experimenting with paper chromatography was fun. The black pen was the most interesting with many different colours appearing in the wet filter paper.

Exploring contrasting colours and discovering that black on yellow is the easiest to read.

Understanding that light is made of a spectrum of colours. Different living things detect different colours.

New Pond Life 

At last the frogs have returned and pleased us all by laying their annual batches of frogspawn all over the pond. spring is here again!

Our observation tank returns again. We look forward to be recording all the changes that take place on the journey from spawn to frog…

1 week old. Year 1’s will be watching the development of the tiny tadpoles like hawks!

World Gardening

Intrigued by growing wheat like the ‘Little Red Hen’ and finding out more about the food of ancient civilisations, classes throughout the school will be investigating the growth of ancient grains and monitoring the impact of the weather by hopefully linking up with other schools experiencing very different climates.

We are very excited to be in contact with our friends from Portland in Oregon again and hope to exchange weather data and compare the growth of the ‘3 sisters’ (corn, squash and beans) traditionally grown by the American Indians. It will be very interesting to see how the growth of our plants compare across the Atlantic.

Portland in Oregon in North West America

Year 2 have enjoyed completing very creative weather watch projects for their homework.

We’ve all been inspired by a fantastic rainguage made by a boy in Reception class.

Our more traditional and less colourful rain gauge for measuring the daily rainfall

It was really interesting to compare the seeds of corn and wheat plants. It’s fascinating to learn the flour from both make a different dough and different type of bread. We discovered that maize flour makes tortillas and wheat flour makes bread.

Our wheat ready for harvest last year. We enjoyed measuring the temperature of the soil with our data loggers.

We discovered that the corn grew really well in our big tyres.

Our rain gauge that we will be using for measuring our daily rainfall.

Sole survivors! When our sunflower plants torn to shreds by the insects our corn plants proved to be very strong and healthy.

Year 2 are enjoying the challenge of germinating ancient grains, including Kamut Wheat, legend has it that Kamut Wheat is an ancient grain said to be found in the tomb of a Pharoh king.

Sowing some local Northamptonshire wheat

Reading ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch’ by Ronda Armitage and learning about where our crops were first cultivated is fun when Mr Grindling’s greedy seagulls are involved!

 Schools interested in joining in with our World Gardening activities are very welcome through commenting on the link below or for further information if you are interested in taking part please email

Potatoes, Maize, Beans and Birds

Our bird survey was our number one priority tonight.  Apart from the black Niger seed (a known favourite for Goldfinches) the birds have now consumed more or less all their seed over the space of two weeks.  Our survey has found that the sunflower seed kernels and most definitely the dried worms have proved to be their favourite food! We can’t wait to see the photos from the  nature cam…

After 2 weeks our science survey has found that the dried worms followed by the sunflower kernels she.

We’ve found an easy way to fill our narrow containers!

Getting our tyre ready for growing our Lincolnshire beans.

Sowing our Maize (sweetcorn). Maybe a bit early due to the risk of frost so we will cover with fleece.

Shoots and roots on last year’s potatoes. Too good to eat so we planted them again!

2 weeks later! Our Lincolnshire wheat has germinated and growing fast!

Sowing a selection of flowers and fruit in trays for our mini greenhouse.

British Sciece Week Investigations

Year 4 enjoyed a whirlwind of chemistry, physics and biology in Science to celebrate national British Science week today.  In a carousel of activities the hardness of our tap water was investigated for a BBC Explorify national database, the pH of toothpaste, mouthwash and hair conditioner was tested, electrical circuits were made to spin colour wheels to explore Isaac Newton’s work on spectrums.  We wanted to see if the colours of the spectrum merge to make white if they spin round fast enough!  We also enjoyed trying out our new stop motion animation app to make movies on our new class iPads (which were very kindly donated by Fobs at Christmas).  Finally, oserving moss and a range of other living things under the microscopes really was a highlight of the session.  Seeing the tiny spores and leaves of moss transform before our eyes into what was described by the children as  a ‘ gigantic forest’ under the lens of the microscope was amazing.

Year 5 have been finding out about the discoveries that Sir.Isaac Newton made with light being made up of a spectrum of colours.  By slowing it down when passing it through a prism the different colours bend.  This is called refraction.

The children enjoyed the challenge of making Newton’s spinning wheels using their knowledge of electrical circuits.

Making sure that every colour of the spectrum is included turned out to be the most successful way of making a white spinning wheel!

Our closest to white wheel yet!

Moss, a very interesting plant under the microscope.

Measuring the rain would be far more fun using this fantastic rain gauge made by a very special scientist from RSS class!

Our traditional rain gauge. We are hoping to compare our rainfall with the rainfall currently being experienced with our science link friends in Portland America…

Next week we look forward to a return visit by Dr Garry Dix to inspire us with more of his research and chemistry experiments for us to explore.

It’s not to late to get involved. If you work in a stem profession and are related to a child in school and would be interested in delivering a talk or demonstration please email for more information.

Testing the pH of toothpaste and mouthwash.

Discovering that we need a greater range of colours to make the card look white!

Making stop motion movies with our new ‘stop motion studio’ app was fun!

Connecting a battery pack carefully to a motor to spin our colour wheels. The greater the power hopefully the chances of making the spectrum of colours merge to make white will increase….

A section of a bee’s wing through the lens of a microscope