Using The Education Pack With 8 & 9 Year Olds
Bishops Castle Primary School, Oak Meadow, Bishops Castle, SY9 5PA
St John the Baptist Church, Bishops Castle, Shropshire SY9 5AF
‘We wanted to combine an educational visit to the local churchyard with science learning and also habitat creation within our school grounds’.
Patrick Harris is the teacher of class 4 at the primary school. I met with him to see which activities within the Education Pack would be best suited to his work plan for the term. The class were covering invertebrates and taxonomy in Biology including working with keys. We looked at the mini-beast section of the pack and selected:
Top Tips for Mini-beast Hunting
Mini-beast Identification Key
Take a Closer Look
Each child took a clipboard with a copy of the Top Tips, the Mini-beast Identification Key and several copies of Take a Closer Look. We took butterfly sweep nets, white trays, pooters and magnifying boxes with us, carried by the children. We also took an ipad which was used for photographing mini-beasts.
We walked to the churchyard and explained to the children about how to behave and to avoid the area with short mown grass and new graves. They then split into groups of 3 or 4 and set off to find invertebrates, using the Top Tips sheet to help them know where to look.
The three adults present moved between the groups, encouraging them to look in different habitats and to use the nets, pooters and magnifying boxes. They all saw a wide variety of invertebrates which they were able to identify using the key and also filled out 3 or 4 ‘Closer Look’ sheets, inspecting an individual invertebrate in more detail and drawing it.
We had a group discussion about the site, where they were finding most wildlife and how that might compare to their school grounds. We agreed that we should make a home for mini-beasts back at school.
We returned to school and started to build a bug hotel, using materials that we had collected previously or else found within the grounds (larch cones and bark were very common).
This is an easy trip out for a school with no costs attached. Burial grounds are often within walking distance and the education pack is self explanatory.
Results and Benefits
This visit helped to really bring the subject to life for the children and they enjoyed both aspects of the day; looking at invertebrates and building the bug hotel.
Issues and Lessons Learnt
A nice easy day with no problems although it is worth noting that several of the children wanted to talk about deceased relatives buried in the churchyard and so a listening adult was helpful.
Conclusions and Next Steps
The teachers at Bishops Castle Primary School are now aware of the Education Pack and have seen the breadth of the National Curriculum that it covers. Hopefully this will be the first of many visits.
Caring for God’s Acre Education Pack – download in English and Welsh
The Activity Sheets used for this activity are attached as PDFs below: