Therfield First School

“Bringing Learning to Life”

Autumn 2 - Toys

The Big Bang!

There was much excitement on the morning of our ‘Big Bang’, when the children were invited to bring their favourite toy to school! In groups, we played with and explored each toy, discussing their names, what we liked most about them, where they had come from and the materials they were made from before presenting this information to the class. Then, during the afternoon the children took part in an exciting, ‘hands on’ toy workshop run by Caz from the Hitchin Museum. They explored a variety of different types of toys from the past and learned about the time period they were from, as well as the forces and mechanisms that made them work. It was a real pleasure to observe how well the children shared the toys and worked and played together. Finally, we all sat down to reflect on the day and enjoyed a little toy tea party with our friends! We will continue to build on the things we have learned during our History and DT lessons this half term.


We began our Topic Toys Past and Present by looking at our own toys and sharing them. We moved on to learn about our Grandparents toys. The children thoroughly enjoyed asking their family members about their favourite toys as children. We shared them with each other, finding out about china dolls, Cindy dolls, wooden trains and clacker balls.   

Throughout our History unit, we learnt about toys today, our grandparents toys, toys in the Early 20th Century, and Victorian toys. We looked at how toys have changed over time, looking at the dresses dolls wear now compared to in the past and how Crayola Crayons have changed a little bit but not as much as other toys. The children made links to materials, thinking about how the availability to materials, tools and technology also influenced toys.


The children began English this half term with a cross-curricular focus, Information Writing. They used their Big Bang and History workshop to write short bursts about their own toys and information they learnt. The children focused on grammar objectives.

The children continued with non-fiction writing in the form of instructions.  They made their own sandwich and used imperative verbs to write the corresponding instructions. The children wrote lists when writing the ingredients, year 2 focusing on using commas to separate items.  

As an end of term assessment piece, the children used a checklist of the skills they had learnt, to independently write instructions. 



In maths the children completed an Addition and Subtraction unit. Year 1 began with part-whole models and tens frames to make and describe addition. They then recalled number bond facts and fact families. The children used comparison symbols to compare. They moved on, to use pictorial representations to complete subtraction and used tens frames and part-whole models to partition. 

Year 2 began by recognising the pattern when adding single digits to 2-digit numbers. They used apparatus to find 10 more and 10 less. The children recorded fact families, using both addition and subtraction. They subtracted 1-digit numbers from 2-digit numbers by drawing a number lines and used their knowledge of number bonds to solve subtraction more efficiently. 


The children began by identifying and naming everyday materials. They carried out simple tests to see which materials were waterproof and would therefore make good umbrellas. They created their umbrellas using materials such as plastic, foam, paper and different fabrics, The children used syringes and pipettes to create raindrops.

Using the knowledge form their investigation, the children moved on to sort and classify materials. They thought about the physical properties and decided how to sort them.

Once the children had discovered which materials are waterproof, they learnt about Charles Macintosh and how he invented waterproof material. They went on to design their own waterproof coats, thinking about the materials they would use.

To finish our unit on materials, and with the build up to Christmas in full swing, the children created bridges for The Gingerbread man to safely cross the river.  The children thought about the suitability of the materials, making sure they were strong enough to hold the Gingerbread Man. We discussed how we could make our test fair, keeping the gingerbread man and the size of the river the same. During our investigation, we discovered that the different designs of the bridges did not create a fair test.