Our reception classes were out and about taking a closer look at blossom from a range of trees. They used magnifying glasses to compare blossom and identify differences. Subsequently, they worked as detectives to identify which trees the blossom came from. Year 2 had a wonderful visit from a Bat Conservation expert, who spoke about nocturnal animals and discussed why bats are mammals. The children were extremely excited to meet and stroke Rose, the 9 year old rescue bat. Year 2 write about nocturnal animals in English, as part of their optional SATs assessment, further demonstrating the cross curricula links. Year 3 visited the woods at Rushall Farm to perform their Spring/Summer bug count, which will be converted into bar charts and compared with their previous results, on their return. Year 5 pupils distributed their “Lousehill Copse” walking leaflets to the local libraries just after the Easter break and subsequently, gave out the remaining leaflets across the school, ahead of half term to encourage child to visit the location during their time off. Year 5 also visited the woods at Rushall Farm to perform their second worm survey. The children were quick to observe and explain why they found so few worms at this time of year, providing excellent opportunities for assessment. We also used this opportunity to demonstrate the children’s knowledge of simple levers, which they have been learning about in the classroom.
Mr Allen has been working with Nature Nurture to organise Wild Wednesdays nature activities in the local community. These activities will be open to anyone in the area and publicised through local schools. Wild Wednesdays will be an after school club that encourages parents and children to visit the local woods of Lousehill Copse, Blundells Copse and McIlroy park. We’ve shared our experiences from our ECOMAD project with Nature Nurture and we will be supporting the Wild Wednesdays activities to help pass on our expertise to other practioners.
CPD and Project Impact:
All staff have been engaged in discussing what they have learnt from the ECOMAD project, through staff meetings and department meetings. Everyone agrees that the focus given to science and maths by the ECOMAD project and the Rolls-Royce funding has really helped to raise the expectations for teaching of science and the sciences activities that have been offered to children. The children are very obviously engaged by the project and therefore, we started the process of gathering all of the individual visits in to an annual schedule. Reading University has been identified as offering a wide range of teaching support across the curriculum and consequently, we are exploring further visits. In addition, we discussed how we can invigorate other parts for the science curriculum to get children excited, for example about physics. On this point, we have started to think about how we include the Bloodhood SSC project into our planning and to investigate the efficiency of solar panels.