Baltonsborough CE VC Primary School

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Welcome to Russet Class

Teacher: Mr Ben Balsom 


Email address for queries regarding home learning:

Home Learning!!

Please see this page for updates on home learning. The packs that have been sent out will take you up the Easter holidays and I will upload more activities on this page after the Easter break! 

Please see below the guide for the home project as described in the learning pack: 

Could the children please complete a project that compares the geographical characteristics of a region in the UK with a region in a European country. You could look at the fauna and flora of two different locations, the local rock formations, the different industries in the areas and if you want to go a bit further, perhaps even how human activity has changed the landscapes! 


The children can create lots of lovely pictures and artwork surrounded by facts and text etc. I am allowing a lot of autonomy in the layout of this project - anything from a written document/powerpoint to shoe box models of the landscapes! When we return to school, the children will  have the opportunity to explain their project to the group so please ensure that your child has a good understanding of the similarities and contrasts between the two areas. They will of course be able to explain to me without an audience if they do not have the confidence to speak to the whole class. 


Here is an example idea but please feel free to come up with your own similar ones: 

For a UK study, you could look at the Mendip Hills and learn about the properties of the carboniferous limestone that the area is largely formed of. You could then learn about the cave systems which are found underneath the hills and research the labyrinth of underground rivers which are intricately connected. Alternatively, you could look at the quarrying industry in the Mendips and how the stone quarried in the Mendips is now transported all over the country for building! 

For a European study, you could learn about the Gironde area of France which contains the Dune of Pilat and the city of Bordeaux. The Dune of Pilat is the tallest sand dune in Europe and children could compare this sandy landscape, enjoyed by thousands of tourists every year, to the often wet and remote conditions on the Mendips. They could learn about the miles of grapevines found around the Gironde area which support the Bordeaux wine industry and compare this to the quarrying on the Mendip Hills. The children could look at the effect that these industries have on the land. 


Hello there, you've reached the Russet page! We are a mixed class of year 3 and 4 children and through our irresistible curriculum, we make learning fun and engaging. The children always have a role in directing their own learning and every day brings new opportunities and challenges. Please enjoy perusing through this page as it is regularly updated with our activities.

Year 3 Curriculum Coverage

Year 4 Curriculum Coverage

Our last learning journey was

'Sound and Vibrations' 

Sound Walk Around the Village

In the classroom, the children made predictions on sounds they thought they might hear at different areas of the village. On the walk, many of their predictions came true but we also heard some unexpected sounds such as car radios, the panting of dogs and even a distant bird scarer!! We discussed in what way many of the sounds changed and that they became louder or quieter as they got nearer and further away. 


For our first lesson on this journey, the children sat in a circle with their eyes closed and Mr Balsom quietly walked around the room playing his guitar. The children had to guess where he was by pointing. 

After looking at a guitar string, we realised that when it is struck and making a sound, it vibrates a lot! This vibration also vibrates the air molecules around it, sending vibrations in a forward direction away from the guitar. Our ears then pick up this vibration giving us a perception of where the sound is coming from.


'The Vetust Victorians'

Victorian Day

A fantastic day!! Everyone dressed in Victorian style clothing and the children got to experience a Somerset Rural Life Museum workshop and a Victorian classroom handwriting session! 

The workshop focused on crimes and punishments from British history. We experienced a whirl of emotions as we discovered the stories of children as young as 9 years old being sentenced to years in jail and the hilarity of drunken men being placed in barrels for disorderly behaviour!! The children were able to hold (and be placed in!) some of the implements of torture and we designed wanted posters for known Victorian criminals. 

After this, the children saw a different side to the Russet teaching staff as we sternly inspected hands for dirt and kept behaviour in check with the threat of the cane (no children were caned in this lesson!)! We began the session off with 'drill' (Victorian P.E.) and moved on to a handwriting session in which the children copied down lines of 'God save the Queen', among others, in their neatest handwriting. We discussed how their writing would have needed to be impeccable as members of the British Empire - without computers, the Empire depended on neat handwriting to get its messages across the continents.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Raisin Experiment

After discussing popular Victorian beverages, we did a scientific experiment involving raisins and lemonade! The children predicted what would happen if we dropped raisins into lemonade - many thought that the raisins would rehydrate and turn back into grapes and some thought that the raisins may even explode! After dropping them in, there were many surprised faces as the results were not as anyone had predicted! We observed that the raisins 'danced around' inside the bottle by jiggling up to the top of the liquid and then back down again!! 

After this, we learnt how the wrinkled surfaces of the raisins stored the carbon dioxide from the lemonade, lifting the raisins to the surface. When the raisins reached the top, the gas bubbles popped and they returned to the bottom. The cycle then begins again until there is no more carbon dioxide in the lemonade or there is no more space for the gas in between the liquid and the bottle lid (if the lid is left on). 


'Zing - The Power of Electricity!'

Conductors and Insulators Experiment

On Tuesday last week, we did a science experiment to find out which materials conduct electricity and which materials are insulators. The children created a simple circuit with a battery and a bulb and they had to wire in a material to see whether the electricity would pass through the item causing the bulb to light up!

We had an excellent learning moment when we realised that a standard pencil does not conduct electricity but a pencil that has been sharpened at both ends does - the current passed through the graphite in the centre of the pencil!!


Column Multiplication Games

Over the last two days, we have been playing column multiplication games. Before playing the first game, we learnt about factors and looked at some of the methods of finding them. In the game, we had to roll a dice to land on a number square and then find the factors of that number.

The second game was called ‘Defeat Mr Balsom’. You had to answer column multiplication questions that gradually got harder until you reached 'Mr Balsom's lair'. Inside the lair, the children had to face the 'Mr Balsom question' to defeat him!


Creating Circuits

Last week, the children asked eight questions about electricity. Over the next few weeks, these questions will form the basis of our learning journey - the children will have played a major role in designing their own curriculum!! 

After studying electrical circuits and drawing diagrams on Tuesday, we spent Wednesday afternoon creating real circuits. Some children choose to create circuits similar to the ones that they had designed and some created brand new layouts for their circuits!  

Their questions are hung around the classroom and as the learning journey progresses, we will attach our answers to them. Come and have a look!


Our trip to We The Curious

On Thursday 6th June we took a coach to Bristol to spend a day at 'We The Curious'. This was a fantastic opportunity to immerse ourselves in all things Science related. We were able to get hands on with all of the interactive exhibits. While we were there we had a workshop about forces and magnets. We learnt what forces are and we did an investigation about friction. We had a great day and learnt a lot! 

Aztec God of Chocolate

After looking at different depictions of the God of Knowledge, Quetzalcoatl, the children used their knowledge of chocolate to design an Aztec God of Chocolate. Their design had to have a reference to chocolate somewhere and the children were all so creative! They were then put into groups and as a group had to take one thing from each person's design to create a God of Chocolate in their group. They had lots of different art materials to use and this activity demonstrated a lot of brilliant teamwork and creativity. 







British Science Week

To celebrate British Science Week, Russet spent a day outdoors preparing, planning and planting their vegetable patch. A big thank you to Coralie for helping us with this! We will monitor the growth of our plants and collect data from them later on in the term. 






World Book Day

On Thursday 7th March we all came to school dressed as our favourite book characters. 

Trip to Gilbert & Swayne

On Tuesday and Thursday we went to visit our local chocolate factory, Gilbert & Swayne. We were shown how to make a chocolate lollipop and all made one to take home. We played a game that helped us to understand why fairtrade is so important, and we learnt about the origins of chocolate. The children all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 










The legend of Quetzalcoatl

We have been learning about the origins of chocolate and discovered that the Aztecs believe in the legend of Quetzalcoatl. He was the God of Knowledge who came to Earth on the rays of the morning star and gave the Aztecs the gift of the cocoa tree. Here we are acting out the story!






Using drama and music

The chocolate put together a mini performance to show the process of making chocolate, from picking the pods to packaging the finished product. 



Pod to bean to product

The children worked in groups to create information posters about how chocolate is made. They drew pictures and wrote about the different processes involved in getting the cacao bean from the tree and into our shops.



Autumn 2 Learning Journey

"Why is light important?"

This half term we will be finding out why light is important in a variety of contexts. We will find out who the 'Lady of the Lamp' was and why light was important for her; we will learn why light is important for different religious festivals, leading us nicely into our nativity 'Shine Star Shine'. We will also find out about different light sources, how to make simple circuits to make a bulb light up and how shadows made. 


We have been making simple circuits. We have learnt that the circuit needs to be complete in order for the bulb to light and the buzzer to make a sound. We even drew circuit diagrams!



3D shapes

In Year 3 we have been learning about 3D shapes and using different modelling materials to make these shapes. They had the challenge of making 3D shapes from nets, playdough and marshmallows and cocktail sticks. 






An interview with Florence Nightingale

On Thursday the children travelled back in time to interview Florence Nightingale and a wounded soldier. The children asked some brilliant questions to find out how the hospital conditions made Florence feel and what she did about them. 

Shadows Investigation

We have been learning about how shadows are formed and carried out an investigation to see how shadows behave. They used dolls and torches to find ways of making the shadow bigger or smaller. 



Scutari Hospital

We have been finding out about the hospital conditions during the Crimean War. The children were horrified to discover how terrible the conditions were. Here they are exploring pictures and materials to help them visualise and describe what the hospitals were like.



Remembrance Day

We talked about Remembrance Day and why it was important. The children made a poppy badge each and wrote on the petals some key words or thoughts that they associated with Remembrance Day e.g. remember, brave and selfless. We walked to the war memorial in our village and stood with other members of the community for a two minute silence. 



Clay Workshop

Lizzie from Pot Doodles came to visit us to show us how to make candle holders out of clay. The children had to work the clay and roll it out; they had to cut out shapes to decorate their candle holders with; they had to make long sausage shapes to wrap around their candle holder template; and they had to paint their candle holders. The children had a great time doing this and worked really hard. We can't wait to see the finished results in a few weeks time! 





Australia Exhibition

To finish off our learning journey the children in Russet Class put on an Australia exhibition which all of our parents were invited to. The children worked in small groups, researching different aspects of Australia and Australian culture, and within their group came up with fun and creative ways to display their information. Our Australia Exhibition was a huge success, thoroughly enjoyed by the parents, but most importantly, by the children.