Living, Dead, Never Lived…

All animals and plants are living organisms. 

Even though all plants look different and all animals look different, they all have certain things in common.

All plants and animals….


Clearly, seeds grow into plants which go on getting bigger and animals’ babies grow up.

All plants and animals need energy to go about their daily business. Animals eat plants or other animals to nourish themselves. Plants make their own food from sunlight.. neat trick!

Obviously, animals move almost every part of their bodies, but even plants do move. Flowers and leaves move almost imperceptibly to face the light. Some plants even more fast enough to catch insects.

To keep their species in existence, plants and animals make other plants and animals: animals have babies or lay eggs, plants produce seeds.

Living things are made up of cells
Living organisms like plants or animals are each made up of literally billions of really tiny things called cells. They are so small that you need a microscope to see them. Animal cells and plant cells are slightly different to look at, but they are all cells

Dead things are also made of cells
When animals or plants die we sometimes use them to make useful objects. Wood in tables and chairs, leather in shoes and belts, cotton in shirts and handkerchiefs and wool in socks and jumpers were once all alive and so they are also made of cells.

Never lived
Things that have never been alive are not made of cells. Materials such as plastic, glass, metal and stone have never been alive. They are made from particles.


Shape : Area and Perimeter

Shape : Area Builder by PhET, Colorado University

This simulation allows pupils to explore the concepts of area and perimeter. There are two distinct modes to this game.

The first is great for exploring and teaching and allows squares to be dragged onto a grid and gives numerical values to both area and perimeter.

The second mode provides students with a set of challenges or puzzles to solve by setting targets for shapes with specific area and perimeter. It allows instant checking and feedback.

There are six levels of difficulty and most pupils will gain something about area and perimeter by using this simulation.

The higher levels encourage arriving at an area or perimeter by using calculations – an on screen calculator is provided.

This shape, area and perimeter project is created using HTML5 and as such will play on desktops and tablets equally well, including iPads.

Area Builder – PhET: Colorado University

Nouns : Abstract Nouns


Nouns : Abstract Nouns

An abstract noun is a word which names something that cannot be experienced by the five senses.  You cannot see, hear, touch, smell, or taste.

Abstract nouns can be hard to spot. Take for example ‘laughter’. There is a point of view that says it is an abstract noun, a concept; others maintain that because you can hear it, it can not be an abstract noun…

Other similar examples exist, but it is not worth the worry of trying to figure it out. The best thing you can probably do is to arm your pupils with a list of confirmed abstract nouns and teach them the principle behind them being such.

Common Abstract Nouns

Showing Human Qualities or Characteristics

beauty, bravery, brilliance, brutality. calm, charity, coldness, compassion, confidence, contentment, courage, curiosity, dedication, determination, ego, elegance, enthusiasm, envy, evil, fear, generosity, goodness, graciousness, hatred, honesty, honour, hope, humility, humour insanity, integrity, intelligence, jealousy, kindness, loyalty, maturity, patience, perseverance, sanity, self-control,  sensitivity, sophistication, stupidity, sympathy, talent, tolerance, trust, weakness, wisdom, wit

Showing Emotions/Feeling

adoration, amazement, anger, anxiety apprehension, clarity, delight, despair, disappointment, disbelief, excitement, fascination, friendship, grief, happiness, hate, helpfulness, helplessness, infatuation, joy, love, misery, pain, pleasure, power, pride, relaxation, relief, romance, sadness, satisfaction, silliness, sorrow, strength, surprise, tiredness, uncertainty, wariness, weariness, worry

More Examples of Abstract Nouns

ability, adventure, artistry, awe, belief , chaos, comfort, communication, consideration, crime, culture, customer service, death, deceit, defeat, democracy, dexterity, dictatorship, disquiet, disturbance, dream, energy, enhancement, failure, faith, faithfulness, faithlessness, favouritism, forgiveness, fragility, frailty, freedom, grace, hearsay, homelessness, hurt, idea, idiosyncrasy, imagination, impression, improvement, inflation, information, justice, knowledge, law, liberty, life, loss, luck, luxury, memory, mercy, motivation, movement, need, omen, opinion, opportunism, opportunity, parenthood, patriotism, peace, peculiarity, poverty, principle, reality, redemption, refreshment, riches, rumour, service, shock, skill, slavery, sleep, speculation, speed, strictness, submission, success, thought, thrill, truth, unemployment, unreality, victory, wealth.

There is this useful  word list of abstract nouns with definitions which, in addition to simply defining their meaning, demonstrates how abstract nouns are used in context, .

Time : Analog Clock Puzzle

Time : Puzzle Pic Clocks by

This puzzle presents the user with 12 analog clocks showing different times.

A digital time is given under the array of clocks and the object of the game is to drag a piece of a jigsaw to the matching analog clock in the puzzle.

The ‘fast forward’ arrows allow the user to start a new game at the current level. The bars in the bottom left hand corner of the puzzle allow the user to select a level of difficulty.

This would work equally well as an interactive whiteboard activity or on individual tablets or desktop computers.

The game works well even on my elderly iPad…

 Puzzle Pic Clocks by`


Nouns : Compound Nouns

Nouns : Compound Nouns

A compound noun is a noun that is made up of at least two words: firewood, pet shop, jack-in-the-box, blackboard,post office, six-pack

There are three forms for compound nouns:

  • With Spaces: ice cream, water tank, printer cartridge
  • Without Spaces: footprint, stopwatch, suitcase
  • With Hyphens: merry-go-round, passer-by, daughter-in-law

There are no hard and fast rules on which form to use. Just be aware that many of the words exist in more than one form.

You’ll just have to look them up if there is any doubt, Google is as good as anywhere…

Composition of Compound Nouns

Though there is no need for pupils of primary school age to be aware of any of what follows, I have included it for interest’s sake…

Most compound nouns are made up of two nouns or an adjective and a noun. For example:

  • Noun + Noun: bath tub, witchcraft, seaman, wall-paper
  • Adjective + Noun: hardware, highway, full moon, whiteboard
Compound elements Examples
noun + noun bedroom
water tank
printer cartridge
noun + verb rainfall
noun + adverb hanger-on
verb + noun washing machine
driving licence
swimming pool
verb + adverb lookout
adverb + noun onlooker
adjective + verb dry-cleaning
public speaking
adjective + noun greenhouse
adverb + verb output

Nouns : Common Nouns & Proper Nouns

Nouns : Common Nouns & Proper Nouns

A noun is a kind of word that gives a name to  a person, a place, an object, an animal, a substance, a quantity, a period of time, a distance; the list goes on.

Everything around us is represented by a word that gives it its name and that word is called a noun.

The first major distinction to draw is between common nouns and supermarket.

Common Nouns

The common noun, is by far the largest group of nouns. The job of the common noun is to give a name to the everyday things all around us. Take a look around your surroundings and make a list of objects which you can see, the list will most likely be made up entirely of common nouns : chair, table, floor, pen, ceiling, ruler, paper, floor, tree, grass – the list is virtually endless…

Common nouns do NOT get capital letters.

P:roper Nouns

A proper noun is the name given to a specific person, place, object, animal, etc : Susan, London, Blackpool Tower, Rex).

Proper nouns ALWAYS get capital letters.

 Common Noun Proper  Noun
car Jaguar, Land Rover, Fiesta
forest Forest of Dean
cat, dog, budgie Tiddles, Fido, Joey
sea, ocean North Sea, Atlantic Ocean
pub The Blacksmith’s Arms
monarch Queen Elizabeth II
supermarket Tesco, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s
tea PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea
cola Pepsie, Coke

Common nouns may be further subdivided into a number of categories; all common nouns will fall into at least one of these categories, For the purposes of the primary school classroom (in addition to common nouns and proper nouns) if a student can identify compound, collective and abstract nouns this is probably sufficient. The others have been included for the sake of completeness and interest:

  • compound nouns
  • collective nouns
  • abstract nouns
  • concrete nouns
  • countable nouns
  • non-countable nouns
  • gender specific nouns
  • verbal nouns
  • gerunds