Sunday 30 August 2020

Project 148: Shooting a Video!

During Project 145: Starting a Business, Solomon set up his own YouTube Channel, so we thought we would do another project looking more closely at video production. 

We bought a book on making YouTube videos, got  a camcorder and an action camera, and set the children the task of making a video about one of their home education projects from the last year. Solomon picked Project 143: Basketball, and Monica picked Project 112: Refugees

After an introductory presentation on filming, the children had to create their own storyboards for their videos. Solomon included lots of action shots, with trips to the basketball court, as well as playing on the PlayStation. Monica's film included a retracing of her trip to the museum and acting out a scene from the book. 

The rest of the week was then spent filming and editing the video. Although as they included lots of shots of the children, they're not being shared online!

Next week's project: Don Quixote

Sunday 23 August 2020

Project 147: Sculpture

With trips out still restricted by the coronavirus, we decided to make use of the local sculpture trail and have a project on sculpture. 

We started the week by looking at some of the work of Antony Gormley. The children have seen the Angel of the North, Untitled (for Francis) at the Tate, and Peterborough has it's own series of Gormley statues. 

The children also made their own clay models, following an Antony Gormley Twinkl activity sheet

We went to the local sculpture park and the children had to draw pictures of the sculptures and write what they did or didn't like about them

We also looked at a wider variety of sculpture and statues, from Michelangelo to the Fourth Plinth,and gave the task of designing their own statues if materials and money were not an issue. Solomon's was 'The Great Evil', while Monica's was 'Motherhood'.

Next week's project: Shooting a Video!

Monday 17 August 2020

Project 146: A Wrinkle in Time

Unsurprisingly during the coronavirus we have done a lot more book projects (see our big list of books), and this week we decided on a classic we knew nothing about: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

It is a science fiction story of children tessering across the universe to save their father from the evil IT. Combining science with the age-old battle of good v. evil. 

The children read the graphic novel, and we read the original together. 

We watched the recent Disney version (2018):

And also the 2003 version:

We explored the themes of the book, and the differences between the book and the film using discussion points provided in the graphic novel, a teacher's guide at, and some activities on the BBC

Everyone enjoyed the story, so we've started reading the sequel A Wind in the Door

Next project: Sculpture

Sunday 9 August 2020

Project 145: Starting a Business

One of the problems with children is they are always coming up with quite impractical business ideas:
"I'm going to start a shop selling my drawings [scribbles on scrap paper]"
"I'm going to charge people five pounds to look at my museum [a tin of bits and pieces]"
"Sell flowers [i.e., daisies and dandelions they've picked]" 
So after Solomon declared he wanted to earn £1,000 for a new games computer, we decided we'd do a project on Starting a Business.

We started the week with a big presentation on different types of business, the advantages of starting your own business, and activities on the sort of business they might like to have. We made use of three books, with particular attention to the activities in Starting Your Own Business: Become an Entrepreneur.

Monica decided on a dog-walking business (despite her fear of dogs!), and Solomon decided he wanted his own Fortnite channel on YouTube. 

They then had to make their own business plan, including costs and profits, and come up with a marketing strategy. 

Solomon designed a number of logos for his Fortnite channel:
And Monica designed a leaflet for her dog walking service: 

They were also expected to give a Dragon's Den style presentation asking for any investment they might need:
  • Monica wanted £120 for insurance, a lead and collar, poo bags, leaflet printing, and ingredients for dog biscuits. 
  • Solomon wanted £80 for a PS4 camera so he could record videos of himself playing video games. 
Both were refused (for now): Monica until she could show she could actually go near a dog and not scream, and Solomon until he showed he would stick at creating Fortnite videos in the long term. 

Solomon's YouTube channel is now up and running - and (for now) he seems to be enjoying editing the videos as much as he does playing the game!

Next week's project: A Wrinkle in Time.

Sunday 2 August 2020

Project 144: Pushing on with Programming

Programming is one of those activities that we always say we'll do more of, but then never do, in fact it's a year since our last programming project (Project 85: Revisiting Programming). So we decided to have a big three week project focused just on programming: Monica focused on Scratch, and Solomon focused on Python.

They each started with the appropriate "Coding for Beginners..." book from Usborne, before using other books. The Usborne books are really easy to follow, so most of the time the children worked their way through with little help. Coding Games in Python was a little bit trickier, making use of the pygame module, but Solomon soon got the hang of it.

Over the three weeks the children did literally dozens of projects, so we asked them to pick three to illustrate their work. 

Solomon picked a simple loop:

Dodge the Bombs (a minesweeper-style game) was his favourite game (from Coding for Beginners...):

Although he also enjoyed coming up with questions for his quiz game (from Coding Games in Python):

Monica picked one project from each of her three books: 
Coding for Beginners:
Code your own Space Adventure:
Code your own Jungle Adventure:

Both the children really enjoyed the programming and are keen to do it more often, which we will certainly encourage as it's a good way to get some peace and quiet for a couple of hours!

Next project: Starting a Business!