Similar lessons can also be done with plants, with pupils looking at the different features of water plants and land plants. If there is a school pond pupils could go and collect samples of plants themselves (with adult supervision), and also observe the different types of mini-beasts that can be found.
Whilst selecting plant samples it is important that pupils are told they are not allowed to just pull out anything, and that over picking of plants can mean they die. This can be related to larger issues such as deforestation. If there is not a pond examples of water plants would have to be brought in.
Ask the children to write down the features of both types of plant. Then as a class discuss the differences and the reasons for these differences in relation to their different habitats. For example, the land plant has a harder stem, as it has to support itself, whereas the water plant has a softer stem as the water supports it.Indicate improvements that might be made to school grounds so that they could be used more effectively for scientific studies “It requires only a small plot of soil, a few shrubs and trees for there to be seeds and fruits and flowers of various kinds to be studied. Where there are soil and plants there will be a plethora of animals that dig and tunnel, crawl and fly, hide and seek, eat and are eaten, so that children can learn to observe the behaviour of living things.” There are many different ways that a school can enhance their grounds so that can be used more effectively. It can start off on very small scale, e.
g. leaving a corner of the playing field to grow ‘wild’ and allow different plants and animals to develop. Or it can be on a larger scale with a full-scale reconstruction of the school grounds. The types of improvements that can be made are all dependant on time, money and resources (see further on for more details of this).One of the simplest ways of making a schools grounds a better place to study living things is to allow a corner of the playing field to become overgrown, though not too much, ask the school caretaker not to mow the grass. This allows a larger diversity of plant growth and gives children the opportunity to see what would grow in their school if things were left untouched. It also more desirable for different mini-beasts to live in an area that is overgrown and undisturbed.
Rocks and pieces of rotting wood can be placed there to offer shelter to different animals, and therefore encourage them to stay. A piece of old carpet could also be placed outside and children can observe the different types of mini-beasts it attracts underneath.More elaborate ways of improving the schools can be the developing of a specific area into a nature area, with the building of ponds and planting different species of plants. Plants that encourage certain mini-beasts can also be put in to encourage a larger diversity of animals. Another way of improving the schools grounds is by taking advantage of any land adjacent to your school. Some schools are fortunate enough to be next to woodland of some description. Edwalton Primary School in Nottingham, with the help of Rushcliffe Borough Council, were able to transform a wood next door to their school into a educational resource used by the whole community.Discuss how this learning opportunity could reinforce other cross-curricular issues as well as the requirements for citizenship.
Hence how it would be reflected in school policies. In English pupils can have discussions about how humans and animals can affect the environment, in both positive and negative ways. They could also write about any local environment issues, e.g. people allowing their dogs to foul the pavements or litter in the local park. This could be done in the form of a news article in the local paper or as a letter of complaint to the council.
In Maths pupils can look at Fibonacci numbers and look at where they occur in nature e.g. in the petals of flowers, and they can also look for shapes and patterns that form naturally in nature. Pupils could also do surveys with regards to peoples opinions about the environment and what they do to help preserve it. In Design and Technology pupils could design ideal homes for the mini-beasts they have studied, taking into account all they found out about their natural habitats and ensuring all their requirements are met. Designing a poster to make people aware of ways of protecting the environment, e.
g. ‘Don’t drop litter’.In Geography pupils can look at how different people have affected the environment, in a negative way, oil spills in the North Sea, and in a positive way, conservation of the rainforests. In Citizenship the topic of environmental opens up a lot of area for discussion, and can lead on to moral, social and cultural debate.
The National Curriculum non-statutory guidelines relating to citizenship and environmental education is as follows: Preparing to play an active role as citizens 2 Pupils should be taught: g) what improves and harms their local, natural and built environments and about some of the ways people look after them j) that resources can be allocated in different ways and that these economic choices affect individuals, communities and the sustainability of the environment.Breadth of opportunities a) take responsibility [for example planning and looking after the school environment; looking after animals properly] e) meet and talk with people [for example, people who contribute to society through environmental pressure groups] Although not statutory schools are encouraged to provide some form of citizenship training, however the school timetable does not always allow for specific teaching of it. The above guidelines mentioned nevertheless can easily be incorporated into the Science lessons mentioned earlier.Suggest some specific aspects of ICT that could be incorporated in the topics chosen for study. Whilst on the nature walk around the school grounds pupils, aided by the teacher, can take pictures with a digital camera of the different places where they found mini-beasts i.e. their habitats and also pictures of the mini-beasts themselves.
These images can then be downloaded onto the computer and looked at whilst asking the pupils to describe all the habitats they had seen. These pictures can then be used again for the next lesson when looking at how the mini-beasts are adapted to their habitats.As an extension images off the Internet can be downloaded of different animals that, for example, an African school might find in their school grounds. Pupils can then look at the differences and similarities between what they had found in their school grounds. They could also try and explain why there are differences in the types of animals seen.
A spreadsheet can be designed so that pupils can record the number of mini-beasts they found in different areas of the school ground.This can then be compared to the findings of previous years and children can look at how the populations of different mini-beasts have changed. Identify some of the practical issues surrounding using school grounds as a learning resource in terms of cost, equipment, organisation and safety. Schools can also work with local environment groups and get their advice and support on the type features that would suit their grounds, as every locality is unique in some way as a result of its geology, soils, landforms and vegetation.Something that is always an issue in education is that of money, how much will it cost to improve the school grounds so that they are more beneficial for scientific study? As mentioned earlier not all improvements have to cost anything, all they involve is a bit of extra time. However, schemes that involve a complete change in the usage of the school grounds will cost a large sum of money.
Funding can be available form the Council or local environment groups. Schools can also organise events that would enable them to raise the money to go towards developing the schools grounds.Fencing may also be required to ensure that certain areas of the grounds can be left undisturbed. Another way to ensure the safe keeping of a nature area is to give the responsibility to the Year 6 pupils to take it in turns to monitor the area and ensure no other pupils are there unsupervised.
In respect to safety issues get the pupils to develop a class code of conduct when using the nature area, and also one for when they in other environmental areas. You can discuss with the class how they want people to behave, for example no dropping of litter. The National Curriculum provides programmes of study that ensure that children learn about the environment around them, and relate this to world as a whole.
However, it is the input from the teacher, which encourages children to be sensitive towards other living things. It is only when these two factors work do children have the basis of becoming well informed responsible adults.