Welcome to Alan Turing Class!
Born in 1912, Alan Turing had a fascinating life exploring mathematics and science. Even as a young boy, he was marked as a genius for his mathematical understanding. He would often be found conducting scientific experiments and he was interested in the way things worked. He had few friends and wasn’t well liked by his teachers but this didn’t stop him. He went on to study mathematics at Cambridge University and was eventually made a fellow there. Later, Alan theorised that it would be possible to create a machine that could solve mathematical problems. This was the early thinking that could lead to computers and computational thinking.
During World War 2, Alan was recruited by GCHQ and put to work at Bletchley Park to try and crack secret German codes made by the Enigma machine. Alongside a team of code breakers, Alan worked continuously to find ways to solve unbelievably complex codes. Eventually, he developed the ‘Bombe’ – a sophisticated machine that could run through huge amounts of possibilities to break the codes. This was a huge turning point in the war and saved many lives over the remaining war years.
Alan Turing, as well as being a famous code-breaker, was a gay man. This was at a time when it was illegal to be gay. Sadly, he was arrested and made to take medication. He passed away in 1954 at the age of 41. Years later, in 2013, Alan received a pardon from the Queen and he is now, amazingly, on the £50 note.
Alan Turing is an inspiring figure of British History. He was a thinker, a risk-taker, an inquirer and most certainly a very principled man. He stood up for who he was and helped to turn the tides in WW2.
The Learner Attributes in our classroom
At Peninsula East Primary Academy, we work hard to embed the ten learner attributes of the IB. We discuss these as a regular part of our learning and we refer to these when discussing pieces of work and behaviours shown through the school day. Each one is important and forms a rich tapestry of characteristics that make a well-rounded pupil. Learners are able to reflect on their work and have agency to choose which pieces they want to review. They can then complete reflection tickets allowing them to consider the attributes they used. We also allow them to fill in tickets for each other if they see someone demonstrating a learner attribute well. Furthermore, we award certificates weekly to children who show fantastic use of our learner attributes.
As part of the IB PYP, we have the six transdisciplinary themes that help us to develop a programme of inquiry into these important concepts. Each term, we focus on one of these themes, this term is ‘Who We Are’. The transdisciplinary theme of ‘Who we are’ is explained using the following descriptor: Inquiry into the nature of the self, beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human. To ensure coverage, each year group is allocated part of the descriptor to focus on in more detail. By doing so, we can confidently ensure that each child will have explored these ideas – through age-appropriate and relevant inquiries – by the time they leave us in Year 6.
Below are the six transdisciplinary themes that we will cover throughout the year:
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we express ourselves
- How the world works
- How we organize ourselves
- Sharing the planet
Reading and Homework
As part of our regular practice, we encourage a blended approach to learning and children regularly have access to technology to enhance their learning. We use Google Classroom to effectively provide materials that enrich learning opportunities. We also use the same approach to homework. Each term, your child will have access to a homework menu linked to our inquiry and transdisciplinary theme. They will be able to choose an activity each week from this and may publish their work within Google Classroom or bring in their examples. This gives the children agency over their learning and outcomes. We are also using the Google Classroom for reading and each child has a log they can complete with goals that they can reach. Each time they read and record this, they will see their progress move on. I cannot emphasise enough how important regular reading is and many studies demonstrate that reading for pleasure at a young age can raise levels of success in later life. As a school, we have provided each child with a Times Table Rockstars account. We encourage children to practise their times tables as much as possible as this impacts positively on a wide range of mathematical skills.
In Alan Turing class, we have been learning about equality and citizenship and how this has consequences for a population. So far, we have considered the LGBTQ+ community and how things have changed since Alan Turing was alive. We have inquired about the laws since the 1950s and have looked at changing attitudes globally. We have used art to explore the symbolism of the pride flag and we are working on a product that will encourage equality and inclusion. As a class, we want to know about ways we can be more inclusive and help have a positive impact on all members of society. As our inquiry progresses, we will think about race and important people who have helped to progress the civil rights movements both from history and today. This has been a very engaging inquiry so far and we are looking forward to where our questioning leads us.