More on China – from Sonny

Sonny’s Uncle Andy lived in China for 3 years. He lived in Guangzhou (pronounced: “gwung – jo” ) in southern China. In southern China they speak Cantonese, which is different to Mandarin, the official language.  He told Sonny these things about China.

The Chinese invented ice cream. The famous Italian Explorer Marco Polo visited China and brought back the recipe for ice cream to Italy.  [We will learn about Marco Polo!]

Living in China is very different to living in Britain. It is very important to eat meals together in China. You must always leave some food on your plate when you have finished or the other people will think you are being rude and saying that they did not give you enough food.

There is a statue of Bruce Lee, the actor and martial arts expert, at Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 when it was given back to China.  [We will learn a little about Chinese taiji and martial arts.]



Natural History Museum

We spent today at the great Natural History Museum.   First we visited the new galleries on human evolution, which show the development of the human species (using skulls and reconstructed skeletons) from the point at which we diverged from the chimpanzees and apes about seven million years ago, through to the evolution of modern humans, Homo sapiens, in Africa an estimated 200,000 years ago.  Then we attended a workshop in a gallery charting the evolution of life on Earth over the last 500 million years, and acted out evolution by natural selection with the children in role as different species of birds competing for food.  After lunch we split into groups and went to our favourite parts of the museum.

Here’s Sonny’s photographic record of the trip:

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And more pictures of the day:

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Nature versus nurture

We talked today about how we are shaped, as human beings, both by our genetic inheritance and by our environment (our life experiences and the choices that we make). reaiah

The children had to try to say which – genes or life experience – they thought was a more important influence on their development as a person.  Most thought it was their environment.

  • Zeca:  I personally think that the way you were born doesn’t matter.  The most important thing to me is nurture.
  • Sylvie:  I think the most important is probably environmental because it’s how you’re brought up that determines how happy you are or how your personality is built.
  • Faisal:  I think environment more than genes because you choose what you want to do and you choose the path you want to follow.
  • Sonny:  My life is more important than my genes.
  • Sarafina.  Environment shapes you as a person.  You kind of have a growth mindset if you believe in nurture.  If you don’t it’s a bit like you’re saying ‘I’m born this way and I can’t change it.’
  • Jim says that he’s grown up in a protective environment with caring parents.  He says, ‘Even if I had been born in a  troubled part of the world, and had the same parents, I would still be roughly who I am now.’
  • Nina gave this careful and balanced assessment:  I have inherited my mouth, teeth, nose, and eyebrows from my dad.  I got my eyes, hair colour and ears from my mum.  My parents both run and I think that I inherit half of that from them but I train and do a lot of cross country running to help…. and get lots of encouragement.   I personally think that you could be born with a talent and not practise or you could not be born with a talent but train really hard and succeed.  I think that envrionment and nurture is more important because it’s your choice of what to do or be.

Add your own thoughts by replying to this post.  

Bonus question: which member of the class has evolved from this young lady?



Sonny’s graphic art

Have you ever seen Sonny’s stunning graphic art?  This year he has begun a retelling of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith using extraordinary characters based on his pet leopard gecko, Buck.


Darth Vader fighting his son, Buck


Qui Gon Jinn takes Buck as his apprentice


Qui Gon Jinn’s transport


Clone troopers