We utlised the outdoor green space and the available natural resources to practice coin values to create totals. The materials available to us included stones, twigs, flowers and leaves. I gave each of these items a different value (see images) and gave pupils the task of making a set total (i.e. 10p). The pupils then explored the environment to gather any combination of leaves/twigs/stones/flowers that would create that required total. This familiarises pupils with coin values and also addition of coin values. It reminds them that coin combinations can be varied to achieve the same total value. You can differentiate this by timing higher ability groups or giving some pupils a lower target value to reach.
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Every term children undertake curriculum-linked visits to the forest. Literacy: creating a new nature trail and producing a leaflet to guide others around, responding to the poetry of The Lost Words, creating a nature alphabet. Science: planting trees and learning about how they grow and parts of a plant, looking at living and non living things in the soil, tracking wildlife footprints, using identification keys for minibeasts. History: investigating the ruined township and finding out how people used to live here. Expressive Arts: creating artworks from natural materials. Maths: experimenting with different methods of measuring tree height and calculating the age of trees. These are just a few examples! In future we hope to work on the Junior Forester Award. The ranger service also runs and contributes to holiday activities for children, adults and young people which can include the John Muir Award.
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When covid guidelines prevented rangers accessing school grounds, our afterschool nature club with Bunessan Primary moved location to the new community garden. Children are collected from school by the ranger and volunteers, and together walk along a safe cycle path to the garden. We've planted trees for a new hedge, fruit bushes, beans and peas...and watched them grow. We've investigated how composting works, looked for minibeasts that help the process and created habitat piles with logs. We've taken part in managing the wildflower meadow, looked for animal tracks and signs and learned to recognise birdsong. We've built a den out of branches. In winter we were stargazing and learning about hibernating and nocturnal creatures. Children proudly show visitors their contributions to the garden which is being created by teams of adult volunteers although soon to employ paid workers to facilitate the next developments. A parent-led outdoor playgroup also meets here.
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In line with our poetry topic, we learnt about calligrams and created our own outdoors. We found different items, for example, bike, tree, tyres, and noted down words to describe the items. Then we used chalk to write the describing words on the ground in the shape of the item to make our calligrams.
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Having previously learnt about literary devices in class, the children were able to identify different literary devices used in the poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson. The children were intrigued by the story the poetry and mural told in the former railway tunnel. We had a scavenger hunt where children had to find different things on the walls of the tunnel. For example, find alliteration. Could also link to: -history of the tunnel/Robert Louis Stevenson -STEM - building of a tunnel -art - learn about the different artists
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This is a fantastic site for learners to come visit. The local area is a great spot for all ages and can be used as inspiration for a range of curricular areas. Whether taking younger learners to have a look before creating some art, or having it be the setting for a piece of writing, Cramond beach is a great spot to have that creativity flowing.
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Primary 4 discovered a whole world of tessellating shape in their outdoor environment. The class has been studying 2D shape and properties and are now looking into pattern, symmetry and tessellation. After considering and exploring shapes that tessellate in the classroom Primary 4 went out with IPADS to see if they could find evidence of tiling patterns in their environment. Once the children had tuned into the patterns around them they found evidence everywhere. Much discussion was had about necessity of tiling and functionality and its aesthetic impact. Some of the pupil’s favourite examples were car grills and wheels which displayed some interesting designs and shapes. The photos were used as part of their “working wall” on 2D shape. Children were able to put post-it notes up about their thoughts and conclusions regarding the examples discovered by the class. This display was used as a good reference point for later discussion and lesson on tessellation.
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We headed off for a group ramble hoping to hear Carrion Crows and identify them by their wedge tail. We also wanted to look for magpies and establish if they really are black and white?!?
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Primary 4 have been exploring 2D shape as part of their Maths topic. The class expressed an interest in the wind, so we created kites using our knowledge of 2D shape. We had rich discussion about purpose, shape, origin and design of kites and looked at what materials we could use to make our own. Weight and durability of material were considered as well as shape and symmetry when designing. We looked at a variety of kite designs including Delta, Diamond, and Raku and determined which designs would be the easiest to replicate using the materials given. Many of the learners opted for Art Straws, nylon string and thin paper due to the weight factor. Durability was discussed however as it was not raining paper was chosen as it was the easiest for the children to work with. Square lashing technique was introduced to bind the straws together which some found quite tricky but were keen to master. In our follow up lesson we will revisit this technique using sticks.
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Primary 7 were challenged to build a contraption that would carry a Lego figure down a zip line. Class were given a range of materials to choose from and worked in pairs to create their designs. They began by brainstorming ideas using whiteboards adjusting features and building on each other’s thoughts. Once they had created their designs they were let loose on the materials. Tinfoil, paperclips, tape, card board, plastic cups, straws and general classroom resources were supplied. Children selected and built carrier for Lego person. To extend and make more challenging children could be given a budget to build their carrier. Resources items could be labelled with desirables being more expensive and less desirable being cheaper. Children would have to be aware of waste and how their choice impact on environment as well as budget. Once the learners had built and adjusted their designs, we moved outside to test. Discussions arose, and predictions made about the different designs and how effective they thought they would be. Class were particularly interested in weight and speed of each object and how fast that would make the Lego man move down the zip line. We used a stopwatch to time each groups zipline carrier and discussed design features of the fastest and slowest.
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