Background

The purpose of the project was to engage a class of children in a hands-on project to turn an unused, forgotten space into an outdoor Nature Lab for cross curricular use that would benefit the whole school. We were keen to involve the children at all stages of the project including site surveying, assessment, identification of issues and generation of solutions.

For the project to be successful it was essential that the children also took an active part in decision making and practical tasks to transform the space - after all this was their project!

Process

The budget for the whole project was £10,000 - this was to include the workshop fees, materials and bought in labour for some small elements of the scheme that required it.

Landscapes Naturally's role was to lead and support the key teaching staff, team teaching as far as possible. We devised the lesson plans in full consultation with staff, set up and ran the sessions (team teaching as appropriate) and helped to provide the resources to deliver each lesson.

Every fortnight was "Nature Lab Wednesday" and this soon became a day that the children looked forward to immensely and over the duration of the project we built up a close working relationship.

Outcomes

Throughout the project they learnt key aspects of science, numeracy and learning skills. Things like...

  • Vocabulary and concepts - use of materials, rocks, erosion, changing state of materials (making concrete), layers in soil, rainbows and the refraction of light, indigo, violet, colour mixing, camouflage, food web/chain, friction and much more!
  • Skill development - problem solving, evaluation, negotiation, measuring, decision making, use of tools etc...

But don't take our word for it, here is a selection of comments from Year 6 (spelling has been altered):

"I enjoyed experimenting things outside. It is lots of fun and it is exciting."
"I learnt that every action has a reaction. It was fun because it was very exciting. The only thing I didn't like was the smell!" (Vinegar)
"I leant about forces, and I liked the bottle races."
"It was very fun and I want to do it again."

To develop your outdoor learning and school grounds get in touch
with Felicity on 07968 771582 or email info@landscapesnaturally.co.uk