On the third day of our literary festival, we had the pleasure of welcoming author Gill Arbuthnott to the school. Gill has a science background and, after a period of teaching, now writes fiction and non-fiction books for children. She braved the Beast from the East to travel from Edinburgh to Oxford and back again – we’re hoping she got back safely today!
Gill started off reading a couple of her picture books – Lost at the Zoo and The Giant Panda Party – to Key Stage 1 children, who loved making animal sounds and following the adventures of the cheeky characters in the story. It was fascinating to hear that Gill based Lost at the Zoo on an experience she had taking children to Edinburgh Zoo. They looked in on the tigers, and there was a rustle of hay before a brave mouse appeared! The Great Panda Party is also based on visits to the city’s zoo, and on its two resident pandas, called Cheeky and Sunshine.
Gill in Years 1 and 2
After a very brief break, Gill then spoke to all of our Key Stage 2 children about science, and what a fascinating session that was! Based on her book What Makes Your Body Work, we learned loads of interesting facts and even participated in some experiments. For example, having shared cream crackers around, Gill told us that there’s no sugar in them and that they don’t taste sweet at all when we first start chewing them. However, the longer we keep them in our mouths, the longer our saliva has to break them down into molecules that can affect the taste buds. Then – presto! – we can experience a sweet flavour!
We also heard about how our make-up is similar to that of a chimp, a mouse and even a banana… and that we have more parts of our DNA that might classify us as more alien-like than anything else (the bacteria on our skin). Creepy stuff! We all enjoyed watching Mrs Buchanan, the Year 3 teacher, compete against Chris in Year 6 to see who had the biggest lung capacity … Mrs B won!
The Key Stage 2 science talk and lung capacity test!
We loved having Gill visit us and hope she’s entertain us with more fantastic science facts again soon.
We also hope she arrived safely back in Edinburgh!