Shirley Community Primary & Preschool

Learning for life

Nuffield Road, Chesterton, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB4 1TF

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YEAR 5 Blog

The Legends of the Fens Workshop

Today our young historians had a treat from the lovely actors performing the Legends of the Fens. We were transported back in time and looked at many different artifacts and heard some captivating stories from the Fens. We had a lovely time and even got an autograph from one of the actors, take a look at our images and videos below.

RE - Foods from Different Religions

This half term in RE, we have been learning about foods from different religions. We learnt about what foods are not allowed to be eaten by different religions and wrote about what meals would be suitable for what religions. We learnt about the foods different religions might eat for their celebrations and festivals. After this, we got to work in the D&T room, and made our own latkes to try for ourselves. Some of us thought they were yummy and some of us didn't.

International Week

This week, we learnt all about The Netherlands through may different traditional activities.

On Monday, Miss Twist's mum came in to talk to us about about The Netherlands. We ate some traditional foods called poffertjes, stroopwafels and gouda and tried on some traditional clothing.

On Tuesday, we read an extract from Anne Frank: A diary of a Young Girl and thought about what it would be like if we had to hide away. We wrote diary entries imagining ourselves in Anne's position.

On Wednesday, we celebrates Koningsdag (King's Day). We played lots of different games including koekhappen where we had to eat a biscuit off a string without using our hands. We also played spikerpoopen (Nail pooping) were we tied a string with a nail on it around our waists, and had to try to get the nail into a bottle.

On Thursday, we learnt about VIncent Van Gogh and recreated one of his famous paintings, Sunflowers.

On Friday, we shared our learning with Year 3 and made a big collaborative picture of the sunflowers together.

Health Week

This week, we learnt about healthy behaviours including what we eat, how much physical activity wedo and how much we sleep. We also look at the Eatwell Guide and ranked foods according to different nutrients. We then made our own menu of healthy foods. We learnt the importance of wearing a helmet and how to stay sun safe. Finally we learnt about the importance of regular physical activity including a debate and taking part in some games outside to get our bodies moving and our hearts pumping.

'Reach for the Stars' Trip to Anglia Ruskin University

This week, year 5 got the opportunity to visit Anglia Ruskin University as part of the 'Reach for the Stars' programme, which encourages young people to aspire to attend university in the future. With help from student ambassadors, we found out about what student life is like, what you can study and what skills you can build at university. We also went on a tour of the campus and got to visit the biggest lecture hall, the art gallery and the music rooms. Finally, to end our day we designed our own university where we came up with the layout, the subjects taught and the theme of the university. Take a look at our pictures to see how much fun we had.

Art Trip - The Fitzwilliam Museum and Kettle's Yard

This week, year 5 went on a trip to The Fitzwilliam Museum and Kettle's Yard as part of our art learning. We explored the Fitzwilliam museum with our sketch paper in hand, stopping to draw particular items that caught our eye. We experimented with line drawing, shading, adding colour and trying to draw without looking at the page. After a quick walk across Cambridge, we then swapped with the other class to visit Kettle's Yard. We explored the house and apartments within and practised more drawing, focusing on sculpture. We then created our own artwork in the studio by taking part in a monoprinting workshop. Take a look at our pictures to see our work!


This week in maths, we have been looking at all things shape, we started off with 2-D shapes and found out that a polygon is a 2-D shape with equal sides and angles. We then took polygon tiles and created 3-D shapes and named them, we created cuboids, cubes, pyramids, prisms and even a dodecahedron! We then discovered that these 3-D shapes could be unfolded into their nets in different ways. We experimented with how many different ways we could make a net of a cuboid. Take a look at our pictures below, how many shapes can you name?


This term, year 5 will be visited by ARM, a semiconductor and software design company based in Cambridge, to learn more about coding and programming. This week, Tree Kangaroo class learnt about processors and how many different devices use them. We also tried out some coding using micro:bits and were able to programme it to display a message, show a beating heart and even turn it into a dice you shake to change the number! I wonder what we will get to explore next week...

Science Week 2024

This week in Science we have been investigating thermal insulators and conductors. We carried out an experiment to see if foil or cotton wool would be the better thermal insulator to keep a cup of water hotter for longer. We discovered that the cotton wool was the better thermal insulator. We then asked questions due to the result and decided to do another experiment to investigate which material would keep a ice cube in its solid state (colder) for longer. The result of this experiment showed the tin foil kept the ice cube solid for longer, however we hypothesised that the cotton wool would have kept it colder. When writing up our experiment we came up with ideas for why the experiment had this result. 

Take a look at our experiments below.

World Book Day

Today, Year 5 celebrated World Book Day with a focus on poetry. 

First, we showed off our wonderful outfits in a whole school assembly and got to see everyone elses wonderful costumes. Then we began looking at a poem called From a Railway Carriage by Robert Louis Stevenson. We discussed the poems rhyming pattern and the figurative language used. We then created a class poem in the same style called From a Swimming Bus and talked about what we can see out the window on our way to swimming! After lunch Tree Kangaroos spent their DEAR time in the library and we all wrote up our poems neatly and illustrated them. Some of us got to show our work to other teachers and staff. We ended our day performing our poems and listening to Michael Rosen performing some of the poems he has written. Take a look at our costumes and poems in the photos below!

Safety Week

This week, we have been focusing on how we can stay safe and spending some time each day looking at a different area of safety. We learnt how to stay safe online and made posters to display our learning for others to see. We learnt about what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like and draw a mind map detailing our trusted adults who we can talk to if we are worried. We also learnt about how conflict can arise online and how to manage a situation were someone or something upsets us online. Some of the strategies we came up with were: calm down before you respond by doing a different activity, spending time with family or breathing deeply. We learned about consent and how we have a choice in what is shared online. Finally we shared our learning with the whole school in a sharing assembly and got to hear about what other classes learned about this week. Take a look at some of the work we completed this week below!


In Science this term we are leaning about materials. This week the children have been investigating conductors and insulators, to investigate the best electrical conductors that will make a bulb shine the brightest.  We discovered that electrical conductors allow electricity to flow through them while electrical insulators do not.  We tested wood, glass, fabric, metal and we discovered that metal would allow electricity through and therefore metal was the only conductor and the others were insulators.   

Rainforest Explorers Workshop

Today Year 5 took part in a Rainforest Explorer Workshop where they learnt about all the different rainforests across the world. They learnt about the animals that live in the rainforest and how to survive in the rainforest. The children then pretended to be an explorer and create their own animal with traits specific to living in a rainforest. They also learnt about the different tribes which live in the rainforest. They looked at deforestation: what it is caused by and what we can do to help stop it.

Anti-bullying Week 2023

This week in Anti-Bullying week we learnt about what bullying is and how it is different from teasing, being mean and conflict.  We sorted scenarios into 4 groups.  

 On Tuesday we looked at the theme ‘Make a Noise’ and talked about we can make a noise.  We talked about what you can do when your are being bullied and who you can

talk to and what strategies to  use. 

 On Wednesday we made a poster about what bullying behaviour is and what is not bullying behaviour and how to make a noise.    We had a class discussion on how bullying breaks all our school rules.   We then poster to share our work and ideas. 

 On Thursday we looked at cyber bullying and what this looks like.   We talked about what we can do when someone is being unkind on line.  

We made posters to share in our Shared Assembly. 

Climate Crisis Trip

Tuesday 17th October 2023

Today, Year 5 walked to St George's Church to take part in a climate crisis workshop. Children first listened to a story about how the current distribution of resources is not sustainable or fair. We then split in to 4 groups to complete a carousel of activities including writing postcards to heads of states to tell them how we feel about the climate crisis and what they should do. Other activities including creating our own scenes of what we think the earth should look like as well as crafting with natural materials. We also all got to choose 5 small mementos to take home with us to remember our amazing trip! Take a look at how much fun we had in our pictures below.


Friday 13th October 2023

In Science, Year 5 have been learning about Space.   We have been looking at the solar system and learning the names of the planets and their features.  We have also been looking at the phases of the moon and understanding the day and night cycle.   We have made our solar systems and this week in Science we have made a model of how the Earth and Moon orbit the sun.   

Daily Mile Challenge

Friday 6th October 2023

Today Mr Cattermole launched a new daily mile challenge for the new school year. This year, each class has been asked to select a destination of where they think they can run to by Christmas. Year 5 got straight to work calculating how far we could get if each child in our class ran one mile each time we go out (3 times a week) and how many weeks we have until Christmas. We settled that 900 miles was an ambitious but achievable target. From there, we looked at where was approximately 900 miles away. Tree Kangaroos chose Rome, Italy and Blue Whales chose Madrid, Spain. We log our laps in a class spreadsheet which has a goal thermometer telling us what percentage of the way to our destination we are. The children were so excited to get going, we surpassed our daily goal of 30 miles per class on our very first day! Take a look at the action shots of our running below.

Design and Technology

Friday 14th July 2023

This half term in Design and Technology we have been learning about bread as part of our food unit. We learnt about how to safely prepare bread and planned out own bread creations to make. Today we brought these plans to life making a variety of bread based items including a cheese pizza, several chocolate and fruit pizzas, some bread rolls with icing sugar topping and some chocolate chip bread. We sampled our creations at the end of the day, they were so yummy, well worth the effort!

Eco Week

26th - 30th June 2023

This past week has been Eco Week and we have been very busy! Throughout the week we read the book 'What a Waste' by Jess French. We learnt all about what happens to the waste that we make and why it is important to make sure it is disposed of properly. We wrote poems about environmental issues and made posters (on scrap paper!) to encourage others to join the movement to help the environment.

Our week culminated in an Eco Day on Friday. Our goal was to use as little energy as possible, which meant turning out the lights and trying not to use the interactive boards. We also decided to act on what we learnt by going on a litter pick around school. We were shocked as to how much rubbish was on our school grounds.

We also were very lucky to welcome two visitors to Year 5 on Friday. The first was a Green Party Councillor who shared what they do for their job and what we could do to help the environment, such as walking, cycling or using the new electric busses instead of driving, taking part in litter picks and disposing our waste properly and eating less meat and more home grown foods.

Our second visitor was from the British Antarctic Survey who brought along loads of interesting things. We learnt about how climate change is causing ice to melt in polar regions leading to rising sea levels and fewer habitats for polar animals to live. Our visitor brought along some polar clothing to try on as well as some ice to show us.

Take a look at our photos too see how much fun we had.

Wednesday 21st June 2023

Zoology Museum Trip

Year 5 spent the day at the Zoology Museum today as part of our science learning about lifecycles. We split into class groups to explore the museum and take part in some craft. First we looked at the museum site and thought about what living things we could see, and what could live there. We then designed some structures out of junk modelling in the learning lab to allow more living things to live in and use the space around the museum. Take a look at our creations!

We also had time to explore the museum's exhibits including British insects, sea creatures and animals from all over the world, past and present. Miss Twist's favourite was the narwhal with two tusks! After this we went to the discovery zone to learn all about different British birds and what their skeletons looked like and what their bones are called. We handled some specimens of bird bones, they were very brittle and smelled like chicken! 

19th - 23rd June 2023

International Week

This week, Shirley school has gone international with each class learning about a different country. Tree Kangaroo Class had lots of fun learning all about The Netherlands.

On Monday, we read some of Anne Frank's diary and thought about what we would take into hiding. Some of us wanted to take phones, games consoles and headphones and some just wanted their family and friends with them. We wrote our own diary entries as if we had to hide away and what we got up to stuck in a small secret room all day. 

On Tuesday, we had a special visitor in to tell us about The Netherlands: it was Miss Twist's mum! Mrs Twist taught us all about how the Netherlands got its name and why it has so many bridges. We also tasted stroopwafels, poffertjes and gouda, so basically waffles, pancakes and cheese. We thought everything was lekker (delicious)! Mrs Twist brought along some traditional dress as well and we had a lot of fun trying it all on.

On Thursday, we learnt about the Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh. We focused on his famous painting, The Sunflowers, and recreated our own versions.

On Friday, we got to share all that we had learnt with Foxes class and they shared their learning about Nigeria with us. We collaborated on a huge piece of art, using Van Gogh's sunflowers but colouring it with traditional colours of Nigeria. Take a look at our work below!

Blue Whales looked at Romania as their country for International week.

Throughout the week we did a lesson each day about Romania. We wrote diary entries after reading some of the book, Dracula. We looked at a Romanian artist and tried to recreate their famous works that included vases of flowers. One pupil in our class who speaks Romanian taught us how to say the numbers 1-10 in Romanian. And we even did maths in Romanian, trying to figure out the shape name in Romanian was quite tricky. 

15th June 2023

Visit from the Zoology Museum

Today Year 5 moved our Science learning outside with the help of the Zoology Museum to find and identify different living things. We enjoyed a carosel of activites including minibeast hunting, birdwatching and exploring plants. 
As part of thr minibeast hunts, Year 5 searched high and low in trees and under bushes and tried out some sweep netting to catch some cool critters. We found loads of different insects and identified them, see our grasshopper and cricket below!
In the birdwatching activity, we used binoculars to help identify different species. We were very excited to see a buzzard battling with some other birds and circling the skies for prey.
In our plant activity, we explored differnt leave shapes and colours as well as trying out some bark rubbing. 

We had a great time this morning and can't wait to go on our trip to the Zoology Museum next week!

22nd - 26th May 2023

Diversity Week

This week has been Diversity Week at Shirley and each year group has been learning about a different aspect of diversity. Year 5 focused on gender equality. We looked at many famous women in history who fought for gender equality from Emmeline Pankhurst who fought for the right for women to vote, Ida Scudder, an American medical missionary, who trained female doctors and nurses to help save women in India and Malala Yousafzai, who campaigns for girls right to an education. We made posters, persuasive texts and answered questions about these famous figures in history. We shared what we had learnt with the whole school in a sharing assembly on Friday. Take a look at our work below!

14th March 2023

Science Week

This week we have been enjoying Science week by completing lots of experiments.

On Monday we looked at how long it took for different substances to dissolve when put in water. We used salt, sugar, coffee, ground pepper and flour. We discovered that the pepper and flour didn't really dissolve in the water and the coffee took the least time.

On Tuesday we learned about reversible and irreversible changes. We did some tests to see what happened to certain materials when we mixed them, if we could put them all back to how they were before, our change would be reversible, if we couldn't, it would be irreversible. 

First we mixed plaster of Paris with water and recorded the temperature change over time. We found the mixture became hotter and thicker as time went on. At the end of the lesson we came back to our tests and found they were rock solid - definitely an irreversible change!

Our next test was to mix vinegar, washing up liquid, food colouring and bicarbonate of soda together, can you guess what happened? Watch our videos to find out!

3rd March 2023

World Book Day Celebration

We have thoroughly enjoyed celebrating World Book Day today.

First, we read our focus book for the day: The Wizard of Oz. We thought about the different characters and settings of the story and spent the first part of the morning designing and creating settings from the book out of carboard. We made a farm in Kansas, a yellow brick road, an emerald city, a tin man's shack and a wizard's castle!

Next we created some reading posters to encourage people to pick up a book and read. We create our own slogans and made our posters really appealing. Our posters are to be entered into a competition and the winners get their poster copied and put up all around the school, including in the classrooms and the library. Good luck!

Finally, in the afternoon we decorated our doors as a book cover of our class favourite book. Tree Kangaroos chose 'The World's Worst Teachers' and Blue Whales chose one of our previous English texts, 'The Strange Case of Origami Yoda'. 

Have a look at our costumes and activities we did today below.

24th February 2023

Science - Space Visit 

Today we had a very special visit from Mike Culley all about space.

We started out in the hall learning about the space race and split into Russia and America to battle it out to be first on the moon. After this we shared our knowledge of the planets with Mike and he taught us more about planets, stars and constellations.
After a quick break we were back in the classroom to do lots of experimenting! We worked in groups on 7 different activites: Simulated lanching a probe, mapping a course through space, controlling a robotic arm, investigating space rocks, researching planets, sorting cans representing the different masses of the planets and making rocket fuel! Mike then taught us about meteorites and showed us some real life space rocks from his collection.

In the afternoon, we explored vintage toys all about space like moon shoes, stomp rockets, viewfinders of space rockets, space pinball, spring jacks and space station morse code. 
We finished off the day with a Q&A with Mike and he answered our many many questions.

21st and 23rd February 2023

Life Education Learning Bus

This week The Life Education Learning Bus came to Shirley school and Year 5 got to go inside (on Tuesday for Blue Whales and Thursday for Tree Kangaroos) to learn about some important things. The session in year 5 centered around friendship and how to deal with peer pressure. We also met TAM and learnt about our organs and what they do for us and discussed the dangers of drugs and alcohol and what they can do to our bodies. We practiced saying "No" to lots of different scenarios we might encounter using assertive strategies of maintaining eye contact, suggesting another activity or making excuses and leaving the situation. Finally, after a long session, we were very excited that the learning bus had stars in the ceiling too which were very calming. Have a look at our pictures below from Tree Kangaroo's trip on Thursday.

6th - 10th February 2023

Safety Week

We have been very busy this week learning all about safety and what we can do to help keep ourselves safe.
On Monday we looked at first aid and what to do if we see someone in trouble. We found out how to keep ourselves safe when providing first aid like making sure the environment is safe before proceeding so we don't endanger ourselves. We also learned how to make an emergency call to 999 and made posters to share our learning with others.
Tuesday was safer internet day so we learned about how to be safe when using the internet. We learnt about SMART rules and what to do in different scenarios online.
On Wednesday we looked at who are trusted adults were and drew them in our books.
On Thursday we learnt how to stay calm online, some of our strategies included: counting to 10, taking deep breaths and going outside. While at swimming, some of us also learnt what to do if we fall or are pushed into water. We practiced how to stay calm and attract attention to get help. We also had a visit from the fire service and they asked us to check at home if we had a smoke detector and an escape plan to keep us safe if there were to be a fire in our home.
On Friday we looked at staying safe in online relationships. We learnt about consent and how to know when to give it. We learnt to ask ourselves different questions to know if we should give our consent. Is it safe? Is it kind? Do I feel happy and comfortable with it?
Finally, the whole school got together for a sharing assembly to share their learning this week about safety.

5th January 2023


This term in History we are learning about the Tudors. We started our new unit by looking at what the Tudors used to eat and found out they ate bread with almost every meal. We had a go at shaping some bread dough in some traditional (and some not so traditional!) styles.

Take a look at our creations below!

We have also sorted the reigns of the kings and queens of the Tudor monarchy into a timeline along with significant Tudor events. We learnt about Elizabeth I and her impact on religion and the golden age.

9th December 2022


This term in Spanish we have been having lots of fun learning the numbers to 10, how to have basic conversations and some classroom commands. We've played lots of 'Simon says' and other games to help us learn our new vocabulary. These past few weeks we have been working on our Christmas unit, including acting out a short nativity, singing carols in Spanish and writing a letter to 'Los Reyes Magos' (The Three Wise Men)! 

Have a listen to our favourite carol we sang: La Marimorena.

14 - 18 November 2022

Anti-Bullying Week

We have been very busy this week learning about bullying and what we can do to prevent it at Shirley.

On Monday, we looked at what bullying is and what it isn't and sorted scenarios into four categories: bullying, teasing, being mean or conflict.

On Tuesday, we looked at this years theme: Reach Out! We made a list of who we can reach out to at school and at home and created a window display using all of our ideas. We also looked at the different roles involved in bullying. 

On Wednesday, we learned about what cyberbullying is and learned what to do if we see it happening or experience it. We made posters to share what we learned with others.

On Thursday, we took all the knowledge we learnt and put it together to make a big class poster about what bullying is and isn't and how we can reach out. We also made story boards to show a scenario involving bullying behaviour and showed a person reaching out to help stop it.

On Friday, we shared our work with the whole school in a sharing assembly and listened to what other classes were learning about this week.

11 November 2022

We have had a busy half term and the children have been working hard.   In Geography the children are learning about biomes and climate zones and plotting these on a map. 

In Science we are now learning about forces and magnets.  The children have been making straw rockets to investigate the forces acting on them. 


23 September 2022 


Welcome to the our first blog of the new school year.   

This half term the children in Year 5 the children are learning about sound and how it travels.  We discovered this by doing a few experiments.   We made air cannons and used Slinkys to show how sound waves travel and can be blocked.   We used tuning forks and submerged them in water for the children to be able to see how the sound travels.   We also used table tennis balls on a piece string and again banged the tuning fork on a table and then onto the ball to understand how sound travels. 


Ecology Week - Friday 1st July, 2022

Over the past 5 days, 'environmental sustainability', 'ecological awareness' and 'personal responsibility' were the buzz words during Ecology Week at Shlrley. The word 'ecology' is derived from the Greek words Oikos (meaning, of the home) and logos (meaning thought or principle). In other words, these are the thoughts and principles that provide us with a healthy, clean and safe home. Putting our own words into action this week, Year 5 classes tried hard to get its own house in order by learning about a few key actions and principles that will help us to leave a lighter touch on our beautiful planet Earth. On Monday we had a go at making our own cars made from recycled materials and powered by batteries and wind turbines. We also had a go at a recycling jigsaw, ordering which items should go in which recycling container. Earth poetry and recycling also featured across our Literacy and Reading topics this week. On Thursday, Blue Whales embarked on a big litter picking operation around the school, using Mrs West's litter picking sticks and high-vis jackets! The children were brilliant at reminding Mr. Fisher to turn his lights off and stop printing so much. We hope you all enjoyed Ecology Week too!       

Jubilee Week - Friday 10th June, 2022

Like the rest of the country, Blue Whales and Tree Kangaroos classes have been celebrating the Queen's 70th Jubilee this week. We have been sharing our experiences of the Jubilee bank holiday weekend by writing diary entries as if we were there at Buckingham Palace with the huge crowds; using our mapping skills to find commonwealth countries; practising our portrait skills, sketching the Queen; and learning a 1950s song to sing: Stand By Me by Ben E. King.   

Diversity Week - Friday 27th May, 2022

This week, as part of the school's Diversity Week, we have been looking into and learning about the life of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner. During our ICT session, we researched important milestones and moments in her life, such as when she started school, where she is from, how and why she suffered from a horrific attack, and how she survived, recovered and became even stronger as an advocate for women and girl's education. 

The children created posters about Malala's life and, in English, wrote a letter to her, detailing why she is such an inspiration to others.  

Wednesday, 16th March, 2022

Gears and Pulleys is our theme for Design and Technology this half-term, and the children are measuring, building and integrating their own gear mechanisms with the aim of using them for their own funicular constructions next week. 

Thursday, 10th February 2022

With the aim of practising our times tables, today our Year 5 children created their own multiplication board games. 
Friday 10th December 2021
Over the last few weeks, we have been exploring how different bridges have been formed.  After looking at real life designs, we then designed our own before constructing them. Check out our designs and constructions!