Valley Road Community Primary School

Success for All

Corporation Road, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear SR2 8PL

0191 553 7750

0191 553 7748


Summer 2017


Year 5 ASCEND group visit Nissan

What a fun packed day of learning!

Firstly we learned some interesting facts about the Japanese culture and the origins of Nissan – we even learned how to say some Japanese words!

We made our own lego cars on an assembly line and looked at the ways the company logged data to make it more efficient. We raced our own (model!) cars in the workshop and saw some of the robots doing their jobs. We learned about the different areas and careers in Nissan and even had a go at using some of the power tools. We were amazed to see all of the science, maths, engineering and technology that are behind the making of each new Nissan car.

A special well done to Nahida who won first prize designing a new logo and to Ashton and Dominic who came runners up.

“I love how Nissan use science that we have been learning about”. Dominic Y5

Spring 2017

CSI Valley Road Style!

Wow – what a start to British Science Week!

Our hall became the scene of a daring theft and children in years 2-5 became forensic scientists to help solve the crime. They cordoned the scene off to preserve the evidence and examined the clues. Whose was the mystery footprint? Could the dropped handkerchief contain vital DNA? Which type of fingerprint was found inside the safe – a whorl, an arch or a loop? We even had identical twin suspects to contend with – the children worked out that even though their DNA was the same, their fingerprint wasn’t.

The children managed to solve the case and identify the criminal, showing fantastic skills in observation, reasoning and team work. I think we might even have some future forensic investigators amongst us!

Well done everyone! 

British Science Week runs from 10th – 19th March and there are some great (and easy!) ideas for experiments at home on their website:



Smart Materials’ Workshop

Year 5 children were visited by Durham University’s Dr Paula Martin to investigate smart materials as an introduction to their ‘Materials’ topic.

They looked at how these materials are used by astronauts and explored thermochromic materials, sodium polyacrylate and even painted their own colour changing pictures!

“Wow – look at it expanding, that’s amazing!” (Lily)

“If I drop water into the sides, it expands faster”. (Nahida)

I wonder if cooling it down will change the colour again?” (Layton)


Building Bridges at Shildon Raliway Museum

With Sunderland’s newest bridge being constructed as we speak, our ASCEND children in years 3 and 4 became real-life bridge engineers!

Firstly, they explored different bridge designs and learned about the design process behind building new bridges.

Next, they worked in teams to design their own bridge and ‘bought’ the materials they thought they would need. They then built their bridges, testing and evaluating materials and techniques as they went.

Finally, each team presented their bridge and tested its span and how much weight it could hold before a winning design was chosen by the judges.


 “If I roll the paper up, it makes it hold more weight.” (Layla)

“I’m going to use triangles in my bridge design because I learned they are a really strong shape”. (George)

“We’ve got £3.50 left to spend – which materials will be most useful to us?” (Ishmail)


Building Locomotives  at Shildon Raliway Museum

Children in years 4 and 5 ASCEND science group were thrilled to become electrical engineers!

Firstly, they explored different locomotive designs and learned of the advantages of electric trains over steam engines. The children built their own circuits and investigated motors and switches.

Next, they worked in teams to design their own locomotive, making decisions about materials and size and number of wheels.

The favourite part was the race against each other – whose locomotive went the fastest? Whose travelled the furthest? Whose went in a straight line? The judges decided on an overall winner but all of the designs were fantastic!


 “I know that big wheels go faster but have less control and small wheels go slower with more control so I’m going to use medium sized wheels so I get speed and control.” (Robert)

“I wonder if using a larger battery will give it more power?” (Nash)

“I’m going to make my design streamlined because that will reduce air resistance and make it go faster” (Mckenzi)