Essential Skills Home Learning Challenges

Have fun earning Children’s University credits and developing the skills you need to succeed in education, work and life.

January is a great time for a Spring clean – having a good sort out helps you keep a clean and tidy space as well as it being a good activity to clear your mind too! Perfect for a brand new year! But before we all go sorting through and throwing away, we’d like you to think about how we can reuse or recycle things to help others as well as ways which we can help the planet.

You might have received some Christmas cards in December, so before you simply throw them all away, can you reuse them? Often, there are lovely pictures on the front, or beautiful lettering – it seems a shame to throw them away. Or are there items of your clothing that don’t fit any more, but they’re still in good condition? How might you be able to make sure these items help other people? Here’s a challenge to get you thinking ‘green’ about reusing or recycling items.

Step 1: Ask an adult to save any Christmas cards that were sent to you by other people – after all, you’ll not need them again! Can you cut out the pictures from the front and turn them into gift tags to use next year? Where will you put them for safe keeping? Could you use the pictures and stick them onto new paper or card and turn them into ‘thank you’ notes? You could send them to friends and family, thanking them for presents they might have sent to you for Christmas. By doing this, you’ll help the environment by using things more than once.

Step 2: Ask an adult to help you look through clothing to see if there are any items which you no longer fit into, but ones which are still in good condition. If you do have any, why not bag them all up and give them to a charity? They’ll make sure they are given to families or children who need them. Ask an adult to look on social media pages or websites to find details of local charities or clothing banks (they work like food banks!) If they’re open, charity shops are a great way to donate the things you don’t want or need any more. They can sell the clothes and the money they make from the sale will be sent to help people do all kinds of great things. It might be research into illnesses or diseases, helping children in other countries have clean water to drink, maybe even to help look after animals such as cats and dogs until they are adopted. Isn’t it great to know that you’re able to help in this way?

Step 3: Ask an adult to help you think about whether there other things that you could reuse or recycle? Why not see if any of your friends or other family members can get involved too? Make sure you explain why it’s important to reuse and recycle!

Which skills will I be developing?

The New Year is a great time to set targets and goals for yourself. You might have made a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ already but how about making a ‘Bucket List’? This is a list of all the things you want to have a go at, or ‘tick off’, as you work through your list. It might be a list of new places to visit, or a list of new foods to try, or even a list of games to play or films to watch. The more varied the better! So, get together with your family and create your ‘Bucket List’ for 2021!

Step 1: Get together with your family and talk about what you’d like to add to your Bucket List. Make a note of all the things you’ll need to add to the list.

Step 2: Think of things you could tick off individually (perhaps a new skill you’d like to learn). Think of things you could add to the list that you could do together as a family (perhaps a walk in a new area).

Step 3: Make sure you’ve got things on your list that happen outdoors as well as indoors! Will your ‘Bucket List’ be for the whole of 2021, or maybe the first six months?

Step 4: Create your list! Have a think about how you might do this – will it be a simple list, or will it be some sticky notes that you move from a ‘to do’ side to a ‘ticked off’ side? Will you cut and stick photos or pictures rather than writing the list? Be as creative as you like – we can’t wait to see your ideas!

Step 5: How will you ‘tick off’ your Bucket List? How will you remember what you’ve achieved? Perhaps you could create a simple diary that everyone can add notes to, about when you ticked off different things from your list? Maybe you will take photos? You’ll be able to capture all your special memories from 2021, and perhaps even remember them all again at the end of the year.

Here’s a challenge to get you really listening to stories happening in the world around you. Every day, hundreds of news stories from around the world are broadcast into our homes on TV, on radio, on the internet, but also in newspapers too. So, we’d like you to become a news reporter for the day.

Step 1: Think about how you might like to report your news story – will it be like on the radio or TV or will it be written (like in a newspaper)? The different types of reporting require different skills, although this challenge is focusing on your speaking skills in particular.

Step 2: Ask an adult to help you watch or listen to the news – it could be by watching TV (Newsround is a great programme on CBBC for this!) or listening to news bulletins (articles) on the radio. How do the presenters introduce a story? What else do they include in the story? Maybe some quotes from members of the public or experts? Do they include pictures or diagrams? Does the presenter change the way they deliver good and bad news? What about their body language and voice? How do they keep it sounding interesting?

Step 3: Think about which news story you want to report on. Could find your own news story locally – ask your friends and family about the things that really matter to them in your area. You could also ask them if they’d be happy to be interviewed! Will it be one news item or will your day include reporting on a number of different stories throughout the day?

Step 4: Start planning your report by making some notes. Think about your news item and what is it that really matters to people. Is it a good or bad news story, and why? Will it be good news for some and bad news for others and how will you present this? It’s important to present a balanced argument (views from both sides), so how will you do this?

Step 5: Viewers really listen to a news story if there’s something about it that that affects them or someone they know, or someone they can relate to…how can you link the news story to an individual person or a few people? Perhaps you could interview someone as part of your news article? Remember to cover both sides of an argument. If they don’t want to be interviewed, could you ask them for a statement (a written version of what they think or would say) so that you could include this instead? Remember to ask their permission to include their interview or statement in your finished news report.

Step 6: Keep it interesting. You want to give people the facts and give them enough information so they want to watch (or read) the next bulletin to find out more!

Step 7: Get reporting. Ask an adult to help you film your news report – will you be ‘on location’ (out and about) or in a (pretend) studio reading the news? Keep your report clear and interesting! Remember your body language!

Experts say that there are three main ways that we learn:

  • Visual (by looking, having an example to copy, etc.)
  • Kinaesthetic (by having a go, getting hands-on, etc.)
  • Auditory (by listening to instructions

We normally use all three types of learning together, and our brains take a few clues from each of the three ways of learning. Some of us are better at learning using visual learning, while others might be better at using kinaesthetic or auditory learning, but we learn best when using a bit of all three. However, this activity will challenge you to learn to do something, ONLY by using your auditory (listening) learning style!

Step 1: Ask an adult to help you with this challenge. Take a square piece of white paper and a pair of scissors, and listen carefully to your adult’s instructions. They might need to help you using the scissors, but they can’t show you an example (they might want to make one beforehand!) or help you by pointing or touching your paper!

Step 2: Fold your square of paper in half to make a rectangle

Step 3: Fold your rectangle in half again to make a square

Step 4: Fold your square diagonally, to make a triangle

Step 5: Cut 3 triangles out of each side of the paper triangle (adults: change this if you like!)

Step 6: Unfold your paper carefully to reveal your paper snowflake! Is it the same as your adult’s? How good were their instructions? Were you able to listen carefully? How hard was it just using auditory (listening) learning skills? What would have made this easier? Why not try making another snowflake by cutting different shapes from the edges of the triangle?

Please ask your adult to email your class teacher with any photos of you completing the challenges.

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