In the first year of Endeavour there was some trepidation as to whether the project could work. To me the key to the success of Endeavour was children working independently and being challenged. This meant support of planning and monitoring of progress but not having adults do the project for the children; support from home was purely in providing opportunities and resources. I did not want children coming in to school with lovely posters or models that their parents had spent hours preparing for them. I also needed children to take on tasks that challenged them suitably through developing new skills and knowledge- they had to come across problems and find solutions and if that wasn’t happening then the project was not challenging enough.
In the first year of Endeavour one of the outstanding projects was a documentary on sheep farming which was made my a primary 7 girl who lived on a farm. In order to make the project challenging she had to do more than present what she already knew about farming in a powerpoint. She decided to create a documentary on a year in the life of a sheep farmer, and her key new skills were learning how to make a documentary film. After analyzing some David Attenborough documentaries she was able to plan how her film would look using a storyboard.
At each stage in the sheep farming cycle she would film the process on the farm and then bring the video into school to edit and add narration. She recorded every stage of the process; from her lambing a sheep to selling her own sheep at the local auction mart, for which she was given the morning out of school. She even organised a visit to the abattoir with the local Vet, and filmed the final stage of the process, with the vet showing her the anatomy of the sheep. This part of the filming process was not included in the final cut for viewing audiences however! She also identified key areas of knowledge she would need as a sheep farmer, such as diseases and official record keeping, and researched these often challenging areas very successfully. The final film was a big hit at the Endeavour presentation to parents and was a true reflection of the hard work and independent learning involved. Although supported by her parents in accessing resources, the work was all her own, and an excellent example of how Endeavour can work well.
You can see the video below: