Real hands-on engagement.

drill construction

“Check it’s going in straight and level!” (boys using a hand drill)

Real hands-on engagement.
There is nothing like getting stuck in to construction work and the application of numeracy skills (amongst others) to get a real appreciation of what building work is all about. Children (KS1) have been applying a wide range of knowledge and skills thorough this project whilst working with me over the last year to explore ideas for their school grounds. They have discussed options, brought inspiration from visits, made models, measured the space and experimented at real scale to plan a natural creative play area, with adventure. Now they are actually building it! (with help from the experts at Touchwood) "It's harder work than  you think!" (quote from a girl working on stripping bark from a chestnut pole)

Problem - we need a birdbath.

Problem-we need a birdbath. Solution?-make our own
The after school club is leading the work on our Growing Garden development, and last term they made a “tufa” birdbath. This is involved a lot of careful measurement, calculating proportions of the ingredients, and working co-operatively to make a thorough mix of the materials before adding water and sculpting the bird bath in the mould.  Working outside in our Nature Lab meant there was no problem with making a mess!  The children also discussed the health and safety implications of working with cement and were proactive in managing the risks.
The birdbath was left over the summer holidays to cure. It was exciting to unveil it this term. Result! The Nursery children helped to transport the birdbath to the garden where it will have a permanent home  and provide essential water for birds and insect life.

Willow Workshops


Willow Workshops

Nurture Group children, and years 1,4,5,6 all contributed to making a
new willow dome and "crinkle crankle fedge", with secret doors too! We
had two of the warmest February days (usually I am doing these workshops
in cold and rain!) The materials for the structures came from pruning
the Nursery willow tunnel that was planted about 5 years ago. Great
features of these workshops were the team working required, opportunity
for physical effort (who needs PE when you are wielding a mallet) and
the application of practical maths/numeracy skills throughout the design
and construction.  The mound behind was recently constructed and has
been sown with grass and wild flowers, although it is acknowledged that
these will struggle to survive when it is played on later in the year!
Watch this space for updated photos.

Drawing a Circle. Active maths.

Accurate measuring required!Success - the begining of the fire pit circle

Drawing a Circle. Active maths.

This is a fairly classic exercise, but non the worse for it! These children worked diligently, taking turns with the tape, pegs and measure to complete the task. They were so engaged with the process that we left them to it, after helping them get the method established and we came back to an (almost) perfect circle.
Later the children practised carrying heavy objects safely as we set some logs along the perimeter of the circle, and then we had a celebratory fire with healthy apple roasting. Much fun was had by all, despite persistent rain! The resulting fire pit  and sitting circle has been used in many ways during breaks and workshops, and is now a key feature in their new outdoor learning area.