On Thursday 10th January, to help get our brains back into action after the Christmas holidays, the Junior Forms enjoyed a variety of activities to develop their thinking skills! Other important skills such as listening to others, co-operation, problem solving and perseverance were high on the agenda! The children were split into their houses and had 30 minutes to try to overcome a series of challenges set by the teachers.

‘The Artist’ with Miss Phillips

Pupils were given the task of instructing one member of the group as to how to draw a picture that they had not seen. The pupils were not allowed to simply tell the artist what they should be drawing but had to use creative ways not to give the object away before it had been drawn. There were some very interesting results and some very talented artists. Nelsons were particularly creative in the way they gave their instructions and came up with some impressive drawings. The burger was a particular favourite!


Mrs Elvin’s Four Challenges!

In Mrs Elvin’s class, four activities requiring good communication skills and teamwork were the order of the day. The first activities saw the children using non-verbal communication to sort themselves into groups. A task all groups completed well! This was followed by a challenge where groups had to try and place as many pieces of paper between two people as they could. The rules made this activity harder than it sounds and it certainly highlighted those children who were able to think and plan their next moves rather than rushing in and ultimately failing. The final challenge was the ‘Helium Stick’. Again, a seemingly simple task proved to be very difficult and despite no group managing to complete the activity, good leadership skills in a number of children were made very apparent. Well done to Pitts who, out of all the houses, showed many of the skills that the morning was designed to encourage!


Miss Flack’s Domino Rally

Here the pupils were set the challenge to make the longest possible continuous domino rally! The children had to discuss their ideas and strategies and then put their plans into action. Working together as a team on certain sections of the rally seemed to be a positive idea that all the groups quickly developed. Adapting to the uneven surface of the carpet was also a point for further discussion, followed by having to find ways to stop all the dominoes accidentally falling over! After 20 minutes of construction, it was time to put the rallies to the test. Congratulations to Wellies who managed to make the longest rally with the fewest ‘stops’.

Building Bridges with Miss Egerton

Miss Egerton challenged the children to build a bridge using only cocktail sticks and jelly babies! There was a lot of discussion, teamwork and many creative ideas being used in each group, which was lovely to see. They discussed the purpose of a bridge to see if it was possible to create one that was also fit for purpose. The pupils soon found out that it was trickier than first thought, but no less fun. Well done to all the children for showing great enthusiasm throughout this exciting challenge and creating wonderfully imaginative bridges in the process. Churchills impressed Mrs Egerton the most with their teamwork and thinking skills!


Collaborative Skills with Mrs Donnelly

Mrs Donnelly’s room we did a variety of team building games to warm up; encouraging children to communicate across their group and consider everyone not just themselves when sorting out their challenge. After this the children tackled various word games activities to really get them thinking and to promote good cooperation, either in pairs or small groups.  It was wonderful to see the children work with such enthusiasm and using great collaboration skills.


‘River’ crossing with Mr Curry

Mr Curry’s activity took the children outdoors. It involved pupils getting into small groups and carrying out a test to get an imaginary fox, a chicken and a bag of grain across the imaginary river. This could have resulted in the loss of many chickens and bags of grain if the children had not considered the problem carefully!

The children also took part in a ‘human knot’ activity. This involved them thinking, communicating and working as a team in order to solve the problem.

Grand Designs with Mrs Buswell

In Mrs Buswell’s room children had to stretch their thinking and problem solving skills to build an Artstraws structure using the following criteria:

  • only using 10 Artstraws
  • the finished structure had to be more than 10cm high
  • they could only use 6 pieces of sticky tape
  • the structure must hold a weight.

The children found this quite a challenge, firstly thinking of a strategy so that they didn’t waste the limited supply of tape and secondly, communicating effectively with one another to share ideas and work as a team. It was wonderful to see the children so enthusiastic and listening to each other!


Thinking Skills Carousel with Mrs Baynes

Maths and Language activities got the children’s minds whirring on Thursday morning as they puzzled in groups during their ‘Thinking Skills’ carousel.  Try some of these at home: 

  • write 5 questions that ONLY have the answer … vegetables
  • describe this picture of the New York skyline under fireworks in 5 amazing sentences.  Each sentence must start differently and have a WOW word 
  • write down as many calculations as you can that give the answer 87 
  • try to get as close as you can to the target number using these six numbers: 100 50 25 4 9 10  Target Number 598.  You can’t use the same number more than once.  Only plus, minus, times and divide are allowed.

                Good luck!

The children thoroughly enjoyed their morning, and one child even commented: “I think my brain is going to explode!”