Pick and Mix – Autumn 2019

A big thank you to all of the children in Year 1 and Year 2 that contributed to this term’s “Pick and Mix” exhibition.

It was wonderful to see all of the hard work that the children completed at home.

Thank you to all of the parents / carers that also attended the event.

A big well done to Sabiha, Aairah and Yusuf from Year 1 for winning.

A big congratulations to Mihran, Zeeshan and Aila from Year 2 for winning.

The prize will be a science workshop to take place during December.

Year 2’s Interfaith week

Thomas Buxton’s Interfaith week ran from Monday 24th June. The theme the week was ‘community’ and we were very lucky to have an assembly with a visit from Imam Mohammed Mahmoud from East London Mosque, Leon Silver from the East London Central Synagogue and Rev Alan Green from St John’s church in Bethnal Green. They told us about their faiths, and explored the many connections and similarities between all three faiths. This helped us to explore our own ideas about what community means to us.

What does community mean to you?

For interfaith week, Year 2 considered the question:

 How should we care for others and the world, and why does it matter? 

 We started off by thinking about what Muslims believe about looking after the world; we learned about the idea of being ‘Khalifah’ or guardians of the planet, caring for Allah’s creation. We then considered how this links to what Jewish people and Christians think about the world.

We used all of these ideas to write a promise of how we are all going to look after the planet in the future. You can check out our promises on the display in the KS1 corridor!







We then focused in more detail on the Jewish festival of Tu B’Shevat. To Jewish people, trees are so important that they have a special celebration: the Jewish holiday Tu B’Shevat celebrates trees and instils the Jewish value of respecting our planet.

Jewish people call this day the birthday of trees, or New Year for Trees. It marks the start of spring when trees begin to grow again. We started to learn a song that Jewish children sing on Tu B’Shevat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74EciGdaKJE

Tu B’Shevat is a time of new beginnings and hope for the future. Jewish children sometimes plant a seed to mark the festival, so we all have a sunflower seed which we planted and have taken home to take care of! We wrote a hope for the future on our pot. Why don’t you post a comment with a photo to show how your sunflower is getting on?

Next we learned about the ‘Golden Rule’ in different religions:

Judaism – Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man.

Christianity – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Islam – The Qur’an commands Muslims to treat others as they would like to be treated, even if they must suffer through negative treatment.

We had a P4C discussion about what that means in real life.

What do you think?

As part of our learning we also visited Sandy’s Row synagogue and learned all about the history of the synagogue and key facts about the Jewish place of worship.

What facts can you remember?


Y2 Science and Computing: a plane crash, a circus and lots of minbeasts!

Year 2 have combined our Science and Computing work based around our learning about Animals including Humans and Living Things and their Habitats.

Franklin and Anning classes started our learning by taking part in a Now>Press>Play experience, acting out a story involving a plane crash and a circus! Through the story we explored the different animal groups and the basic needs of animals for survival, as well as that animals have offspring that grow into adults.

We went on to compare the differences between things that are living, dead and have never been alive, and used the Secret Garden to help us to explore and observe a habitat and the minibeasts that live there. We used all of this learning, as well our learning about food chains, to practise our identification and classification skills. We created a branching database using the j2e programme. Have a look – what do you think of our sorting? Can you spot any issues that need ‘debugging’?

This year we have loved finding out about lots of different scientists, and discovering that anyone can be a scientist if they work hard! To complete our Science topic we learned about Rachel Carson, who one of the Y3 classes are named after.

Rachel Carson was an American scientist who has had a huge impact on the world. She not only came up with the idea of a food chain, but she discovered that chemicals from gardens and farms were going into the ocean, and that these chemicals were killing sea creatures. Her findings helped scientists to change the rules on chemicals used on farms and in gardens, and to protect sea creatures’ right to a safe environment. We created fact files using popplet to record our findings.

Year 2 investigate how we change materials

In the first half of Autumn term, we started exploring the different materials around us: https://www.thomasbuxton.towerhamlets.sch.uk/blogs/year2/2018/11/09/year-2-investigate-materials/

In the second half of Autumn term we developed this learning further by investigating how we can change materials. We investigated what happens when we squash, bend, twist and stretch different materials.

We also considered ways that we can change materials (e.g. heating bread so that it turns to toast), and discussed what makes materials suitable for some uses and not others.

For example, do you think that chocolate would be a suitable material to make a teapot from? Why/ Why not? Leave us a comment below!

We also learned about John Dunlop, a famous scientist for whom the properties of different materials was very important. Can you remember what he is famous for? Leave us a comment to explain.

In addition, we made cross curricular links to our learning about materials. For example in Literacy we wrote our own ‘traditional tale with a twist’ based on Eco-Wolf and the Three Bad Pigs, a retelling of The Three Little Pigs. Instead of houses made of straw, wood and bricks we had houses made of materials such as glass, diamonds, plastic and sweets!

In our cooking sessions we also observed how we can change materials by mixing them together and applying heat. We made delicious scones, imagining they were for Charles II after his baker’s shop burned down in the Great Fire of London. We also made and decorated gingerbread biscuits in the lead up to Christmas. The recipes are below if you want to make these at home!

How to bake mouth-watering scones

Have you ever wanted to impress a VIP guest? This recipe will show you how to bake the most delicious scones – fit for a King!

What you need: Ingredients: self-raising flour (225g), a pinch of salt, butter (50g), milk (120ml), caster sugar (30g) and mixed berries (50g).

Utensils: mixing bowl, wooden spoon to mix, measuring jugs, rolling pin, baking tray and biscuit cutters.

What you do:

  1. First, carefully measure out the flour, salt and butter and put into a round mixing bowl.
  2. Then, rub together with your fingertips until it looks like crumbly breadcrumbs. Now stir in the fine caster sugar and mixed berries.
  3. After that, pour in the fresh milk and slowly mix together.
  4. Next, knead the mixture with your clean hands.
  5. Now, gently roll out the soft dough and cut out shapes.
  6. Then, put the scones on a baking tray, brush them with milk and cook them until golden brown.
  7. Finally, take the scones out of the oven and leave them to cool.

Tip: Be careful, make sure you switch the oven off afterwards!

Gingerbread recipe: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/gingerbread_men_99096

Let us know if you make either of these recipes at home!

Anning’s bonfire party!

As a result of their amazing hard work and perseverance this term, Anning class earned 60 marbles and decided to treat themselves to a bonfire party in the secret garden. We enjoyed watching the flames but our favourite part was toasting marshmallows on the open fire and eating s’mores! Even though we ended up very sticky!

We finished our party by singing some campfire songs.

A big thank you to Mrs Flanagan who helped us learnt all about bonfires and how to stay safe.

Y2 explains Dinosaurs and DNA!

This school year the Year 2 classes are both named after inspirational female scientists – Rosalind Franklin and Mary Anning. In our class assemblies we explained the contribution Franklin and Anning have made to the world, which helped us to think about how we can be super scientists too!

Rosalind Franklin

In the Franklin class assembly the children explained how Rosalind Franklin helped to discover the structure of DNA. But… what on earth is DNA??

Franklin class explained that DNA is the building blocks of all living things – a bit like lego! And just like lego, it can be arranged it lots of different ways, which is why we all look different. We all have DNA inside us but because it is so tiny scientists didn’t used to know what it looked like. Lots of scientists wanted to find out, and it was a special X-ray photo taken by Rosalind Franklin which helped scientists to discover that DNA is in a ‘helix’ shape – a bit like a twisted ladder. Some other scientists used Franklin’s photo to help to explain their discoveries about DNA, but they didn’t explain how helpful her photo had been (boo hiss). It is only recently that scientists have recognised what an important contribution Franklin made to our understanding of DNA.

We made our own helix shapes out of pipe cleaners and also created portraits of Rosalind Franklin by cutting up and rearranging a photo of her. They had the same basic ingredients but all looked a little bit different – like how DNA works!

Mary Anning 

Mary Anning was born in 1799 and it is thanks to her that we know about dinosaurs.

Mary’s family was very poor so she didn’t got to school, but she was an expert in identifying the funny looking pebbles or ‘curiosities’ she found on the beach. These turned out to be what we now call fossils. When she was just 12 years old she discovered a skull poking out of a cliff. Everyone thought it was a crocodile at first, but it turned out it was a dinosaur called an Icthyosaur. It was a huge scientific discovery and changed the way people thought about how animals had developed over time, and about the history of the earth! She made many other important discoveries including the plesiosaur – a flying dinosaur! Because she was female, Mary Anning didn’t get the credit for her findings, even when scientists used pictures of her fossils in their books (boo hiss).  Luckily she kept making discoveries and the importance of her discoveries has now been recognised.

We can learn a lot from both Mary Anning and Rosalind Franklin about being resilient, being curious, being defiant and most importantly how to work scientifically!

Year 2 investigate materials!

This term year 2 have been investigating all the different materials around us. We went on a material hunt around the class room and managed to find items made of:

  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Metal

We started to notice that they had different properties so we discussed this as a class whilst we sorted them based on their properties.

“I can see through glass so it is transparent.”

“I noticed that metal is firm and shiny”

We have loved working scientifically through careful observations so we challenge you to do the same!

Can you identify an object and name the material it is made of? How do you know it is made of this?

Leave a comment!


Year 2 become e-safety experts!

This half-term Year 2 have been learning about the benefits of using technology.

We identified the different technologies that we use at home and in school and created posters using the iPads to describe how technology helps us.

We then explored what the Internet is, if the Internet is just for children and thought of reasons why we would use the Internet at home and at school. We first of all jotted down our research from the Internet onto paper and then created posters using the iPads.

Finally, we looked at how to stay safe using the Internet and thought about how to stay SMART.

What have you enjoyed the most about our computing topic this half-term? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Y2 become bakers – watch out Paul Hollywood…

This week for our Design and Technology learning, Year 2 designed and made a bread product for their chosen target market.

We started out by tasting a few different kinds of bread. The naan bread was popular, but the rye bread not so much!

We learned about the process of making bread – from growing wheat to making the dough. We even watched a few clips from the Great British Bake Off to inspire us.

Next, we designed a bread product to appeal to our chosen target market; these included children aged 7 who like animals, hungry teachers and family members at a celebration event. We came up with lots of ambitious designs to create out of bread!

We worked in groups to make our dough:

The dough was very sticky, and it was difficult to work with at first. Some children liked the squidgy texture of the dough, but some were less keen!

Next we had to use our muscles to knead the dough and activate the yeast, the magic ingredient to make our dough rise by creating air bubbles inside the dough.

After kneading, we had to leave the dough to ‘prove’ over lunch. When we came back the dough had got much bigger!

Our next step was to shape the dough to appeal to our target market.

Sometimes it was hard to follow our original design, especially if we had to add lots of detail. However, we persevered and adapted our designs where needed. The end results looked pretty impressive – and tasted delicious too!

After we’d eaten our bread we evaluated the design process. From Australia and New Zealand classes, 43 children (from a total of 56) said that they liked the bread and would make it again. When we talked about what the children found difficult some of the main points were:

  • It was difficult to knead the bread
  • I found it hard to add detail
  • Shaping my bread and following my design was tricky
  • I didn’t like it when the dough got all over my hands!

29 children said that they would like to take part in the Great British Bake Off in the future – so get practising!

If you’d like to make the bread at home, here’s the recipe:

250g plain flour
250g strong white flour
1 ½ level teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon easy-blend yeast
325ml warm water
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil, plus a bit extra for oiling

1. Put the flour into a large bowl with the salt and yeast.
2. Add the oil and water.
3. Mix to a rough dough.
4. Flour/ oil your hands a little.
5. Tip out the dough on to a work surface and knead for 5 – 10 minutes, until smooth.
6. Try not to add too much extra flour if you can help it!
7. Trickle a little oil into a clean bowl, add the kneaded dough and turn it in the oil so it is covered.
8. Cover with a tea towel and leave it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size – at least an hour, probably two.
9. When the dough is risen and puffy, take it out and ‘knock it back’ – poke with your fingers.
10. Shape the dough as you want.
11. Bake at 220C/ gas mark 7 for 15 mins or until risen and golden.
12. Leave to cool and enjoy!

Year 2: algorithms and debugging!

This week in computing Year 2 have been learning about computer programming.

We learnt key vocabulary such as algorithm (a set of instructions), debugging (solving a problem with an algorithm), hardware (the physical parts of a computer such as a screen or keyboard) and software (apps and programmes to run on hardware).

We started by programming  beebots with an algorithm to create simple shapes. We used arrow cards to plan the steps of our algorithm, and recorded the steps we took. We encountered a few problems with our algorithms that we had to debug!

Next we used what we had learnt with the beebots to draw simple shapes using the Logo software on laptops. We started off on level 1, using the buttons on screen to draw the shapes.

Next, we moved onto level 2 – using programming language to write the algorithm and draw the shapes:

We had to be careful to enter the steps of the algorithm very carefully, otherwise the software didn’t understand what we wanted it to do!

You can draw all sorts of amazing shapes with the Logo software. Why don’t you try using it at home and see what you can create? http://www.j2e.com/logo.html.

Tell us in the comments what you manage to create at home, or tell us what your favourite thing about our computing learning this week was.