Category Archives: Learning Outside The Classroom

Upper School Christmaths Challenge

Year 8 Christmaths Challenge Dec 20 10

Year 7 and 8 competed in the annual Christmaths Challenge this week, working in teams to complete a series of seasonal mathematical problems and puzzles, such as arranging the numbers 1 to 9 on baubles on a Christmas tree, ensuring that no prime numbers are joined by a tinsel ‘wire’.

The winning teams in each year were as follows:

Year 8: Aadi T, Eliza L, Zara L, Freddie S, Shelby H and Willow A

Year 7: Maddie C, Zach F, Jack M, Ollie S, Jamie MW, Georgia P

Well done to you all!

Science Christmas STEAM Morning

Christmas science 7

This week all the Prep School children took part in a festive STEAM morning. The purpose of the morning was to get the children involved in STEAM activities designed to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths as well as get the festive fun started! A whole variety of activities were put on for the children, led by eager and enthusiastic Christmas jumper-wearing teachers!

Year 3 were treated to two different activities: one saw the children make rockets out of cardboard, duct tape and plasticine and then launch them in the air using an air pressure launching system! Great fun was had by all. The winners were:

Overall (and 3S) – Anshul J and Matthew M
3B – Saskia B and Bea C-A
3ML – Quentin S
3SL – Harry S and Edward P

The other Year 3 activity was an Art activity, where the children created pop-out Christmas cards of snowmen and snowwomen!

Year 4 also had two different activities to do. One task was to create 3D Christmas Tree models, trying to make them as sturdy as possible but only being able to use newspaper and Sellotape! A tricky task but the children rose to the challenge and made some fantastic structures. The second activity was making pop-up bauble Christmas cards!

Some standout efforts and for great team work:

Rose B and Aurelia B
Olivia S and Martha M
Kenzie B and Liberty T
Ned G and Edward B for sheer perseverance in the face of adversity (USP – a collapsible Christmas tree!)

Year 5 were given the hard task of transporting brussels sprouts from the top of the Sports Hall to the bottom without losing any! They had to get to grips with tying some tricky knots and using pulleys in order to be successful and were fantastic at testing and adapting their methods.

Year 6 were told that they needed to create a water-based method for Father Christmas to deliver his presents. They were given all the equipment needed to make a fan-powered system and then developed their boat/floating grotto around this. Some super creativity and engineering was on show!

Year 7 had the opportunity to create a Winter Wonderland fairground. They designed and assembled their fairground rides, using electrical circuits, gears and pulleys and then decorated them brilliantly to fit in with the Winter Wonderland theme. They were judged on the safety of their ride as well as how well it worked and the design.

Winners: Maia B, Bea H, Poppy B and Harriet D
Special mention for engineering: Huckleberry G, Jack M, Charlie R and Ollie S

Year 8 were posed with a Climate Change Crisis. Father Christmas had been in touch to say that the North Pole was under water due to rising sea levels and could we help him create a floating structure for him, Mrs Claus, the elves and the reindeer. Year 8 rose to the challenge fantastically, using a variety of materials to create a stable floating structure. The winning team’s model was able to hold 1600g of mass before sinking!!

Winners: Santa Banta (Willow A, Arthur S, Harry C)

Thank you to all the staff who made it such an enjoyable, as well as educational, day!

For more photos, please go to the Gallery

Year 3 Bridge Building Challenge

bridge 3

As part of their Science topic on the properties of materials, and their Maths work on 3D shapes, Year 3 were challenged to build a bridge using 10 pieces of paper and 1.5m of sellotape. They had to build the strongest bridge, that would hold the most mass. All the children worked incredibly hard, using all their scientific and mathematical knowledge, but the winners were Bella S and Quentin S, whose bridge was able to support a tremendous 3.6kg! Well done!

For more photos, please go to the Gallery.

Live ‘Agora’ Day

Pinewood General Oct 15 050

Year 8 set 1 recently participated in an organised event to stimulate discussion and debate around the following themes: Public Interest, National Security, Motive and Rule of Law. It was a live and interactive event across the country with other schools. We were able to vote live on the themes, which was exciting and engaged us throughout the day. We could also share our ideas and comment through a ‘chat bar’ with the other schools. Although the story was fictional the questions raised and responses generated were very much applicable to our lives today and that of our future.

The story revolved around the fictional country of Namovia and the question as to whether a government worker should be punished for ‘whistleblowing’ in the public interest. She believed that the people of Namovia should know that the secret service were spying on them (listening to their phone calls and reading their emails and texts). Throughout the day we watched live news bulletins, heard arguments for and against. After each bulletin we discussed the relevant theme and completed activities in order to evaluate both sides of the argument and reach our decision to be shared with other schools. The two biggest highlights for us were the live phone call from the AGORA HQ, allowing us to share our thoughts about the day. They were very impressed with our feedback and the discussions we were having, to the extent that we were on the call for over 6 minutes! Secondly, we finished the day with a class debate, allowing us to share and develop our opinions.

It was so successful that Mr Downe and Mr Hewitt-Boorman are looking forward very much to the opportunity to participate in the event next Spring with the whole of Year 8.

Eleanor D, Jecca LT, Sonny N and Matilda M

TES Independent School Awards

TES Awards

We were thrilled to learn this week that we have been shortlisted for the Creativity Award category in the 2020 TES Independent School Awards, specifically for last autumn’s whole school WW1 Centenary Commemorative Mosaic project. Well done to everyone involved in this wonderful project!

New Outdoor Classroom!

Outdoor classroom

If you go down to the woods today …

… you’ll find Pinewood’s new outdoor classroom!

Have you discovered Pinewood’s new outdoor classroom? Funded by Friends of Pinewood, it’s hidden away in a magical copse of trees at the very bottom of the playing fields.

Nettles have been cleared, the tree canopy made safe, tons of woodchip laid and an enchanted learning area created. Complete with composting loos, a firepit, benches, bug hotels, and even hand-made bunting, the area is protected by a huge parachute, strung from the trees so it can be used in all weathers.

As many of the building materials as possible are recycled from the woods and grounds of Pinewood, and the composting loos have been constructed with discarded pallets from the building site in the main school.

We couldn’t have done it without the expertise of Johno and Becky Kimberley, and Rob Tyler, who run the Cotswold Forest School near South Cerney. We brought them in to advise us on location and then to create and construct the site. It is their passion and creativity that has transformed this once-forgotten copse into a beautiful outdoor classroom that all of our children will benefit from for years to come.

Huge thanks go to Friends of Pinewood for funding this exciting new area for the school, and also to Phil Overson, Adam and the rest of the Pinewood grounds team for their support, generosity and manpower throughout.

The outdoor classroom will be officially opened just before Half Term. Do take the time to walk down there and see it for yourself!

Build A Bridge STEM Challenge

bridge 8

The Library has been buzzing this week with children eager to put their budding engineering skills to the test. They were tasked with building a bridge with just one sheet of paper. Using all their engineering knowledge they designed arches, beams, trusses and even had a go at a suspension bridge. The children quickly realised that the strength of the bridge depended on shape and they tested their bridge design by seeing how many pennies it could support.

It was great to see children from Year 3 to Year 8 having a go. Congratulations to Freddie S, Will W, Sonny N and Aadi T who topped the Library leader-board. Their bridge was able to hold 243 pennies before collapsing! Well done to everyone who took part!

More photos can be found in the Event Gallery.

Microsoft DigiGirlz Event

digigirlz 1

A group of 3 Year 8 girls headed to the Microsoft Headquarters in Reading during Half Term to take part in their DigiGirlz event. The aim of the event was to educate young girls about the opportunities available whilst pursuing STEM-related subjects. The girls were first spoken to by 3 very senior Microsoft employees who spoke to them about all of the possibilities available in STEM-related careers and how to get there. We also heard the truly inspirational story of how Jennifer Achiro made her way from a small Ugandan town to become the Enterprise Sales Lead in the Central Government, based at Microsoft. Fuelled by inspiration, the girls were then set off on the ‘Maker Challenge’. The challenge was to make/think of a product that would make life easier for someone with any form of disability. The Pinewood girls chose to focus on those who have a hearing impairment and created a watch that alerts the wearer, using Micro:Bit technology, when a doorbell rings or a smoke alarm is set off. They created a working prototype by coding their Micro:Bits and then perfected their pitch. After a delicious lunch provided by Microsoft we were then sent on a Treasure Hunt around the campus where we had to find questions and try to answer them correctly. Once we had completed the hunt we then headed up to the ‘den’ with our prototype and the girls had to pitch to 3 senior Microsoft employees. They did fantastically and fielded some tricky questions! The girls, unfortunately, did not win the overall prize but they have come away filled with enthusiasm and motivation. A huge thank you to Microsoft for a wonderful day.

For more photos from the event please go to the Photo Gallery.