Paper Aeroplane algorithms!

Year 1 have been making and testing algorithms to make paper aeroplanes. We started with a fairly simple dart design. If you would like to have a go at some more complex aeroplanes there are some great templates on I recommend the helicopter and the flying ring – both very different to paper aeroplanes you might be familiar with, but both very effective.


How do search engines work?

Over the last few weeks, years 5 and 6 have been learning about how search engines work. Below is a quick summary of what we have covered, together with some useful links to find out more information.

How do search engines rank search results?

We took part in an unplugged activity where the children created their own plan for a website linked to their particular topic area. We then applied the criteria a search engine would use to decide which website would appear at the top of a search. We discovered that search engines look for the following, in order of importance:

1. The number of of other websites which link to yours
2. The presence of the search term in the site’s URL
3. The presence of the search term in the site’s title
4. The presence of the search term in the site’s sub headings
5. The presence of the search term in the information on the site

How do search engines find things?

We then looked at how search engines actually find their results. To do this we indexed a small part of the internet to replicate what search engine web crawlers do throughout the internet all the time.

Here’s some useful links on this:

BBC Bitesize
How stuff works
Kids discover

What makes a good search?

Finally we looked at what makes a good search by completing a crossword which required the answers to be researched – can you remember the three rules we agreed?

Your challenge…

This week, I would like you to create a presentation in Explain Everything showing me what you have learned during the last few weeks. You can work in pairs and present it however you like. Remember, you can include pictures, words, videos and embedded web pages – be as creative as you can!

Mild: Use words and pictures to describe how a search engine works

Medium: Also include audio or video to enhance your explanations

Hot: Include relevant embedded web pages to add extra information


Snapchat update

There has been a lot of coverage in the media over the last few days of the recent update to Snapchat. A new feature called ‘Snap Map’ has been introduced which allows people to locate other users based on their location. It is accurate enough to isolate users to a particular household. This feature poses a significant risk to a child’s safety online and in the real world.

You can find out more on this BBC News article.

If your child or any of their siblings are using Snapchat we recommend that you turn off this feature as a matter of urgency.

How to turn off Snap Map location sharing

  • When in photo-taking mode, pinch the screen to open Snap Map
  • Touch the settings cog in the top right corner of the screen
  • Tap “Ghost Mode” to switch off location sharing
  • Photos and videos posted to Snapchat’s public ‘Our Story’ will still be discoverable on the map

(sourced from the BBC article above)


Recording data in Excel

Tomorrow, year 4 will be in the ICT suite recording data from our traffic survey last week in Excel.

Here’s a quick beginners guide:

1. Open Excel – click on the green X at the bottom of the screen:


2. Open a new blank workbook. You are now in a blank sheet – use the arrow keys or mouse to move to different boxes, or ‘cells’ as they are known as in Excel.

3. Choose appropriate headings and labels for the data you collected – e.g.






4. Enter your data.

5. Select your data by dragging and dropping and click on the Insert menu, then Chart – see what you can produce!


CAS Rochdale primary hub

As a recently appointed CAS Master Teacher, I am now looking to set up a CAS hub in Rochdale.

Computing at School’s mission is to provide leadership and strategic guidance to all those involved in Computing education in schools, with a significant but not exclusive focus on the Computer Science theme within the wider Computing curriculum.

Excellence in the teaching of Computing can only be made by teachers through the way they deliver the skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes associated with the curriculum. Through the participation of the wider community CAS seek to support and empower each other in an inclusive and self-sustaining body so that each child has the opportunity of an outstanding computer science education. CAS achieves this by supporting and promoting all those individuals, partner organisations, companies, and university departments who wish to run CAS regional hubs, put on CPD courses, generate teaching resources etc. that support the Computing curriculum.

I am now in the process of establishing a primary hub for CAS in Rochdale.

What is a CAS Hub?

A CAS Hub is a meeting of teachers and lecturers who wish to share their ideas for developing the teaching of computing in their schools, their classrooms and their community. It is a meeting of like-minded professionals with the general objective of supporting each other and the specific aim of providing (at least) one idea that can be taken and tried in the classroom.

They seek to provide the opportunity:

– for teachers to meet in a relaxed and informal atmosphere with refreshments
– to share ideas and resources
– to receive informal training
– to gain mutual support from discussing teaching methods with colleagues.

Furthermore, CAS derives much benefit from drawing in members from Universities and –
industry as well as schools. The CAS Hub provides a unique opportunity to meet colleagues from local higher education institutions and local employers.

The success of a CAS Hub relies on local teachers committing to the Hub and the vision and direction provided by the Hub leader(s). One meeting per term is as much as most teachers can manage. This is supported by online discussions and follow-up via the CAS website where each Hub has their own dedicated space. Most CAS Hub meetings are a face-to-face event, but each local community is different. The style and format of the meeting is up to the discretion of the Hub Leader and online Hub meetings do take place especially for our international CAS Hubs. However, the face-to-face meeting remains one of the most effective forms of communication; they can create a great deal of energy and motivation amongst those who attend.

If you would like to become part the hub and drive forward the teaching of computing in Rochdale please let me know – I can be contacted through the main office at Lowerplace (01706 648174) or on Twitter – @hengenall


Lowerplace traffic survey

The video below shows 20 minutes of traffic passing the school along Kingsway. What could we find out from this video?

Now think about these questions:

1. How can you record the data?
2. Is you method accurate and effective? How could you improve it?
3. How can you present your results?


Supporting Education in Africa

This afternoon we were delighted to welcome Dave Ames from Computing At School (CAS) to Lowerplace. I have been working with CAS as a Master Teacher for the last few months and will be working on a number of projects with them in the coming weeks and months.

CAS are supporting Ripple Africa, a charity which amongst other things is aiming to develop education in Malawi. As part of this they have been looking for donations to provide resources to support the teaching and learning of computing. At Lowerplace we are very lucky to have such excellent ICT equipment and we thought it would be great to share some of the resources we no longer use with Ripple Africa.

During our Star of the Week assembly our Digital Leaders presented Dave with six laptops which he will be taking to Malawi on June 10th. Dave and the team will be keeping us updated on how the laptops are helping the children in Africa with their learning.

To find out more about Ripple Africa visit their website, or watch the video below: