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Summer Term - Under The Sea


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Umm... okay... it was decided last year that our topics in reception were too similar to either those in year 1 or nursery, so we were asked to change them. As daunting as it first seemed, I've actually quite enjoyed re-writing practicall our whole medium term plans from scratch based around our new topics.


For the summer we're doing Under the Sea for the first half term, and Up in the Sky for the second half term.


I concentrating on Under the Sea for now... so I thought seeing as I just joined the FSF I would see what kind of things you all might be able to think of to help me.


Any ideas for Big Books, stimulie, online resources (I just got an IWB in my classroom :) ) would be fantastic.


Thanks in advance



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The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfster is a great way to have literacy, PSHE, dance etc in a beautifully illustrated and enjoyable book- this book has enough to go on for weeks- big book available and a good sequel. Great assembly too.

A lovely topic. enjoy!

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Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andrea is good if you fancy doing some poetry. Other nice stories are Fidgety Fish and Smiley Shark.


You could make a role play area with snorkelling masks, get the children to make some tropical fish, maybe a submarine?


Sounds like an exciting topic - I might give it a go next term :D

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The mousehole cat (pronounced Mowzel for those emmets out here), is lovely.


fish for numbers etc with magnets


weaving in nets (although discussions about deep ses nets and the death of marine mammals might be in order)


Go visit a wet fish shop and see real fish rather than the battered finger fish.


salt/saline water: float things and see if there is a difference? Testing/predicting/hypothesising


Colours of things.




:D Sounds lovely

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Under the Sea

As said before I too love the Marcus Pfeister books - great for all areas.


creating an octopus - 8 legs etc

large scale group work to make backdrops of sponge painted seas with a variety of blue/green hues and lots of glitter.

Oil mixed with water/food colouring

Cartesian divers in lemonade bottles

Tornados in plastic bottles

Balls of clay - how can the children get them to float


Just few ideas - if I have time I will try and dig out my planning from last year and link it on here



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Wow, quick responses... thanks or those ideas. If you do find your planning from last year Nicola that would be fantastic, because as I said, I'm starting from scratch on this topic.


Until then, could you elaborate on Cartesian divers in lemonade bottles and

Tornados in plastic bottles (is this just spinning them round really fast!?)


I'm intrigued :o

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Our children had a great time making paint prints from "fresh fish and prawns "bought at the local supermarket. After they had finished making prints we looked at their skeletons and their skin.


Need to check that using "food" for education doesn't offend anyone and I recommend an air freshener for when you've finished :D



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Am really intrigued by cartesian divers - is this anything to do with raisins zipping up and down on the bubbles?




PS: am really peeved because I meant to do this with my 4+ group when we did 'up and down' for opposites a couple of weeks ago. Slipped my mind. Oh well, even I can't be perfect, I suppose....

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The tornado's that I have done are in two plastic bottles taped together by the necks with water in. Then you just spin the water as fast as you can and turn in upside down I think! :D Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. :o

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Cartesian Divers etc.


March 14th is National Science Week and this year is the year of Einstein - check out their website for lots of fantastic ideas including the cartesian divers too - this is what they call it - sounds quite posh - but just amounts to sealing a straw with blue tack both ends - immerse in water - put lid back on bottle - when bottle is squeezed the straw will move up and down as pressure is applied and the density of the straw diver is greater than the srrounding water - apparently works on the same principle of a sperm whale. However test this first in a glass of water to make sure you have sealed the straw and blue tack is equally weighted just to make sure the diver floats otherwise you will have lots of drowned divers!!!! Might try and be really clever by gluing fish shaped cellophane to the straw and see if that makes it a little more interesting.


Not too sure whether I am clever enough to put up a link but website is www.einsteinyear.org - if you wander around here you will find Einstens Birthday Party Pack which contains loads of ideas plus other links into other areas.


I am holding a science week at my group as I know it will interest some of my more lively boys and have found a fantastic amount of resources to support this.


For our weekly cooking activity we are going to make an apple pie with no apples - its made out of cream crackers - its called crazu chemical pie - going to let my parents try this and see if they can guess what its made from. Not too sure where I got this one from but if anyone's interested I will try and find out. NOt really suitable for the children to get too involved in as you have to add the crackers to boiling water but they can help with the pastry and may get them to do a traditional apple pie alongside it to see the difference, perhaps do some blind tasting or something.


Another really good resource is the Usbourne Big Book of Experiments. Here are a few ideas from that book - well worth buying.


Float an Egg

Float an egg in large glass of water - it will sink (unless its gone off I think)

Then add 10 tablespoons of salt

Put egg back in and it will float

Make a mark on the eggs highest point with permanent marker

Remove egg and draw a face with mark near the top

Pour half the brine water away

Tilt glass and then slowly pour cold water on top of brine

When glass is full slowly slide in egg

it will start sinking but will then stop as it hits the brine water and will sit on top of the brine solution and float


Bottle Thermometers

Fill glass bottle with coloured (food dye) water

Roll some playdough around a straw - approximately 4" (10cm) from the top

Put straw into bottle so bottle is airtight

Water shoudl rise up straw

Stand bottle in cold water for a while - water in straw shoudl fall

Make a cardboard scale - number a cardboard strip every 1cm with no.s 1-10 and tape to straw

Leave outside and take regular readings

Dependent on outside temperature red dye should rise and fall up the straw

Haven't tried this myself but looks dead easy and cheap. Let me know if this works.


Other ideas


Salt and Soda crystals


Making a sunset - shining a torch through a a glass jar full of water ( room should be darkened to get full efffect) Move the torch around - water should look yellow - then add two tablespooons of milk shine torch through side of jar - should still look yellow - then shine torch through jar towards you - water will then look pink


Floating an Orange

Did you know (I didn't) that oranges float but when peeled sink. Good idea for water tray and developing language.


Perhaps comparing it with other fruits leading into the lemonade lava lamps with dried fruit. Extend this by adding glace cherries - this then gets really messy and sticky as the cherries force the lemonade out the top of the bottle in a great bit woosh. Children love this one. Unfortuantely, at this stage I had several children licking the lemonade up from the table - mmmm- perhaps not so good - but good fun nonetheless.


Sorry I seem to have got carried away but I am really excited about my science week) how sad is this - has someone mentioned recently that I should get a life) and I have found so many ideas which are all very visual and look to be good fun - will let you know how it goes. Am practising all my experiments with my own kids this week - wish sicence had been this much fun when I was at school.



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An obvious idea, but I Try to det children to produce collaborative large scale creative work, which has been displayed across windows and any other very large space. Brilliant for PSED, CLL, CD etc. We have produced large (6ft X 4ft) work on night & day, but this could easily be done using an underwater theme. Create a sea background (colour mixing powder paints (KUW) or liquid paints) NB I appear to be the only fan of powder paint in my school at the moment. Introduce light & dark tones. Use different tools to apply, paintbrushes large & small, sponges, spray etc to add light/ dark tones. Small groups can work on creating suitable sealife/ plants. Make these 3D (I tend to get the children to stuff the fish! afterwards by geting them to staple a backing and then filling with newspaper (lovely with Rainbow fish where they can work together to add different coloured/ shiny scales etc), Octopus/ starfish with numbers, seaweed/ plants/ rocks with bubbles descibing texture/ smell/ appearance. When we do this type of creatvive work their are the obvious areas to focus on, but its a brilliant oportunity to assess PSED (working collaboratively/ social interactions with others in their group). It seems to aid a sense of togetherness (sorry if this sounds wooly), but often creative work is has individual ownership (my picture/ model to take home so its good to have something that says our class/ group did this together, heres how my part helped).


Also music (help me I'm useless on classical music, but I know theres a peice called the Animals Symphony or something like that) We used this to listen to, create & record our own music to dance/ listen too.


Hope this helps



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Are you thinking of The Carnival of the Animals, Lisa?


How about underwater scenes painted onto your windows? You could also hang a hoop from the ceiling and use it to make a seaweed and fish mobile. Try making pasta collage starfish? How about mermaids too?


It sounds like a great topic - hope it goes well :o

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Thank you ASPK



It was the Carnival of the Animals I was thinking of and the music that the children created in response to the music was fantastic.

I know out of nowhere I've remembered the composer Sant Siens (or something like that).


i must start writing down music etc that have been enjoyed by the children Ive worked with. Sorry not linked to the underwater theme but Julia Donaldson (Gruffalo) has produced a book of songs with a CD thats brilliant. Children love 'Pull a Funny Face and the Gruffalo/ Push & Squeeze).


Also wondering if Lets Go Zudio has anything suitable on it (enhanced CD has video clips on which I recently used for Chinese New Year).


Sorry rambling know



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  • 3 weeks later...

We are also looking at water next half term... but trying not to look at under the sea as it is a topic for next years- 2 year rolling cycle.

So any other ideas would be appreciated.





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