Year 5 Autumn Topic Celebration
This term’s history topic about the Romans has been very impressive, to say the least! Each week the children have developed their understanding of the growth of the Roman Empire and its impact on our history. This learning has not only developed our historical knowledge but has fed into other subject areas including, English, Geography, DT and Art. For our celebration this term, we hope you enjoy finding out about what we have learnt over the last 4 months and the many fun activities we have done.
Our learning about the Romans was kick started by taking a step slightly further back into the time of the Iron Age, where Year 5 learnt about the ‘original Britons’, otherwise known as the Celts, who lived here before Roman invasion.
For many years the Celts lived peacefully, using their knowledge of the land to successfully farm, make their own clothes, build roundhouses and develop their skills as fearful warriors. It took many years and multiple attempts for the Romans to successfully invade Britain. After two failed attempts by Emperor Caesar in 55 and 54 BC as well as a bizarre attempt by Emperor Caligula in AD40, it was Emperor Claudius who was successful, almost 100 years later, in AD43.
When the Romans invaded, the Celtic tribes had to decide whether or not to fight back. Some chose to obey Roman laws and pay taxes while others chose to fight. Enter Boudicca.
After years of heavy taxes and the Romans taking over her land, Queen Boudicca, of the Iceni tribe, raised a huge army and led the destruction of the Roman towns of Colchester and London while the Roman army was in Wales. As the Celts were on their way to St Albans, the Roman army had returned and both sides faced each other in a fierce battle. Even though the Romans were outnumbered by Boudicca’s 200 000 warriors, the Celts had lost.
Having learnt about this thrilling start to the Roman Empire in Britain, the children of Year 5 were very excited to work together in groups to create and perform their very own dramatic role-plays of Boudicca’s rebellion. Not only did the students have to develop their skills of collaboration and drama techniques, this also fed into our writing as we learnt about how to create powerful speeches and formed our own rallying Boudicca speeches!
Roman Army Roles
After learning about how the Roman Empire had spread to Britain, the children moved on to find out more about the very complex and impressive structure of the Roman Army. We found out about the different types of army roles, including the Centurion, Legionary, Auxiliary, Calvary and Standard Bearers.
After finding out about how well trained and capable a Roman solider was, the children were tasked with creating their very own informative posters about one specific role within the army. Not only did these posters have to present information clearly, they also had to be eye-catching and interactive in some sort of way.
During the first half term, children researched, designed and created a Roman shield. At the beginning of the topic, the children learnt about the different types of Roman shields. They discovered that there was a different shape for different roles in the Roman Army. For example, the soldiers on foot would have a long rectangular shape that would protect them from head to toe.
The children also learnt about how the shields were made and what materials were used to make them. After understanding the importance of using the right materials, the children had a go at putting together a small version of a shield using different ways to attach the materials, such as; glue, safety pins, sewing and double-sided tape. After this lesson the children were able to conclude that the double-sided tape was the most effect way to attach parts of the shield together as it wasn’t visible and very strong. But the children also liked the safety pins, as they look like the bolts that would have been on a real Roman shield.
Children spent the next two weeks designing 3 Roman shields. After choosing their favourite design, they then annotated it. The annotations highlight what colours would be used and how certain parts of the shield would be fixed together.
The children then made their shields using strong cardboard. Firstly, they cut out the shape of their shield and a small whole in the middle, big enough to fit a fist. Next, the children used Modroc to cover the whole and to resemble the metal casing on the front of a Roman shield. Once the Modroc had dried, the children were able to saw and attach wooden sticks on the back, across the whole, to create a handle. Finally, the children painted their designs on to the front of the shields.
The children were able to practice Roman Army formations with their shields. A particular favourite was the ‘tusedo’ which translates as turtle. This is where the children crouch down together, children at the front had the shields out in front of them, whereas the children behind them had their shields above them to create a turtle shell.
By the second half of term, the students were very excited to move onto our Art topic where they had to create their own Roman mosaics. First, we learnt about the Roman art form of mosaics, which was brought to Britain after invasion. We learnt more about what they consisted of, what they depicted and the delicate step-by-step process of their creation.
Afterwards, we had to create our very own designs on MDF boards. This was not an easy task. Lots of children had to think and plan creatively about how they were going to put their piece of work together. It involved a lot of trial and error as it was very challenging to try and create certain images using only square shaped tiles (or ‘tesserae’). After planning, gluing, grouting and polishing their masterpieces, each child’s mosaic was nothing short of amazing and something we are sure each child is incredibly proud of.
“I’ve enjoyed being creative and that we were allowed to pick our own designs.” – Zoe
“I enjoyed creating mosaics because we all made our own designs and it made all of our mosaics unique.” – Kaia
“I enjoyed placing the tiles down and creating my design because I could be creative and use my imagination.” – Henry
What did Rome do for us? What did the Romans leave behind?
Autumn term was rounded off with the children being tasked to investigate what it was that really made the Romans so great and how they influenced our lives today. The children worked together in groups as they hopped online to find out about some of the things that the Romans created or brought to Britain, which they left behind and we still use today!
The children found out that so many of the things we use today were, in fact, greatly impacted by the Romans. This includes our alphabet and calendars, roads, concrete, drainage, sewers, underfloor heating, arches and aqueducts, religion, food and drink as well as games and toys!
Each group created their very own poster about what the Romans left behind and how it benefitted Britain in some sort of way. We were very pleased with the final products and it is clear that the Romans were a very impressive bunch!