Outdoor Adventures

It has been a very busy 8 weeks at St. Giles full of exciting learning projects and activities. We are blessed with incredible grounds and want to make the most of them. Here's a little of how we've been exploiting the natural landscape of the school this half term.

In Classes 1 and 2 we started our 'Wriggle and Crawl' topic at the beginning of the year with a minibeast hunt in the infant playground. It was a damp afternoon so we found lots of minibeasts such as woodlice, slugs, worms, centipedes and millipedes hiding in dark damp places like underneath logs. We used magnifying glasses to get a better look and we talked about the habitats that the minibeasts were living in and why they might like the conditions there.

We went for another minibeast hunt on the school field on a fine day to compare whether we could see any different minibeasts and we saw a cranefly, a bee and some flies as well as many of the minibeasts we had seen during the previous minibeast hunt. We thought that we had seen some flying minibeasts because it was a dry day.

Later in the term, the children learned about the artist Andy Goldsworthy, and used natural materials to create some wonderful mini-beast art inspired by him.

Raiders and Traders has been a hands on, exciting topic which has allowed Class 3 to take part in a range of outdoor learning. Their WOW starter for the topic was building Viking longships (see previous blog post for all the interesting information) using recycled and natural materials. It was a push to get our entire group inside our boats, but we did it!

Later on, we designed and made traditional weapons out of natural materials. The children scouted through our forest craft area and found sticks and stones to attempt to construct their own axes or spears. The trickiest part was attaching the two pieces together, especially only using parts of the forest. Luckily some sneaky string found its way into the forest area and the weaponry started to take shape.

Finally the children were able to construct a wall of a wattle and daub house; a building method used by the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. The children carefully cut long pieces of willow tree and weaved them through the structure. Then they mixed dirt and hay (originally manure too) with some water to get a nice sloppy consistency. Next was the fun part, using our hands to push the mixture into the willow wall. Lots of dirty hands but just as many big smiles.

Class 4 have spent this half term exploring the trees and plants around the grounds. In Science we learned how Linneaus devised a system for sorting living things and how these related to one another. We were most surprised to discover that spiders and scorpions can belong in the same family.

We went out to explore the different trees we had in the grounds, used sorting diagrams to identify them using the shape and size of the leaves and how they were grouped on a branch. We were fascinated by how many different varieties of tree we had, but also how many were related to one another.

After learning about the Black Death, we learned how medicines were made using plants. After researching the medicinal properties of plants we set off into the grounds to see which plants were had, and to then research what ailments could be treated with them.

Our final task was to design a cream which could be used to treat rashes and skin conditions using only the plants in the school grounds. We chose the plants that had specific skin benefits and carefully selected the best leaves and plant parts to be used.After chopping, boiling and blending, our creams were ready.

Finally we rounded off a very busy term by having a Forest Craft session: building fires, making smores and roasting chestnuts. It was a lovely way to finish the term and we are looking forward to many more days learning outside next term.

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