Monthly Archives: October 2015

The case of the mysterious machine

P1430192All the year sixes in Book for Breakfast were away this week on their residential, so just four group members gathered. Instead of focusing on reading The Indian in the Cupboard we solved a mystery – and had a great time!

In our meeting room we found a piece of kit that someone had been using – but the question was, what it was for, and how could we find out? By observation and experimentation, Rezija, Dione and Anastazja discovered:

  • You can push down the handle on top
  • The black piece can move in and out and has A4 and A3 written on it. We knew these were paper sizesP1430141
  • Could it be something for storing paper?
  • There was a switch that kept the handle locked if you pushed it to one side while the handle was down
  • On one edge there is a bit that looks like an arrow. Do you put the paper in there?
  • P1430147Could it be a paper shaper? Is it a stapler?
  • What if you try it out by putting a piece of paper in it, then pushing down the handle
  • It made holes in the paper! It is a hole punch
  • But what is the black sliding piece for, with A4 and A3 written on?
  • Is it for positioning the paper? Yes, but P1430159why do you need to do that?
  • …ah, it’s to make sure the holes are made in the middle of the paper. And you can change the setting for different paper sizes.

Well done everybody! Later we realised that if you look at the underside of the hole punch you can see where all the little circles go when they are punched out of sheets of paper.

This might have given us a clue earlier as to what the machine did.

P1430175Inside the hole punch there were two very shiny things that seemed to be important. Mujtaba already knew that the machine punched holes when he saw it, so could he and Anastazja work out what these shiny things were?

They had a good look and experiment, and found:

  • the handle doesn’t stay down when you P1430174push it, it bounces back up again
  • the shiny things are what make this happen

They agreed the coiled bits look like the middle of pegs – and then Rezija realised that they are springs. Correct!

Everyone wanted to write a riddle or a poem about their investigation – and some people decorated their paper with holes around the outside! Here they are:


Can you spot the word hidden vertically in Rezija’s poem?


Here is Mujtaba and Anastazja’s jokey poem


Dione went for an acrostic poem



Back to the future

Book groupWe built on each other’s ideas today, creating a sculpture by using some nice little clips that came along with the felt-tip pens we use at Book for Breakfast. We had been reading chapter 7, which had this passage:

P1430116“Little Bull isn’t a toy. He’s a real man. He really lived. Maybe he’s still in the middle of his life – somewhere in America in seventeen-something-or-other. He’s from the past.”

P1430130So we asked – if you could go into Omri’s magic cupboard, and emerge at any time of the past or present, where would you go, and why? As each person shared their answer they came to the front to build on to the sculpture. Some of the ideas were:

  • P1430074Victorian times
  • a decade or two into the future to see how my family has changed
  • to the time of one of the World Wars to find out what it was really like (either First World War, 1914-18, or Second World War, 1939-45)
  • right back to the beginning of time, to have a dinosaur as a pet!

Ellis also said you could take a piece of technology or an invention back in time and see what difference it would make, how it might change what we do or how we live in the present. A great idea to think about – and why not leave a comment at the bottom of this post if you can come up with an example.

We also met some more new vocabulary.

Imperiously means arrogantly or over-importantly, perhaps acting like a king or queen.

Everyone looking 'agog'.

Everyone looking ‘agog’.

Someone mentioned imperious sounded like emporium which is a lovely old-fashioned word meaning a shop.

Magnanimously means generously.

Agog means stunned, and we all had a go at looking agog!

Reverently means treating something very respectfully, to show it’s very special.

Rabiya demonstrating looking 'incredulous'.

Rabiya demonstrating looking ‘incredulous’.

Galvanised is when you are shocked suddenly into action. It also describes a metal bucket when it’s been coated with zinc! Fancy that.

Incredulous means a facial expression or tone of voice that shows you really can’t believe something is true.

So why not galvanise yourself into action and magnanimously share with us any ideas you have? If you can think of how the present would be changed if you took an invention or technology into the past, then leave us a comment. We promise to be agog at your ideas and treat them reverently!

How many meanings for ‘quiver’?

Reading around the roomHave you ever thought how many meanings the word ‘quiver’ can have? It was vocabulary time in this week’s Book for Breakfast meeting. As we took turns to read chapter six aloud, we looked out for any language we didn’t know well, or which we wanted to check the meaning of.

So what did we find? Here are the words, in the sentences they were in.

Chapter six‘a Chief with a quiverful of arrows on his back’: we found you could look at the word quiver in three possible ways. It could be a noun, meaning the holder for arrows. It could be a verb, the jelly was quivering. And it could be an adjective, his knees felt quivery.

‘”I wish you’d stop this stupid business,” he said peevishly’: the word peevishly means ‘in an annoyed way’. Patrick was cross Finding new vocabularythat Omri was treating the plastic Indian as though he were a real person.

‘the twigs had been pliant ones taken from the garden’: the word pliant means bendy or flexible, and Little Bull had bent the willow twigs into arches. From this word we also get compliant meaning someone who is easy-going and happy to be flexible – although sometimes too keen to follow others and not question things. 

Reading around‘the patched look of a real tepee made of odd-shaped pieces of hide’: this isn’t the verb ‘to hide’ but hide meaning animal skin.

‘Patrick was looking at him as if he had gone completely screwy’: when we might jokingly say crazy or mad now, the author has used the word screwy.

What other words have you seen recently that you weren’t sure what they meant? Can you share any here – along with their meanings? Can you find any more words that can be nouns and also verbs?

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