The children at The Link Primary School have enjoyed learning about animals and their habitats. We have also been growing our own fruits and vegetables and have started a composting scheme across the school.
In addition to our regular science work, The Link embraces the subject by holding a special “Science Week” once a term. During one of our science weeks in January we learnt about birds through the RSPB. Each class focused on a type of bird (such as sparrow, magpie and seagull) and studied them for the week. We learnt the different parts of a bird, where they live, what they eat and how we can help them. Across the school the children made bird feeders to take home, as well as bird food cakes full of fat and seeds which were hung around our sensory garden to give the birds something to eat in the winter. The children learnt that during the winter months, when it becomes cold, it is more difficult for the birds to find food, so it was good to watch them come into the garden to eat the food. We also learnt that birds give us food by laying eggs. Class 4 cooked some eggs and made egg sandwiches, they were yummy!
Our Science week in the summer term was when each class focused on a ‘scientist’ who did something special. Some classes learnt about Charles Darwin and Neil Armstrong. Class 4 learnt about Jane Goodall. We discovered that Jane went to Africa to learn about chimpanzees. She watched them play, eat and sleep so she could help them and keep them safe. We made binoculars and became explorers and went to look for chimpanzees in the playground. Class 4 studied the habitat of chimpanzees, what they eat and what they look like. We learnt that chimpanzees do not have tails! We looked at photographs and watched lots of videos so we could see how they act. Some of them were very funny. We then put on our mask and pretended to act like chimpanzees; it was a lot of fun!
Class 4 learnt about different animal habitats, such as the sea, ponds, the jungle and farms.
To start our habitat topic we made binooculars, so that we could explore different habitats. When we learnt about the jungle, we went searching for jungle animals in the garden and recorded what we saw. We watched videos and looked at pictures to find out information about the temperature, weather and types of trees that grow in the jungle. Many different kinds of animals live in the jungle and lots of insects live there as well. We went on a minibeast hunt in the garden; we collected some minibeasts and studied them under a digital microscope on the interactive whiteboard. This made the minibeats very big and we could see their eyes and antennas.
When we learnt about ponds we talked about different types of animals that live in ponds, such as ducks, frogs and fish. A support assistant in class needed some fish for her pond, so we went to a local garden centre to purchase several fish, which we then took back to her pond. When we were there we noticed some frog spawn and carefully collected a little to take back to our class. Over the next couple weeks we took care of the frog spawn and watched as they turned into tadpoles. When they became too big for our container we took them to a local stream and set them free. We really enjoyed learning about the lifecycle of a frog, their habitat and how we need to take care of them. . We also learned that tadpoles and frogs cannot live in sea water, they need fresh water. When the water level lowered in our container, we went to the water butt to collect water to give to them. This way we can keep them safe.
During our sea topic we talked about dolphins, whales, turtles, etc. We purchased some sea monkeys and hatched them by putting them in their special tank, adding fresh water and feeding them. Every 2-3 days we fed them a little bit of food and loved watching them hatch and grow. One of the children even took them home over the holidays; she was very careful to look after them and made sure she gave them the right amount of food.
The children are very lucky to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers in our garden and sensory garden all year round. This helps us to realise how important it is to help the environment and learn about growing food which keeps us healthy. Over the year we have planted many different vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, pumpkins and a variety of fruits, such as raspberries, strawberries and apples. We learnt that plants need water, sunlight and soil to help them grow. Sometimes we even discovered some wiggly minibeasts during our gardening sessions.
We have used our potatoes to make potato salad which we ate and served some to the parents during a school function. We have grown our own cress which we added to our egg sandwiches, carved a pumpkin and cooked the seeds, cooked our runner beans and some children even took them home to share with Mum and Dad.
We are fortunate to be in the process of having a new school built which will be finished in September 2015! Unfortunately this means we are temporarily without our sensory garden, but are very much looking forward to helping design a new space.
Class 4 went to a gardening workshop at Woodcote Garden Centre where we planted bulbs to take home and made a big bug hotel using wooden slats, bricks and boots. We then made little bug hotels using pots, bamboo and string and were allowed to take them back to school to put in our garden. We learnt that bugs like getting into holes and dark places, so bamboo is a great place for them to hide. This helped to bring more mini-beasts into our sensory garden.
Each classroom at The Link has a small compost bin, as well as a big one in the hall that is used during lunchtimes. The pots are emptied daily into the compost in the hall which is then taken into the garden. The children were taught the importance of keeping unwanted peelings or fruit and vegetable waste, as it is a way to help the environment. They learnt that it gives the worms, minibeasts and flies yummy food to eat and that it helps the plants grow. A book and slideshow were made as a way to introduce the new plan and help reinforce the idea.
Our children work very hard to look after nature and help others, whether it is people, animals or minibeasts. They enjoy hands on learning beyond the classroom and are very enthusiastic and keen to dive in and get messy!