At the beginning of this term, Truro School Prep announced a new initiative called ‘The Bigger Picture’. Children in Years 5 and 6 have homework five days a week and following a review of their homework provision they decided to make a change, replacing the alternate English/maths homework with a homework challenge designed to make the children think. The challenges are designed to encourage pupils to connect ideas, challenge themselves and to be inspired. There are no right or wrong answers and no set way of answering/addressing the questions.
Since it’s launch, the ‘bigger picture’ homework has already ignited so many different responses from our Year 5 pupils.
Their first homework was based around open questions, such as ‘Who am I?,’ which stimulated a rich variety of work – everything from research into family trees (Amelia), a hilarious film with family interviews (Toby), and even shared joy from London 2012 – featuring an Olympic torch, GB team kit and a genuine Olympic medal, pictured below (Evie).
The tasks set for their bigger picture homework last week included ‘From farm to fork.’ Amelia, in Year 5, whose family business is in arable framing, kindly arranged for William Iliffe (from their farm) to visit the school and speak to Year 5 about food production.
His presentation was informative and entertaining. He explained the different aspects of arable farming, including soil testing and soil preparation, seed development, planting out the seedlings and harvesting the crop.
Highlights included a ‘cabbage quiz’ and watching his movie clips of their state-of-the-art farming kit. It was wonderful to actually see them planting out their crops in the fields. It felt like we were right there. Guess what? Satellites are now driving their tractors. Apparently, it gives them much better crop yields.
My favourite part of the session was definitely the question and answer section. William expertly managed the questions from the children – which ranged from the funny ones – why farmers love to add muck to their fields, to the serious ones – how much it costs to produce one cauliflower, even valuable careers advice for budding future farmers.
Sarang, in Year 5, amazed us with a brilliant question about using red cabbage as a soil pH indicator. No-one seemed completely sure about this. A quick hunt on Google elicited our answer – he was absolutely right.
We are extremely grateful to William, from Southern England Farms, for talking to us about ‘From farm to fork.’ His presentation went so well that we are planning to facetime him in the fields on the farm next term, as part of the John Muir Award.