New Recruit makes Debut at our Creative Science and Technology Day at St. Andrew’s VA Primary School, Laverstock
Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012
On a cold, but sunny day in early February, the latest recruit to the education team – Li'l O the Great Bustard Chick – made a stunning debut as the inspiration for the Creative Science and Technology Day held at St. Andrew's VA Primary School, Laverstock. Class 3 spent the day gaining insight into the work of the GBG and the life of our Great Bustards.
Li'l O proved an instant hit with the pupils who were inspired to design and make models where he and the eggs were well camouflaged. The models were based on work on ecosystems, habitats and the geography of Salisbury Plain. This compliments Class 3's current curriculum. To make the models, pupils had to understand the specific needs of Great Bustards.
A workshop on Comeback Contenders, including beavers, large blue butterflies and wild boar, plus, of course, Great Bustards, helped the pupils gain insight into the broader picture of wildlife re-introduction, especially their own local species and the work involved by the GBG. Once they had followed Li'l O's journey from an egg in Russia to the Plain, including time in the rearing pen in Saratov, they had good reason to see Li'l O as a Super-bird. They reflected on the ethics of re-introducing species and what would happen to the eggs if they weren't rescued; the birds that are released here; those that are not released; helping both U.K. and Russian wildlife; plus jobs that are created here and in Russia.
For fun we challenged the pupils to think of Li'l O with an alter ego as a Super Hero. They gave a name, designated special powers and made a super vehicle with gadgets to help Li'l O in the super role. Interestingly, the pupils chose Bustard-related challenges for Li'l O, mainly rescuing chicks and saving the birds from predators.
After lunch, we studied the attributes of real Great Bustards as Super Birds. This was followed by a workshop on flight and wing structures, involving the science of the flight and wings of aeroplanes, helicopters and birds . We learnt about the biology and structure of birds that enable them to fly – or not - as in the case of penguins and ostriches.
The culmination of the day was making flying paper Bustards and testing them in the school hall with an obstacle course representing threats to real flying bustards such as pylons and electricity cables, water, settlements and marshy areas. Other classes came to watch the testing which was great fun.
Throughout the day pupils were thinking, making, doing, reflecting and planning. After each activity they were expected to discuss their work and how it could be improved and what they would like to share with others and work on in class. Finally, they analysed the day as a whole and how they had worked as individuals and contributed to their team. They began work on how they will share the day with the rest of the school and decided to make their class assembly a Great Bustard Assembly.
Each pupil received a Li'l O replica [see website on how to make your own Li'l O], a Fergus badge, a certificate and great Bustard poster. The class was given a plaque as a memento of the day. It was a huge pleasure spending the day at St. Andrew's. The pupils were excellent ambassadors for St. Andrew's and young people their age. They were polite, helpful and enthusiastic and were focussed and engaged throughout the day working over and above the level required by our high standards of challenging learning. It is clear from the reflection and planning sessions that the pupils learned a lot. We appreciated the commitment of everyone and know that the day has stimulated thought for future work in the school's curriculum.
Our thanks to Mrs. Karen Walker, Headteacher, Mrs. Claire Woodward, Class 3 teacher and all the rest of the school for their warm welcome and hospitality.
Also thanks to Karen, Lynda and Tricia for their time preparing the resources and facilitating the day.