September 28

Who gets the bigger half?


fraction |ˈfrakʃ(ə)n| noun

a numerical quantity that is not a whole number (e.g. 1/2, 0.5).

a small or tiny part, amount, or proportion of something: he hesitated for a fraction of a second | her eyes widened a fraction.

For the past few weeks we have been investigating the mathematical concept of fractions.

We had all heard the words like half and quarters and began to share our understandings of what we thought fractions were. Alex Narcys, our Maths coordinator, wanted to come in and work with us further on this concept.

We began by reminding ourselves of what we valued when doing maths and what we didn’t like as well. You may want to revisit our earlier post on that from term one for our posters.


Alex began by showing the students a bowl of fruit but we didn’t know how many apples there would be.



They all worked out that there were 6 apples. To solve this problem, students discussed their reasoning and the strategies used such as addition, others were using the language of halves and doubling numbers. They agreed on getting the language and concept right.

So what is a half?

Halves are two equal pieces


It soon became clear that students knew what made a half two equal pieces ….. or did they?

Alex gave them all squares and challenged them to find as many ways as they could to show half. After folding down the middle some had to think again, does it always have to be in the middle?  What could a different way look like?

What do you think of these samples?

Then we tried the same task with wavy lines… that was challenging but fun.

Fraction Walls

img_1109 img_1110

It was time to get building. We began to build fraction walls. Starting with a whole brick, we laid the foundation stone. Taking another brick we cut that into two equal pieces and laid that above. The third layer was divided into three bricks, the fourth into four bricks and so we went on to build strong walls. Ellen let us find our own ways to make the equal sized bricks.

Getting the bricks to be all equal sizes was a challenge. Children discovered  amazing strategies to get them to work. They realised wholes could be folded into halves and once they knew how to get thirds they could get sixths by folding thirds into halves. They all agreed the hardest was the fifths and then they thought ninths was almost impossible. But with persistence and strategic thinking, they completed their walls.

So what do we know now?

  • that fractions are equal pieces
  • a whole can be divided into many smaller equal pieces – these are called fractions.
  • the more you divide the smaller the size of the fraction
  • fractions have mathematical names -top is the numerator how many fractions and lower is the denominator how many equal pieces

You think you know it? Can you show it?

Mr Narcys wanted to see us put that new learning into practice. Choosing a random fraction he wanted us to show the fraction in different ways as a circle, in a square, as a collection, on a strip of paper and on a number line. We had these fractions  1/2, 1/3, 1/4 or 1/5 to pick from. Some children sighed with relief when they got 1/2 and 1/4. Others groaned when they got 1/3, 1/5. Why do you think that?

The children found themselves using a lot of mathematical problem solving strategies particularly organising equal fifths. However they were collectively challenged by showing fractions on a number line.

We know where we need to put some investigation into for next term…. Numberlines

Stay tuned for more fraction investigations.

What did you enjoy about working with fractions?

What did you find tricky to do?

How would you explain fractions to a year two student?

What else do want us to investigate about fractions next term?

September 28

Lost in Space


Grange has another fundraising activity that was fun to do. Kids Arts Works turns children’s art into various objects such as calendars, diaries, cards, mouse mats or sketch pads.


We supply the art, they make the products and for every one sold our school gets a percentage. As we have been learning about objects in space for science, we thought we would use that topic for our theme. Check out their adventurous astronauts…. who got…..

We thought families would like to see before you buy.

I thought they did a great job. What do you think?

September 25

Obstacle-A-Thon 2016


This busy tumbler animation shows just how busy our legs had to be today

Friday 23rd of September our school held a fund raising activity where we were challenged to work through various physical activities. There were 10 to get through. Thanks to Jack’s Mum Liz for helping out (imagine coming to school on your birthday!)

Our activities were….

  1. Inflatable Obstacle course
  2. Basketball rings
  3. Mini trampoline
  4. Hurdle run soccer weave
  5. Tennis lacrosse
  6. Lava island
  7. Cup stacking
  8. Swordfish
  9. Water bucket relay
  10. Hoops

Lucky for us the sun decided to shine merrily although it made us little warm as a result our strenuous efforts. After lunch we reflected on our session.

I liked the hula hoops because it was fun.   Mica


I really liked all of the activities, but some were a bit boring because I had to wait around. My Favourite one was the inflatable obstacle course.   Lakeisha

Mini Trampoline aim to bounce and the somersault

The first activity was the mini trampoline. Look at them fly.

I really enjoyed the bouncy castle and the soccer thing.   Ryan


I enjoyed it all but it were hard.   Tyla


I loved all of the obstacles because all of them had running and I love running. Running is awesome.   Zahra

Soccer Weave and Tennis Lacrosse

Co-ordination is trickier than it looks

I really liked the inflatable obstacle course because you could go through the hole.   Kiara


I enjoyed the inflatable one but it was sad we only got one turn.   Jack


I liked the best mini trampoline because then I got to practice my tricks. It was my favourite because then we got to do freestyle.   Jorja


Game to tag with sword under knees freeze in place, two people are freeers to release tagged

Swordfish was a challenge, it was hard not to have a duel.

I liked the noodle chasey because I like chasey and there was a reviver. I really wanted to do the running races so badly!   Riley


Pria said… It was really fun especially the inflatable course!


I think the obstaclathon was really good because all the activities were really fun, by going to all the fun activities.   Max


I thought that the obstaclathon was really great and that all the activities were great. I thought it was great because it is very active and fun.   Ruby

Cup Stacking

To stack 9 cups in three pyramids then unstack in three columns as fast as possible.

Unstacking was not as easy as stacking. The wind was a bit cheeky sometimes!

Hamish said….. I enjoyed everything because it was fun.


I liked the jumping castle it was fun because the slide was big and it was all squishy, so I fell over.   Ella


It was good because we had lots of different activities to do. But it was also warm.   Bella V


I liked the jumpy castle because you had to race someone and I didn’t know that I won the race.   Harry

Water Relay

We worked out to run slower with a full cup.

I loved it because we got to run and some got to compete in.   Nelson


I really enjoyed everything about the obstacleathon that I can not choose what one was the best.   Bella Z


I really enjoyed all the activities but sadly we didn’t do basketball rings because I’m really good at basketball.   James


Holding hands with team members and pass a hoop through without breaking hands.

We tried hopes in a small team, then two teams, then as a whole class.

I really enjoyed the bouncy castle but I was really sad when we were only allowed one round.   Finlay


Maggie said.   I liked everything because it was lots of fun. I liked it more than sports day.

Bouncy Obstacle Course

In twos challenge to be first through the course.

What fun, but it was the end we ran out of time and shared our session with Ms Georgie’s class, so sadly we had one shot, and we missed basketball shoot entirely.

I thought they were all the best and I can not decide which one was best of all. Ty


Wil thinks all of the activities were fun but he really liked the noodles and jumpy castle because I was versing my best friend and the other one I liked because it was running.


Thanks to Laura who took some photos and managed the class while I was at a 3/4teachers meeting for part of the event.

What did you think of the day?

What would you do differently?

If you could organise an “-a-thon” what theme would you like to see? What would your activities be?


September 13

Who were these strange people in our class while I was away?

Hey, did you all have to come to school at night?

You were not working that slow were you!

You are all in you’re pyjamas. Did you all sleep in extra long?

What’s the story?


Of course, it was the onesy fund raiser, silly me, I forgot. I think you all look like you need a hot cup of cocoa. Don’t you look cute. Looks like our class donated well, thanks team.

Wait a minute you were back out of dress code again. I think this is becoming a habit, was it dress up term?

Book Week 2016



Which characters can you recognise?

How wonderful you all look in your Book Week Parade Costumes. I thought you all did well designing your characters. I was sorry to miss it, so I am glad Ms Belle took these pictures. Almost didn’t recognise some of you.

What fun you must have had.

What did you get up to?

How did you feel as your new character?

What do you like about dressing up?

Which character did you choose and why?

Who will you plan to come as next year?

August 28


Hi everyone,

I have missed being in touch with you and thought I’d let you know what I was up to these past few weeks. As you know I went to a couple of islands in Vanuatu with my husband Peter. Here is a map showing you exactly how far I travelled. It took almost four hours to fly there from Sydney. Have you ever been on a plane? Where did you go?Vanuatu Islands map


As you can see Vanuatu is about the same latitude as Cairns, so if you have ever been there the climate is very similar. This part of the world has a tropical climate so there are lots of rainforests and the terrain is mountainous. I stayed on the largest island Espiritu Santo for ten days. The local people refer to it as Santo. Then we caught a plane to go South to a smaller island Tanna for the remainder of our holiday.


vanuatu map_lrg

In Santo Peter and I stayed in a resort by the ocean in a small Bungalow and I was able to look out of the rain forests to watch the ocean.

Of course the first thing we did was to snorkel the warm waters, where we found some interesting creatures. Have you ever been snorkelling?

There are some amazing rivers that are fed by underground springs. We were able to travel by traditional canoe down one. Peter even got to paddle, then we were able to swim in a blue water hole. An absolutely incredible experience. How do you feel about sitting on little boats or canoes? Do you think you could paddle one?

Of course there was more snorkelling and more friends to meet in the waters.

On Santo there are villagers that want to share how their traditional way of life works so they invite visitors in to show us their ways. They build all their huts and make various tools from their favourite tree .. the coconut tree. For them it a sacred tree because it provide so much. They get to drink the water/milk, coconut flesh to eat, cophra for cooking, husk and fibre for weaving, wood for building, the shells can be used for utensils or decorations. It is truly a useful tree nothing is wasted.

The villagers met us with a welcome dance and then showed us to separate huts, one for how the women and girls were taught and the other how the men and boys learnt what to do. Only men are allowed to make fire, they showed us their way in the women’s hut. They also make a special drink called Kava which was interesting to taste, it made my tongue and lips go numb!  But on other islands in Vanuatu, Kava should only be drunk by men.

I loved the dances by the people of the village. At one time all the women went into water and made music with their hands by slapping the water. it really sounded as if they had drums, amazing. While they are not an aggressive tribe, they pretended to threaten us in their dance routine… mm was I scared?

Yes we did more snorkelling, but we also went to visit the higher villages and do a trek to The Millennium Caves, so called because they were opened to public visitors in 2000. For this trip we began our walk at a small village where we were introduced to a tribal elder who would escort us to the cave. As we walked through his village we saw a small school, the teacher kindly allowed us to photo them learning their A,B, C’s. I noticed how carefully they were repeating their teacher. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Remember our research on Papua New Guinea? This country is very similar in lots of ways. How does this school compare to ours?

As we trekked through this village we came upon another close by where we met another guide. So Peter and I had a guide each to check we would safely get through this adventure. One obstacle to get over was a bamboo bridge. That was fun. Then it was through the jungle. we were given information about the different plants and their uses and warned not to touch certain ones!

Our trek took us deep into the jungle and through lots of hilly and steep terrain. Thankfully the villagers had built ladders to climb down or had ropes to hang on to. The sun was shining that day and it became quite hot. However this is an area with high rainfall so this track can get very muddy indeed. Before we could enter the cave, our guides painted our faces with symbols to represent the water, rocks and animals of the cave system.


What an honour to be allowed to go in, I was getting excited because I knew there would be bats in there! Once we got way down to the cave’s entrance we could sense a new adventure just beginning. This cave is 300 m long 30 m wide and 50 m high. We had to walk through water and the base is mainly rocks and pebbles.. very slippery! Lucky we had torches and our life jackets! How do you feel about going into strange wet, dark places filled with flying things?

Inside the cave it was quite cool, I could hear a lot of flapping sounds, I think we startled the small fruit bats and swallows that call the cave their home. Every now and then small bits would fall on me…bat poo! It was quite strange walking through the chilly water in the dark and trying to keep from slipping. After walking for some fifteen minutes, weaving through the twists and turns of the cave, we came out to a small river that ended with huge boulders. We would need to climb up over these.

It took about half an hour to get over the large boulders and then we had the best experience, floating down the river through the canyon. That part was awesome.

There we in fact several rivers to float and swim through as the water level was low. There are times of course when visitors would not be allowed to do this when the river levels are very high. we were fortunate of the drier season. On the way back to Tony’s village he showed us the village garden. They grow all their needs and then bring excess to market. We had a fabulous time and were thankful of our guides help for the dangerous bits. We completed the trek in about four and a half hours, apparently we did well because we heard the next group took twice as long,but then it was a group of twenty and it had rained the day before so everything was very muddy, but we did feel proud! Do you grow any vegetables or fruit to eat? What grows in your garden? Have you gone trekking? Where did you go?

On our last day in Santo of course we did more snorkelling. This time we went to Million Dollar Point. During the second world war Vanuatu was used by America as strategic command base. When America no longer needed to be there, they wanted to sell their equipment to the French government, who, knowing America couldn’t take all that equipment back, said they wouldn’t buy it. They thought that the Americans would leave it behind. But the American army had other ideas, they built a jetty and sent all their excess tanks, tractors machines etc into the ocean, if they couldn’t take it no one would have it. That is why the area is known as Million Dollar Point as there was quite a lot of money tied up in that equipment.

We said good bye to Santo, we really enjoyed the country and loved the friendly and helpful people. We learnt a lot about their way of life and had a lot of fun in exploring their place. But the real adventure was yet to come. We boarded a little seven seater plane and headed for Tanna. This island is much smaller that Santo and in many ways a lot more isolated. There are no sealed roads on this island so getting around was very bumpy and took a long time. We stayed with a lovely couple called Tom and Margret who have some small bungalows they allow people to rent.

Our home on Tanna

Our home on Tanna

Last year Vanuatu was hit by a powerful cyclone, Tom said he lost all the roofs and a lot of other things, I was impressed by the work he had done to repair everything.

Naturally we went into the pristine waters to snorkel and met some very odd creatures indeed.

On this island I visited another village that prefers to keep to their traditional ways. Anni the wife of the village chief took us on a tour of her village and showed us the traditional way of making Laplap, a delicious dish made by grating banana, mixing with coconut meat and juice and placed in leaves and cooked over hot stones. She also told me how they read the jungle and use the seasons to know when to plant or collect certain foods. Like all villages they welcomed us with dance and song. The people in this village wear traditional dress so with respect for them I will just show you these images.

Near by is what Tanna believes is the world’s largest Banyan Tree. I read that it was as large a football field and I was very skeptical ( that means I didn’t quite believe it!). But I have to tell you it is true! It took me fifteen minutes to walk around.

That dark green patch is the tree!

That dark green patch is the tree!

Now it is hard to get a scale in this picture but if I stand next to one of the little sections you can see that the first branches are just starting to show.

Tiny section of the tree

Tiny section of the tree

But of course there was only one thing I really wanted to see on Tanna and that was Mount Yasur. The old man of the island the world’s most accessible active volcano. I was hopeful that we would have a clear night in that it had rained quite heavily the night before. Yay, no rain! Now volcanoes have certain levels we needed to be aware of

  • 0 – Low activity not much to see
  • 1 – Normal Activity no real danger
  • 2 – Moderate to high with intense activity visitors permitted but danger exists
  • 3 – Severe activity dangerous – no visitors
  • 4 – Major eruption extreme likely hood of danger to population

Of course I didn’t want us to be put in danger but level two would be nice!


The volcanic dust plains

The volcanic dust plains look closely and you might see some extreme skiing going on.

Being a volcanic region there is a lot of geothermal activity. Here a local woman is showing me how she uses the hot springs to wash her clothes and also to cook her food. she gives us some cooked banana to try.


Julia shows me the pool she is cooking her food.

Before we are allowed to enter the cars to ride up the steep road to visit Mt. Yasur, we need the permission of the tribal chief, thank fully he said yes!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We depart around five o’clock that way we will be on the mountain as the sun goes down and the view is said to be spectacular. We found out it is level 2 with high activity yay!

4wds took us most of the way and we walked the last hundred or so metres. It was of course cold and very windy but how AWESOME IS THIS! to be on top of an exploding mountain a real live volcano, whoo hoo! Watch as the spectacular display develops as the darkness descends.

We watched this fantastic experience at a safe level about 600 m from the crater for about an hour and a half. Nothing will make me forget the whoosh and sound as the crater seemed to breathe and then belched rock, gas and heat continuously. It was truly mesmerising. But sadly all too soon it was time to descend the mountain. Ah, but I have movies! So I can relive Mt Yasur over and over again! Have you seen the Earth in its raw power? What did you see, where was it?


These were just some of the highlights of our time on Vanuatu, there were a few other adventures and events that took my breath away but the sun has set on this holiday. We are now planning another.

I shall share more in class. While it is fun to travel it’s good to be home.