In November, the ECOMAD project enabled staff to get the whole of Churchend outside, exploring the local environment.
The month started with a wonderful volunteering opportunity. Giving up their Saturday, a number of Churchend children and parents volunteered to help the Tilehurst Globe (local environmental group) to make the Tilehurst Triangle a better place this spring. Between them, they planted a large number of daffodils, narcissus and croci. The hard work and enthusiasm made light work of the mountain of bulbs and the Tilehurst Globe were extremely appreciative. All of the children were very proud of their work and were presented with an “I’m ECOMAD” certificate in assembly and photos of the event appeared in the local paper. Several more volunteering opportunities are being organised to engage children and encourage parent participation.
Throughout the month, the majority of classes conducted their initial biodiversity studies performing their duty as citizen scientists. Mrs Amy Brock worked closely with our STEM Ambassador to survey the local bird population. The children visited the local shopping centre, Blundells Copse and finally Rushall Farm. Armed with binoculars, bird identification charts and their knowledge of bird song, the class were able to identify a wide and varied range of birds.
Mr Allen worked closely with Mr Trayling and his Year 5 class to organise and execute a detailed survey of worms. Children were extraordinarily excited by this activity and really got stuck in. The variety of worms found and the enthusiasm with which children independently classified and recorded the worms found, was breath taking. Upon their return to school, the class demonstrated their scientific knowledge of worms and their maths skills in graphing their data and comparing the results from multiple sites. Each group produced a scientific poster, presenting their findings before submitting their data to the OPAL website for further scientific analysis.
During the month, the team has also been very busy, getting creative in the production of an introduction video for the Rolls-Royce Science Prize finalists page. All members of the team developed their skills in producing high quality video, capturing children engaged in exciting activities around the school and at the forest school. We sketched out a storyboard together before investing time in filming over the month. The bank of video and voice overs were submitted on November 7th and we’re extremely excited about premiering the video in a future staff meeting.
With winter now upon us and nature in hibernation, the focus of the team is more about planning the activities for early spring. We’re working with the Tilehurst Globe to create child friendly walking maps for the local green spaces as well as other local interest groups to identify a variety of interesting volunteering activities.
Finally, following a Governor’s meeting, where the ECOMAD project was on the agenda, one of our Governors kindly volunteered to assist with managing relationships with external organisations and to work with local press to promote our project and science. As a result of this additional help, on October 18th, Mr Allen was interviewed on BBC Radio Berkshire to celebrate our finalist status and discuss the aims and activities of the project. The interview can be heard by visiting http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02bkv8b. The interview starts at approximately 10 minutes and 30 seconds in to the programme.