On the Friday before half term, Year-6 children visited the City Campus of Northumbria University in Newcastle. While we were there, the children took part in a number of activities: an engineering task; a team investigation-puzzle; a sporting activity (dodgeball); and a guided tour of the campus. They met and worked with student ambassadors, who are current university students, and were able to ask them lots of questions and get a taste for what university life is like.
The Puzzlers are raising money for their trip to the national Lego League competition. They have designed 8 different badges and are planning on selling them for 50p each, to go towards the flights and hotel for the event.
So the children have started cutting and pressing their badges on a lunchtime. Only about 500 left to go!
For our last session before Christmas, and before the stress of practising continues, we enjoyed an after school movie night, celebrating our win at the regional competition.The Puzzlers were comfy on cushions with popcorn and warm chocolates with marshmallows and whipped cream while they watched the Muppets Christmas Carol.
After 3 months of hard work, and (for some) EVERY lunchtime since September, the day finally arrived on December 6th.
Kitted in their lab coats, glasses and bow ties, the Harton Puzzlers travelled to The Word to compete against teams from all over the region – including secondary schools! The first few rounds with the robot were disappointing, as we didn’t score as highly as we would have liked. After their first robot game, the pupils scored technical points, which involved talking about their robot design and strategy. This usually take about 5 minutes, but the boys talked for 10 minutes!
Next the children had 5 minutes for a costume change and got ready for their presentation. After many practises at school, they delivered it perfectly! It was clear, loud and confident. The presentation even included a “live” video call from an astronaut on the International Space Station.
There was a teamwork task, where the children had to work together effectively in order to complete a Lego building challenge. After lunch, we found out we were in the semi final!
The Puzzlers got through to the semi finals- joint 3rd with St. Gregory’s. They had 2 more chances to prove their robot’s skills. In their second and final attempt, the boys protested to the judges over a ruling – supported by teachers from different schools – and the Puzzlers scraped into the finals with 72 points.
In the finals, the Puzzlers competed against Oakwood Comprehensive School – who kindly offered up their extra attachments, which allowed the Harton to scorecard more points. After three more rounds of the robot game, the Puzzlers’ score got higher and higher with each attempt. The trophy for Robot Table Champion went to the well deserved Oakwood!
Every team was awarded at least one trophy, for skills such as teamwork, presentation, tactics and co-operation, but the Harton Puzzlers were delighted to find out that they had won the overall competition! After so much work from our team, there were many tears of happiness and shouts of joy.
In the build up to Easter this week, year 4 have had the opportunity to learn more about Holy Week by taking part in a range of activities at St. Lawrence’s Church. As part of their R.E. studies, the children enjoyed an afternoon exploring the different parts of the Easter story. Many thanks to Reverend Paul and the volunteers at St. Lawrence’s Church for hosting the activities.
Year 3 have been working closely with our cook, Mrs Seales. Every Thursday evening, some of the children attend Cookery Club where they have been learning to make a range of delicious dishes. This week, the children made their own pizzas. They enjoyed taking them home to share with their families.
After months of preparation, including: selecting new teammates; talking to water professionals, robot programming and reprogramming when things went wrong; survey taking, poster making and many more tasks, the day was finally upon us. On the 7th of December the Harton Puzzlers took part in the First Lego League’s Hydrodynamics challenge, as South Shields Museum.
We started our day with practises in ‘the Pit’, a room where all the groups were based. Our initial runs proved less successful than they were at school. Our first Robot challenge on the table gave us a score of 45 points. This was then followed by our technical talk – explaining our robot design and strategy for completing our table run.
After a brief break in the Pit, we had to complete our presentation to the panel of judges. We talked through our idea to help the human water cycle – a water butt for using rain water to flush the toilet. We used bottles to show the amount of water it takes to flush a toilet (7.27L per flush!) and made a model made from Lego (obviously) to show how our design works.
Next we had a long break until our next robot challenge, so we spent this time with half the group practising and altering the programming, and the other half talking to the other groups and getting them to take part in our Wayne Drop video game. They had to try and get Wayne from the clouds to our water butt, but avoiding leaves and birds flying past. Everybody got very competitive when playing and wanted to make it onto the leader board – including the organisers and Mrs Ratcliffe, when she visited us for support.
Our next robot challenge proved better than the first, with a new score of 50 points (5 were deducted because we had to pick up the robot from a mistake). Straight after this we had our ‘Teamwork’ challenge. We were given a task, to sort out a box of Lego and show how well we can work together as a team. This was followed by our final robot challenge with a higher score of 60 – missing out of 15 points from the tripod not landing in the desired position.
Here is the video of our final robot challenge:
We unfortunately missed out of the semi-finals – coming joint 5th – by only 5 points! We watched the semis and finals – with the Acers coming first!
The final part of our day was the presentations and awards ceremony. We did not win the day, however we did not come home empty handed. For our second year running, we won the Teamwork Trophy! Something we were incredibly pleased to achieve.
Our year 6’s are looking forward to a lunchtime outside, and the year 5’s will be keeping an eye out for the year 4 children they might want to join the team next year.
On Wednesday the 9th of November, the Lego League Harton Puzzlers had a visit from a water expert to help them with their project. John Robson from Northumbrian water listened to our ideas and helped us to develop them further.
We shared our idea of an ‘Eco-friendly’ toilet flush!
When it rains, the rainwater runs down the drainpipes and collects into a drum. We can then use the collected rainwater to flush our toilet.
John quizzed us on our ideas – for example, how would we get the water to an upstairs toilet?
We addressed this by installing a pump in the drum. John also helped us to extend this idea further – by suggesting we install a turbine in the drainpipe. This would allow us to generate electricity (meaning our product powers itself!).
Furthermore, we have the option to use a float in the drum. This will generate further power through the raising and lowering of the water: allowing our product work on renewable energy, and on a very small scale lowering CO2 use.
We have taken on board his ideas and developed our idea to match this expert advice, which we believe will make our product more appealing, eco-friendly and an overall better product.
Members of the School Council have been busy working their magic again. Not content with making a huge difference to their local community, the children have turned their attention to how they might be able to help fellow pupils within school.
Members of the School Council explained in their recent meeting that the yard can, at times, be a lonely place for some children. It is not always easy to find someone to play with, especially when close friends are absent or are eating lunch. After a lengthy discussion of possible ways around this issue, the School Council decided upon installing a ‘Buddy Bus Stop’ in each yard. Children who are feeling lost and in need of a friend can come to one of the Bus Stops to receive the help that they need.
Y3R have been busy putting their column addition skills to use this week. Led by School Council member Sadie, the children collected all of the cans received as part of ‘Canny Friday’. Having counted the cans collected from each class, the children then worked together to find the total using column addition. They found that, last week, we managed to collect 234 cans for the South Tyneside Food Bank, bringing our total to an amazing 1013!
The children also used their knowledge of previous weeks to estimate the number of cans and dried foods that they expected to receive as part of our final ‘Canny Friday’ this week. They were excited to explain their reasoning. What would your estimate be?