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Where in the World?

Out topic began with a mysterious set of magic keys! They appeared in our classroom one morning with a picture attached!  We had lots of questions about who it was.
Mrs Jones’ computer made a sparkly noise and the picture appeared on the big screen! The name underneath was Sir Francis Drake!  We wanted to find out lots of information about him so we wrote questions. Then we did some research as a class so we could answer our questions. We found out lots of information about him.
We learnt that Drake was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. On his journey he left Kent and headed for North Africa. We ‘travelled’ with Sir Francis Drake to Africa and then to South America. 
When we landed in South America we realised they spoke Spanish. We investigated why this would have been the case - Christopher Columbus had discovered South America in 1492! The children were excited about this information and decided to learn more about him. We began with writing down the small amount of information we had already found out and then writing questions we would like to find the answers to. 

We conducted research as a class, answering the questions we all wanted to ask about Christopher Columbus. Some children asked, “Was he nice?” We realised you can’t just look up the answers to questions like that. We looked at all the information we had about him and tried to decide for ourselves. Some children felt that taking Native Americans back to Spain without their permission was not a nice thing to do. Other children said that going back to try to save his crew when the ships were caught in a storm was a nice thing to do. Overall we felt it was tricky to say if someone was nice or mean because sometimes nice people do mean things and mean people sometimes do nice things. We thought how you felt about Christopher Columbus would probably depend on who you were - the Native Americans probably didn’t like him much but the Spanish probably did!

We were interested in why Christopher Columbus was looking for China and India. He wanted to trade with them but he was also interested in these countries for another reason. He has been inspired to go there because of a book by another famous explorer. We found out one of the most famous people to travel to India and China was Marco Polo. He spent much of his life in India and China. We anted yo know what it would have been like in India for Marco Polo. Would it have been like it is here in England?  We thought about types of things which make countries similar or different. We have already spent a lot of time looking at geographical features and man-made features. We have also looked at the differences the location of a country can make, for example its nearness to the equator or the poles. The children thought about the weather and how seasonal changes can be different in different parts of the world. We watched some weather forecasts and decided we would like to measure how much rain falls over a week in England.  To conduct this science experiment we would need a rain gauge. We began by making a scale. We used a ruler to ensure we could accurately measure in cm.

We then made a rain gauge using plastic bottles. We cut the tops off so they could by turned into a funnel to help catch more rain. We then attached our scales. We placed the rain gauges outside somewhere without any shelter.
We will be checking every day to see how much rain has fallen.