Houghton Primary School

"Working hard to achieve our best"

Kestrels (Y4)


Kestrels' Class are our Year 4 group. They are taught by Mrs MacLennan on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. They are taught by Mrs Read on Thursday afternoons and Fridays. They are both assisted by Mrs Roberts, Mrs Macey, Mrs Sharpe and Mrs Blem-Larsen.

Please click here to find out more about the Year 4 curriculum for Autumn 2017

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As part of our topic on th polar regions, we have been investigating how global warming has been affecting our planet. We have measured the area of the Colombia glacier in Canada, and calculated the amount of glacier that has melted since 1989 using satallite images. Also we looked at how the increase in carbon dioxide in our environment is making our seas more acidic. We used litmus paper to identify acids and discovered that tap water is neutral but carbonated water is acidic. Then we placed sea shells in the cabonated water, we also used vinegar and found out the shells dissolve in acid. Using our knowledge of food webs we recognised that shellfish would become endangered and this would have a huge impact on animals that eat them such as the walrus! 

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Litmus paper turns pink when it comes into contact with acid.

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Shells dissolving in carbonated water and vinegar both of which are weak acids.

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Our celebration of reading has continued this week with our partnered reading with year 1 pupils on Monday and our den reading by torch light on Tuesday was a real favourite with the children. The children have also been sharing how many "READING BINGO" activities they have been completing and hopefully will continue to have fun doing this over half term!

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The start of the Readathon in Kestrels!

On the 1st day we began our reading challenge by  trying to read We are Going on a Bear Hunt in German. We managed to work out the meaning of lots of words. We then all enjoyed performing it as we listened to Michael Rosen retell the story in English.

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On the 2nd  day we visited our School Treehouse and enjoyed sharing lots of The Treehouse Storey books by Andy Griffiths, which led to lots of discussion as to what we would like to put on the different storeys in our own treehouse.  

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Finally, after a few false starts we went on our walk over to the meadow this week. We stuck close by the Cafe and camping gound where it wasn't too muddy! Luckily, the sun was shining and it was a very pleasant walk, spotting early signs of spring including; newly emerging buds, crocus and snowdrops. As there are currently no leaves on the trees we compared the bark and trunk shape of different trees to help us identify our oaks from our silver birches. We took bark rubbings, measured the trunks circumference and took sketches. We also used binoculars and a bird identification book to do a spot of bird watching, some of the children recorded what they saw using a tally chart. Back at school, we are going to be keeping a record of our trip by making a scrap book for each month. Our next visit to the meadow will be in Feburary but after half term.

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Just to let you know we have had to postpone our trip to the meadow but will still be going hopefully on Tuesday 30th January- thank you for your understanding.

As part of our research into; how animals have adapted to survive the extreme weather conditions in the polar regions. We hypothesised that some animals can survive in the Arctic ocean such as the seal, whereas others can't such as us! Why? We predictied that it could be due to the thick layer of blubber underneath a seals skin. We tested our prediction by using blubber gloves, allowing us to have a thick layer of blubber too! We had great fun observing the difference it made to plunging our hand into very cold water. 

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We have been lucky enough this week, to have a visit from a real life Arctic explorer. He brought in his backpack with many of the items he used to survive a month in the Arctic. We enjoyed sharing his photos of his travels and it was extremely interesting to listen to his experiences of visiting the amazing and extreme landscape of the Arctic circle. 

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Next week: we will be visiting the meadow for a learning session at so time throughout the week, could you please ensure your child brings suitable clothing to school including; hats and gloves or a waterproof coat. You may also wish to send in wellies or a change of shoes that can be kept in a named plastic bag on your child's peg.


This week we began our work on our new topic "Frozen Planet". We have started by considering why the poles are always so cold! To do this we looked at the geography of the world. As well as  Earth's position in space in relation to the sun and how this gives us our seasons! Over the next few weeks we will be studying the amazing animals found in the Arctic and investigation global weather patterns! 

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Welcome back and Happy New Year to you all from the Year 4 team. 

We have enjoyed hearing from the children about their Christmas holidays and it has been lovely to see them enthusiastic and ready to begin the new term.

On the first day back we were outside practising our counting in German, playing different number games.

How many skips can we do?

Eins, Zwei ...


Hopscotch - counting in German.

Acht, Neun , Zehn.


How many times can we catch the ball?

Eins, Zwei, Drei, Vier   ......



I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I look forward to seeing you all again in January.

To get us in the festive mood we paired up with Wrens to make our Christmas hats and also sat with them to enjoy our Christmas dinner and give the little ones a helping hand. This week we enjoyed making our Christmas card, Christingle oranges and had a little Christmas fun!

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We have enjoyed a lovely run up to the Christmas holidays in school. We completed our unit on electricity by challenging the children to make their own buzz-wire game. The children were amazing and worked diligently and resourcefully to create their games; perhaps they could explain to you how - and why! They worked? 

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Our Christmas door theme this year has been, Up-cycling Christmas! In Kestrel's class we have been busy up-cycling old plastic bottles into cute and cuddly penguins for a fantastic door display.

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We began our last topic of the autumn term this week with Electricity. This week, the children have investigated making circuits, learnt about keeping safe around electricity and  identified a few things we use electricity for!

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What a fabulous assembly kestrels performed yesterday! Well done to all the children who have worked so hard learning their lines, making props and perfecting their parts. Thank you to all for the hard work you've put in helping the children learn their lines and organising costumes! It was lovely to see so many of you yesterday I hope you all very much enjoyed the performance as much as the children, who were really buzzing afterwards!

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We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our class assembly on Thursday 30th November at 9:00.

Our fantastic school trip was great fun. The children had an opportunity to look at and handle real Roman artefacts! They became Roman slaves and had to shop, cook and dress for a Roman feast. At the market they needed to by the food with Roman money and make sure they got the change right. Some of the children visited the doctor and found out about Roman medicines and cures. The children also enjoyed being Roman potters creating their own pottery inspired by real Roman artefacts.

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We've been enjoying lots of active maths during the last few weeks to consolidate our learning in the classroom. This week, we "played" factors bus stops and class remainders!  

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Last week, Kestrels enjoyed our sharing assembly when the children proudly shared with the rest of the school how we made our pizza's and their take away boxes. 

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Througohut the past week we've had a real focus on Design and Technology here in Kestrels class, with cross curricular links into many other subjects. We couldn't possibly do a topic on Italy and not learn about the fabulous food they are so famous for, so we turned our kitchen area into an Italian Pizzeria! And like any good pizza restaurant we offered a take away service, for which the children had to investigate, design and make their own boxes. As part of our English we compiled a recipe book, with every child contributing their own personalised pizza recipe.

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We have continued our investigation into the different types of rocks; we used tools to test the hardness of rocks, water to test their permeability and ethanoic acid (commonly known as vinegar) to learn which types of rock dissolve in acid. I'm sure the children will enjoy sharing what they learnt with you and may even like to investigate the rocks and stones a little closer to home!

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Thank you for the amazing home learning you've produced this term. Here is a small selection  of the range of projects I received for our last piece, about our favourite books.

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This week we begun our Science topic on "Rocks and Soils". The children shared their impressive knowledge of rocks and asked questions they would like to know the answers to including; " Why are rocks different?" "How are rocks made?" and "How do they get crystals inside them?"  We looked closely at a great range of rocks and identified some of them as sandstone, chalk, granite and marble. We also became "Rock Detectives" and investigated the rocks all around us! We took a walk around the graveyard and went inside the church to see how rocks are being used.


Over the past few weeks the children have very much enjoyed taking part in Tag-rugby sessions run by a specialist sports coach, Claire David. We had a great time engaging in the NSPCC challenge to help raise funds for their "Buddy" campaign. On Wednesday all the children took part in a sports circuit in the school hall. 




What an action packed 3 days really tiring but totally worth it a fantastic experience and thoroughly enjoyable. For our last day we split into 4 groups and took part in a range of team activities- where the children were charge! They had great fun; herding sheep, building dens, saving polar bears and completing the gutter challenge! We then had our award presentation when everyone received a reward for their personal achievement over the last 3 days. We also said a sad goodbye to Cathy White our fantastic TA who unfortunately leaves us today. Finally we lowered the flag and climbed aboard the coach homeward bound!

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Our Roman day has been packed full of exciting activities, we have: completed sums using Roman numerals on a wax tablet, made a mosaic clay tile, studied real Roman artefacts, made and tasted stuffed dates to an authentic Roman recipe, learnt latin, dressed as a Roman soldier and learnt important battle formations and to cap it all we provided the horse power in our own chariot races! 

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We have had an amazing day packed full of fun, laughter and quite simply crazy excitement. Soon after we arrived we sorted the most important job of the day- organising our bedrooms! Then we raised the flag pole so to ensure everyone knows that we've arrived. After lunch we got on with the business of hunting treasure at the local nature reserve. We needed to develop our map reading skills a little beforehand using the playground markings, compasses and 4 digit grid references! Once we had our treasure maps there was no stopping us despite seeing several signs of pirates nearby, we were all very brave and found the treasure chest buried beneath a pile of sticks and branches. The treasure was yummy and we all had a share! On returning to Stibbington we were all very hungry, so the Crunchy Carrot team got straight to work organising the dining room and we all dug into plates of pasta bolognaise followed by apple crumble and custard and fresh fruit. Following dinner we enjoyed some free time outside. Just before it got dark we had our campfire, everyone enjoyed the smores and we had some lovely entertainment as well, there was a very memorable performance of "Let it go" by a few of the boys. Last but not least we had some quiet time before bed; reading books, colouring, playing chess and doing jigsaws. 

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A few photos from our first day at Stibbington...

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Wow, what a busy couple of weeks we’ve had! We have begun our topic work on Italy and have been doing lots of map work. The children have then created 3D models of Italy using salt dough, the models have been painted different colours dependent on the height of the land above sea level. We also completed our first BIG write this week which was based on the book "I want my hat back" by Jon Klassen, its a great, fun book and even inspired many of the children to get together and create a role play of the story- lovely to see!

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We have spent the last 3 weeks exploring and investigating place value in maths, the children have had to work really hard to think about reasoning and problem solving activities. 




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Welcome back to you all, I hope you've had a wonderful summer holiday. Talking with the children this week they've had some amazing experiences at home and away. Thank you to everyone who brought in their holiday homework, it is now making a great display in class. It's been lovely to see so many smiles coming into to school this week and everybody has been really enthusiastic and working hard- a great start to the new year!

On our first day back, we made a year 4 time capsule, the children had to record some personal information about themselves including; their height, favourite colour, foot size etc.. All the information has been carefully packed away in our time capsule and will be opened on Tuesday 23rd July, our last day in year 4! When we will see just how much they've all grown and changed during this school year. 

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Our PE lesson this week focused on how to get out and use all the equipment safely. The children had a fantastic time practising the health and safety rules!

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