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Newburn Manor Primary School

Learning together, growing together


Rhubarb and Fluff 19/06/23

It was only a half session today so in order to fit everything in I gave the camera to the children. They took a lot more photos than I ever do and they look really good. I think some children can not resist the selfie though.

We took a visit to the rainbow garden. It is suffering in the heat and from lack of attention. Other work commitments have meant that we have not visited as regularly as we had hoped. Gave everything a great big soaking and hope that it will rain a bit more this week. Pat told us that if the plants don’t get enough water then they tend to ‘bolt’. That is, they produce seeds rather than leaves. We picked some rhubarb and tried it. I would say it tops the sour scale. We brought a bit left and were going to dip it into some sugar but instead we used a jar of marshmallow fluff, sweet and sour; delicious.

New Inventors Wanted 22/05/23

We started a new cycle of pupil inventors this week and dived straight into inventing with a string task. How would you use string to join 3 objects? It got pupils thinking and some even found ways of getting their own string/wire. After this we made our own planning books to work out what it is we want to invent.

I look forward to working with this new group in the shed and at the Rainbow garden in the allotments.

Planting in the Rainbow Garden 15/05/23

I don’t know if you will remember but a while back some time was given over to planting some seeds. A lot of them had germinated and were doing very well so we took them along to the rainbow garden in the allotments and put them out. We had far more than we could use but packed in as many as we could into the raised beds.

I felt quite inspired by all this activity so when we got back to school we got to work clearing the school beds and then we plopped in a few more of the plants. I have no idea what we have planted, I wonder if there were any chilli plants.

Recycle – Replant 17/04/23

We have been using a lot of wood recently, that is fine as we have lots growing on site but we also have a lot of things that people have used and now want to through away. We all need to find ways of reducing the amount of waste that we produce and here at Newburn we try to recycle as much as we can. We used some of the plastic today. The children had to pick 4 plastic objects to make something new with them. I thought we had all sorts of interesting ideas.

We went to the science shed and had to save some plants that had suffered during the 2 weeks off through lack of water. We put them into bigger pots so that they will not dry out so quickly. From memory there were some tomato, chilli, spinach and broccoli. Unfortunately I cannot remember which were which. I look forward to seeing what they turn into.

Wood Joins 27/03/23

Last week we spent a lot of time hammering and sticking. I thought that this week it would be good if we found other ways of joining things. Instead of a range of materials we just used wood.

I was not sure what things would be created but I find working wood can sometimes be easier than a mixed selection of materials. The children were taught safe ways to use the tools. We used saws, drills, a bill hook and some hammers and mallets. Drilling a hole and then making a peg to fit into the hole seemed to be a popular way of making joins. These then made excellent sailing boats. Other pupils made very load clackers, a hammer and house.

It was a lovely afternoon spent in the sun inventing. I hope you like the photos as many of them were taken by the pupils.


Joints and Books 20/03/23

We had a new group in the Invention Shed today. We started by looking at joining things. It is hard when there is no tape or glue. We had holes drilled and a lot of nails being hammered. The children had great imagination and made some amazing objects some are not quite ready yet but maybe next week.

The group then made their log books to record all the things that they have learnt and made. This was another stretch as they had to try and find a good way of joining the pages together. This time no glue or tape were allowed. There also wasn’t a hole punch available. I like the way that through restrictions on the type of resources that are available the children become super inventive. Children sewed the book together, others used wire and some found some plastic zip ties. What a great session.

Planting Seeds 06/03/23

It was an allotment day today, but instead of going along to the Rainbow Gardens, Tony came to help us. Although the forecast is for snow I could not resist opening the seed packet that I had been given and planting them out into trays.  Have a real selection of plants ranging from spinach and rocket to chilli’s and tomatoes. I wonder what we will see.

We started off with just the cardboard packaging that the seeds had come in but this being ‘Invention Shed’ time none of felt we could leave it at that. We had a think about what we could use; old keyboard letters, piano keys and whittled willow was all put to good use.

We spent some time reflecting upon what it is we do at the Invention shed and why it is good to come. I liked the comment... ‘on a Monday when you might not want to come into school it gives a great reason to get in.’

You might notice that there are not as many photos this week, that is because I tried to take some rather than leave it up to the pupils. Of course, after taking one or two I promptly forgot the camera and so there are no photographs of us whittling or label making.

Singer Discovery 27/02/23

What a pleasant discovery; when I find a mystery box on my desk. I at first thought some one has left something to dismantle in the invention shed. Upon opening it I saw a beautiful hand sewing machine too good to take apart. When you turned the handle, it made a lovely mechanical noise and things went up and down. I had no idea how to set it up but a member of the staff did so during lunch time I had a quick lesson on how to use the sewing machine.

I wanted the children to experiment with fastenings today but after the sewing machine discovery that went on the ‘to-do’ list. We looked at the machine and thought about the things that it could do. I demonstrated making a pocket for my glasses and I imagined that we would all have a great afternoon of creating. The machine bit back. The set up had looked dead easy but I kept on forgetting one of the steps so the cotton came out of the needle. Threading it back in was very frustrating, for me as well as the children. I think next week I shall look for a needle with a bigger eye so that when I do get things wrong it takes less than 5 minutes to re-thread the needle.

The children still managed to get on with what they wanted to do in spite of my lack of practice. I have left the machine set up for next week for those who wish to do something with it.


Woodworking Hearts 13/02/23

Coming in this morning I wondered about a cooking fire and some hot chocolate but by lunch time the sun had warmed the air enough to sit out on the benches without shivering. I even took off my coat!

I had an idea for willow twisting and then covering the shapes with tissue paper. I had in mind hearts since tomorrow is St. Valentine’s day and I am yet to buy a card. We set off to collect some willow but by the time we had some sticks of suitable bend the children had thought of some much more imaginative ideas than I had. While I sat and worked with some pupils, others were busy using the knives to whittle sticks turning them into all sorts of inventions. We had some great ideas. Time is always against us so there were some unfinished projects. I think the pictures testify to how hard the children worked this afternoon.

Oh, all the pictures were taken by the children this week.

Keyboard Breakdown 06/02/23

The winter sun was weak but just enough to allow those who wanted to work outside to do so. Strangely, I found an old Casio Keyboard put into the shed. I don’t know who put it there but I placed it outside ready for when the children arrived. Last week we had discussed what the children wanted to do, they had not mentioned an electronic piano. Strangely it was the first thing that the children gravitated to. Then I said that since we didn’t have the power supply to check if it worked they were welcome to take it apart. It might seem strange that we often take things apart in a group called Makers Club. It proved a very popular activity. Did you know that the keys are not all individual but come in blocks?  I didn’t know that but I did know where to find the magnets so I made sure that we got those out. We saved a lot of things to make them into something else next week

There were other children who wanted to use the badge maker so we got that out. They started out just using the sets in the bow but then found some DVD covers so cut out some great images to put into a badge.

To finish the session everyone got together to make a FLOMO model that we can put in the oven to cure. It will be ready tomorrow when it has cooled down.

Rainbow Garden Planning 30/01/23

Who would have thought it was still January, although cold the sun shine and it was perfect for visiting the Rainbow Garden in the allotments along Azalea Way. Our school has the chance to help with a patch that has been set aside for community development. We were greeted at the entrance by Tony, the person in charge of the scheme. He showed us the beds where we could plant what ever we liked. After initial suggestions of exotic fruit some more interesting ideas were put forward. I loved the idea of huge carrots. There are some year 6 children involved so it is important that we have some crops that will be ready before they leave.

Tony told us that if we get some ideas together then we can start a growing calendar with things that can be grown in our environment.  We will probably visit again in late February and then start the more serious task of planting and growing in march. Tony said that some crops can not really be put out until May as that is when the last frost could be!

There was still plenty of time back at the shed for children to explore some ideas they had. It is god to be able to leave some project for next week as that takes some of the stress of feeling you have to finish the object there and then and so rushing you ‘make’. That being said we did have a rather nice smiley badge being made and a bell to ring when you require a cup of tea or a scone in the afternoon.

Invention Shed Work 23/01/23

I was very excited to get into the shed after a break for so long, three years I think. I brought in a saw horse to help with some logs and wondered where the children’s imagination would take us in the next couple of hours.


Fate in the form of the horse from the neighbouring field intervened as I ended up spending my lunch break trying to get the pesky equine back to its home. Luckily, I had five skilled workers to help fix the fence.


We started of by selecting good straight poles from the Willow trees and used the bow saws to cut them down. We then used the loppers to take off the smaller branches and cut them to size using the saw horse. I trimmed the end to make a point before we took them to the place the fence was broken. Could you believe it in that time the horse had got back in. This time when it saw me approach it went back through the fence with no bother. The children bashed in the poles as hard as they could using a big mallet and then nailed some planks across, securing everything with a load of nails. Fingers crossed it was in the right place. Can you believe that was a full 2 hours of work? Mrs. Heslop had to come out to fetch us in otherwise we could have still been out there now!