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With the start of a new school year and a month that contains both the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah and the Rastafarian significant Ethiopian New Year, "New Beginnings" seems a suitable topical topic! It's a time to sweep away the old and look forward to the new.

Setting Targets

Aside from setting work targets it can also be meaningful and fun to set other targets and use Roamer to decide which ones individuals should work towards.

Create a circular mat about 60cm in diameter and divide into 12 sections (30º units). In each section write a target. You could decide on the targets with the children. Here are some suggestions:

  • Smile at least 5 times every day
  • Read every night
  • Get to know someone who isn't already a friend
  • Arrive on time every day
  • Don't drop litter - ever
  • Learn to juggle (or another new skill)
  • Complete your homework on time
  • Show respect for other people in school
  • Learn one interesting fact every day
  • Make sure you always tidy away any equipment you've been using
  • Volunteer for something at least 5 times this term eg. Collecting up the scissors, reading in assembly, helping at the school fete
  • Don't copy anyone else
  • If someone annoys you tell him or her a joke.

Set Roamer's unit of turn to 30º (turn [30] GO - place sticky tape over the on/off switch to stop them turning it off). Stick an arrow on Roamer and place Roamer in the centre of the mat pointing randomly at one of the targets. Working in small groups the first child throws two dice. They then program Roamer to turn that number in either direction (they can choose - this would involve them in working out which two targets they could end up with and then deciding which they would rather have). They then have to write down the target that Roamer points to as one of theirs. The next child then throws two dice and collects their first target. Each child should collect three targets. This could be done termly and the targets can be as serious or mad as you want.

Logging noise around the school

NB This activity should be done with the cooperation and knowledge of other members of staff.

Children should decide which areas of the school they wish to log for noise and the three times each week that they will log it. eg. school library, playground, classroom(s), thinking room etc. - Monday 12.00pm, Wednesday 10.30am and Friday 3.00pm

Using the SenSci Data Logger and sound sensor or sensor module the children should record the noise at the given places at the given times and using the Prodigy software they can analyse it and create their own way of displaying the data for the rest of the school to see. Can the children be encouraged to be quieter in the library, when is the dining room at its noisiest (and why)? If the other staff give permission perhaps you could log the noise in other classes. Which class works the quietest and is it necessarily a good thing to be quiet all the time? Provided with the raw data there is lots of discussion that could be developed - why should we have quiet in the library/thinking room, does it matter if (when) you're noisy in the playground? Etc.etc.

This activity extends the use of logging measurements into looking at appropriate behaviour/noise levels and as such takes it beyond the science curriculum into citizenship and pshe. Did the children recognise what was acceptable during which activities/areas and by seeing the graphs did they modify their behaviour?

If you have any suggestions for Topical Topics that you would like to see ideas for or, even better, have a Topical Topic that has worked well with your class and you could share with other teachers please do contact us.

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