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Woodpeckers - Year 4

Welcome to Woodpeckers

Exciting News for one member of Woodpeckers!

Last week we were told about an unusual achievement by a member of Woodpeckers, Isla McDonald Murray.  Isla had entered a competition with BBC Radio 2 where she had a write a story in less than 500 words.  Children aged between 5 - 13 were able to enter and thousands did.  Isla's entry, The Three Little Pigs and the What Wolf , has now been shortlisted as a finalist and she has the opportunity to go to Windsor Castle to hear the winners announced.

Becoming a finalist means that Isla's story has been posted onto the BBC Radio 2 webpage, PLUS you can hear it being told by Catherine Cusack from the BBC Radio Drama Company.

The story is very clever and incredibly funny, so if you want to read it then click on the link below. 


The Three Little Pigs and the What Wolf  by Isla McDonald Murray


Everyone at The Gateway would like to wish Isla all the best for the final but we are already incredibly proud of her achievement - well done Isla.



Woodpeckers have been working in small groups to design and build a mountain rescue vehicle that could be used in the Lake District.  They have been learning new skills such as using saws and wire cutters and combining the knowledge they had gained from their electricity topic with the geographical knowledge about mountains.  Once they had been built the children tested them on different surfaces around the school.

TASC day photos

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Sound and Electricity


As me moved through term 2 the children have learnt about many aspects of sound and electricity.  They answered their own questions such as,how is sound made? How does sound travel? Why does sound get quieter the further away we travel?  Whilst exploring these questions the children were able to use a data logger for the first time and were challenged to make very careful observations.  They all took part in various investigations to enable them to think about sound in detail.

Sound Investigations

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Sound Investigations 3
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Sound Investigations 5

Vicious Vikings


During term 1 the children were all learning about Vikings and what life was like in England during this period of our history.  Throughout the topic the children learnt about where the Vikings came from and why they came to the United Kingdom.  They looked at different sources of information and their reliability about the raid at Lindisfarne.  As part of the topic we went to the Museum of Kent Life for a Viking day.  The children heard about Viking beliefs, made a Viking brooch, experienced a Viking raid and looked at how the Vikings traded with others.  All the children really enjoyed the experience and helped them develop their understanding of Vikings away from just vicious warriors.  Following on from this the children all made a Viking purse, with most of them learning to sew for the first time.   

Viking Day

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Viking Day 4

Electric Cars!


Woodpeckers were incredibly fortunate to have a qualified engineer, Mrs Kennedy, join us for the day to put what we had learnt during our electricity topic in to practice.  Each group of children needed to build a chassis, attach axels and wheels, build the gears to turn the wheels and then finally complete an electric circuit, using a switch to turn the motor.  During the day all the children had the opportunity to safely use a saw, wire cutters and glue guns.  They all worked well in their groups to problem solve, measure accurately and construct their cars.  Well done to all the groups. 

Building Cars

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Building Cars 5

E-Safety Workshop 


Keeping the children safe in the digital world is becoming increasingly difficult so we try hard to keep the children as informed as possible through our computing lessons, but also through drama workshops that can help put what we say into context.  This workshop for the whole of key stage two and looked at the problems with commenting on online posts and sharing images of others without permission. 

Electricity and Sound


During this topic the children all had an opportunity to carry out investigations designed to help them understand how sound and electricity travel.  The children have been trying really hard to make predictions and conclusions, specific scientific observations, to take accurate readings using data loggers, recording their results and finally generating more questions.     

Viking Trip to the Museum of Kent Life


As an important part of our Viking Topic the children took part in a number of workshops designed to enhance their knowledge of the Viking era.  The children looked at how the Vikings used boats to cover large distances, they listened to stories about their culture and how they believed the earth was formed, they played a typical Viking strategy game, became Viking traders and warriors and had the opportunity to attempt to make a Viking brooch.   



Woodpeckers were very lucky to have a visitor come in for a DT day. In this DT day, the children made the Queen Elizabeth II bridge. They started off with just newspaper! Then they rolled their newspapers and put them into a machine that rolled them tightly with some glue. Cable ties were then used to join all the rolls together and, slowly but surely, the pieces of our bridge came together. You can see our final product in the reception area! 

Marvellous Music!


Since September, Woodpeckers have been learning to play the violin with Red Rooster. They have been learning the names of the strings and parts of the violin. Also, they have learnt about having good posture and how to hold (and use) the bows. Woodpeckers have learnt songs in several styles such as Manhattan Blues, Jig, Willow Waltz and St Anthony’s Chorale. 

Eden Project Visit!


Woodpeckers had a very special visitor in from the Eden Project. In a very exciting workshop children learnt where different foods come from, we discovered that some of our packed lunch comes from all over the world! Children also learnt that as a consumer we can make a difference by choosing carefully what products we buy e.g. Fairtrade goods.  We also considered why packaging is important for different foods but it is best to choose materials that can be recycled.


This is the conclusion we came to:

The best packed lunch is healthy, gives us energy and is very enjoyable. It needs to be part of a balanced diet and it is ok to have a little treat. You will need a drink to keep you hydrated and should include the crunchy nibble of a juicy fruit.

British Values Workshop


In our half of the show there were: mechanics, policewomen, an ambulance crew, William Shakespeare and two of his friends, some people of York, a Ghost, the Host and some teachers.

The Great British Tour Bus broke down and the mechanics voted as to what should be done to fix the bus – this showed us about democracy.

Shakespeare's friends showed tolerance as they had to try and put up with Shakespeare.

The policewomen showed how to respect the law.

The teachers taught us that in Great Britain education is free.

The ambulance crew showed how to help others and that our healthcare is free to everyone who needs it.

Individual liberty was shown by the people of York welcoming everyone and being tolerant of different faiths and beliefs.

Our final performance was to Year 3 and Year 6 and they really enjoyed it!


A Viking Raid at The Gateway!


This term Woodpeckers have been learning all about the Vikings. We were lucky enough to go on a trip to Kent Life. There, they participated in lots of Viking workshops led by people in full costume. The children got to play the Viking game of Tafl and learnt all about making cords that were used for clothes or tying up animals. They experienced what Viking life was like in a village and helped sing songs to prepare for a great feast! In school, the children had a trading afternoon where they learnt about the goods traded by the Vikings and the extent of their trading network. Woodpeckers also had the opportunity to study artefacts and researched what they were made of and used for. 


Power It Up!


Last term, we had lots of fun linking our Science topic to dance by creating a dance to interpret the generation and flow of electricity in our homes and school. We worked in groups to create circuits with patterns of movement, representing electricity flow through the wires, lights switching on and off and flashing sparks as problems set in! Finally we created an ending for our dance, resetting the plug for safety!



Capacity and Weight


Woodpeckers have been investigating and solving practical measures problems, involving capacity and weight. They have used various measuring equipment to read scales and estimate measurements. They have used their knowledge of decimals to convert units of measurement from grams to kilograms and from millilitres to litres. They have displayed their results using frequency tables and bar charts.