The Planet Earth Road Show


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The Planet Earth Road Show - Find out how Strachur Primary school used an enterprising approach to teaching and learning in sciences

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The Planet Earth Road Show

  1. 1. The Planet Earth Road show Introduction Strachur Primary is a small rural school with 61 pupils situated on the perimeter of the Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The school grounds contain tarmac play areas, a field and pond, outdoor seating and a garden. Staff and pupils are working towards a third Eco-flag with support from parents, carers and the wider community, and the school has adopted Strachur Bay through the Adopt-a-Beach scheme. The bay is cleared of litter each term and the waste weighed and recorded.
  2. 2. The project <ul><li>This science based cross-curricular project was planned to include Enterprise, Education for Sustainability and Biodiversity, Health and Well-Being and community links. They made use of an Enterprising approach to learning and teaching through questioning, research and a sharing information model. This was supported by a wide range of partners working in the outdoor classroom. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>There were three composite classes in September 2008 when this project took place, P1/2, P3/4/5 and P6/7. In the school pupils are divided into four house teams. These teams meet once per month, working co-operatively to tackle challenges </li></ul>
  4. 4. Background <ul><li>In the summer term of 2008 staff engaged with the Curriculum for Excellence design principles and decided to develop a focused science project.  Topics for each of the composite classes were agreed: </li></ul><ul><li>P 1/2 - Minibeasts </li></ul><ul><li>P 3/4/5 - Study of Scotland (including rivers) </li></ul><ul><li>P 6/7 - Rock and soils under our feet </li></ul><ul><li>Topics using these themes had been undertaken before, but this time learning and teaching approaches were encouraging innovation and enthusiasm </li></ul>
  5. 5. Aims <ul><li>A whole school project based on the Planet Earth organiser was created ‘to develop curiosity and understanding of the environment.’   </li></ul><ul><li>Each class was to study in depth one part of their project: </li></ul><ul><li>P1/2 - Bees </li></ul><ul><li>P3/4/5 - Water </li></ul><ul><li>P6/7 - Understanding Geology </li></ul><ul><li>Pupils were to carry out experiments </li></ul><ul><li>observe, collect, measure and record evidence </li></ul><ul><li>present, analyse and interpret data to draw conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>present and report on findings. </li></ul><ul><li>An enterprising approach to the Planet Earth Road Show was to add stimulation and challenge by a variety of quality learning experiences provided in partnership with local experts. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Process <ul><li>Process </li></ul><ul><li>Using interdisciplinary planners, staff launched a focused two week science project called Planet Earth Road Show. </li></ul><ul><li>In assembly each class was given a question to investigate and answer: </li></ul><ul><li>P1/2 - Why are bees furry? </li></ul><ul><li>P3/4/5 - Can you make and label a river model? </li></ul><ul><li>P6/7 - How were rocks and soils important to settlements both in the past and to communities today? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Bees <ul><li>P1/2 had previously planted borage in their garden and now studied the visiting bees closely. They tasted samples of borage, eucalyptus and heather honeys.  Rangers from the National Park created an interactive game. Pupils dressed as bees, they visited large flower structures and collected pollen balls on a Velcro headband.  Local members of the Scottish Beekeepers Society brought hives and examples of honeycomb to the classroom. They dressed in their protective suits and demonstrated their smoke guns.  Pupils produced a talking book about bees. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Water <ul><li>P3/4/5 had initially begun their project by learning about Scottish places, lochs and rivers. In their focused two weeks they took kick samples from a local river and matched the creatures they found to a key. This indicated levels of pollution according to the species found. The same process was used to investigate the water in the school pond. The pupils used the experience they had gained at the river and completed the survey with little assistance. A beach clean was organised and the pupils were assisted by a member of GRAB (Group for Recycling in Argyll and Bute), who followed the task with an interactive lesson about beach pollution. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Sharing Knowledge <ul><li>The pupils in P6/7 began their project early in the autumn term, learning about how rocks are formed. They then spent time with geologists with diverse interests and experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of the two weeks an afternoon was organised so pupils could share what they had learned. </li></ul><ul><li>P1/2 asked everyone to try three types of honey and record their favourite. </li></ul><ul><li>P3/4/5 organised a quiz about water. </li></ul><ul><li>P6/7 created a rocky river bed and asked pupils to pan for gold. </li></ul><ul><li>Photographic records, art work and the talking book were displayed for parents and carers. </li></ul><ul><li>Pupils reported back to each other at assembly, answering the questions they had originally been set with their research and findings. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Partnerships <ul><li>Time had been well spent encouraging/sourcing willing contributors from the community and a grant had been awarded by a Determined to Succeed challenge fund. Parents and carers were informed of the plan through the school curriculum bulletin which is issued at the start of each term. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Key partnerships <ul><li>Pupils were taught how to prepare and cook seafood by a member of staff from Loch Fyne Oysters. </li></ul><ul><li>Pupils created their river models working in co-operative groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Ron and Julia Thom live in Strachur and have a gold mine in Tyndrum. They are both experienced geologists who had spent many years in Australia. They explained their business and showed slides of their activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Julian Hill, another local geologist, spent a morning at Strachur Bay showing the pupils rocks that contain garnets. </li></ul><ul><li>Steve Wright was visiting the area and demonstrated how volcanoes worked by using models he had made. </li></ul><ul><li>The pupils visited Bonawe Furnace at Taynuilt where they discovered that underground resources were important to the economy of an area. </li></ul><ul><li>Tassy Thompson, an artist from Rattlin’ Boag Play Company, discussed how natural resources were important to early settlements for making tools.  She took pupils to a local wooded area and showed them how to obtain natural shafts for tools. They then made moulds and cast a variety of tool shaped implements. The pupils were accompanied by two members of the local history group </li></ul>
  12. 12. Impact – What was achieved? <ul><li>Staff evaluation: </li></ul><ul><li>Children were always interested and enjoyed this practical topic.’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Their learning was stimulating and interactive. They could confidently answer questions about bees.’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ It was very successful and allowed me to observe and assess the children’s learning.’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ It has become apparent that the children are motivated by being allowed and encouraged to work together and actually do and make and find out, and then share with others.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Pupil evaluation: </li></ul><ul><li>P1/2 enjoyed dressing as bees and playing the pollen game. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of P3/4/5 enjoyed making their river models and cooking seafood. </li></ul><ul><li>P6/7 particularly enjoyed the visit by Steve Wright and his variety of working models. </li></ul>
  13. 13. What was learned? <ul><li>All pupils understood that the topics they had studied were important locally and globally. </li></ul><ul><li>The work of beekeepers and the need for clean unpolluted water. </li></ul><ul><li>The value of the Earth’s resources and how they could affect the suitability for settlement and economy of an area. </li></ul><ul><li>The work of geologists, historians, and the ranger service. </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits of working co-operatively. </li></ul><ul><li>How to presenting work in a variety of ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Building strong partnerships with the community created valuable opportunities for curricular enrichment. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Next Steps <ul><li>Next steps to reinforce learning: </li></ul><ul><li>P1/2 will plant seeds this spring to encourage bees to the school garden and to note that borage is self seeding and reappears in the school garden this year. </li></ul><ul><li>P3/4/5 went on to study the Unsinkable Ship in the winter term - the story of the Titanic, its sea voyage and the stories of the passengers and crew. </li></ul><ul><li>A visit to a local site where there are remains of a settlement, organised by the local archaeology society has been planned and  P6/7 will learn how to map the remains of buildings. </li></ul><ul><li>Future planning: Pupils will to continue to learn through interaction with others. </li></ul><ul><li>Staff will continue to use the environment to stimulate and motivate pupils wherever possible. </li></ul>
  15. 15. The future <ul><li>The school aims to ensure pupils will continue to experience and develop understanding of the world of work in all its diversity through hands on, experiential opportunities and collaborative activities supported where possible by partnerships across the community </li></ul>