Our Geography/English unit this term has us asking “are all countries equal?” On Monday I handed out some M&Ms to students – one for every year 4 student, two for every year 5 student and 3 for every year 6. I kept the rest as I was the oldest. There were protests that this was unfair as they were not distributed equally and we explored how students felt when they were given less. The class suggested that they could be distributed more evenly. We then gave an equal number of M&Ms to each table. The students observed that this was not fair because each table had a different number of students so when they shared them, some students had more than others. We called each table a different country and had some experience drought and other disasters, reducing their resources. Some countries experienced inflation and their M&Ms became miniature. In one country the boys got to decide how they distrubuted their M&Ms to the girls.

After the exercise we brainstormed what equality means. We had a debate about whether equality meant distributing all resources equally or treating all people in the same way.

Over the last few days we have been reading texts that explore how we measure poverty and we have looked at different country case studies. The students have been given a project on an emerging country to present to the class by week 10. We broke the project down into smaller steps and the students have weekly deadlines to meet. This is designed to help them organise their time to ensure projects are not stressful. Please encourage your child to begin as soon as possible, meet the deadlines and find solutions to difficulties they face.

Let me know if you have any questions or need some assistance. I can always be contacted on christian.tranberg@det.nsw.edu.au.

In maths, we have been looking at the properties of 2D shapes. We looked at ways to describe shapes mathematically and have created programs that can identify any quadrilateral by asking yes or no questions. Students created flowcharts and used PowerPoint to create a working shape sorter. In the process, we learnt about the properties of shapes, including:  parallel, congruent and adjacent lines, angles and symmetry. Stage 3 also learnt about classifying triangles.

In Science we have been learning about light. Last week, the students were asked “what would happen if you were in a room with a black cat and a white owl and there was no source of light at all? What could you see? What could the cat see? What could the owl see? Tomorrow, we will conduct an investigation to clarify many of the misconceptions the students have around this question and over the term we will continue to design experiments to test our hypotheses.