The RRS Discovery
At the beginning of the 20th century Antarctica was still an uncharted wilderness. Exploration was a long and formidable task, the mission was to be purely exploratory but resulted in the Discovery being first to reach the South Pole. The Discovery ship was constructed in Dundee due to its expertise in whaling and was to go on three main journeys South. Firstly, was the exploration trip to the Arctic led by Lieutenant Robert Falcon Scott. The expectation was scientiﬁc, to make magnetic surveys and carry out meteorological, oceanographic, geological and biological research. The second was, the Discovery Oceanographic Expedition, this again was a research expedition and led to our understanding of the whale and saw the beginnings of conservation thinking. The final exploration was the B.A.N.Z.A.R. Expedition. This is where whole new lands were discovered and charted, and a mass of geological and zoological samples was collected, as were several chunks of territory on behalf of the British Government. (Dundee Heritage Trust, 2018)
The Discovery offers a multitude of learning opportunities for students ranging from early to second level. One workshop that is particularly tailored to first level is the “experience life as a polar explorer” workshop. This can allow children to develop knowledge and understanding about what life was like for a Polar explorer over 100 years ago. Through this workshop I see several learning intentions that are supported through Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) social studies experiences and outcomes. Firstly, to make a personal link to the past by exploring items or images connected with important individuals or special events. Second, to explore how people lived in the past and use imaginative play to show how their lives were different. Thirdly, to compare aspects of people’s daily lives in the past with their own by using historical evidence and the experience of recreating an historical setting.
The Discovery also offers a range of cross-curricular links to enrich children’s learning experience in social studies. Having a school field trip to the RRS Discovery will also support and develop children’s literacy and allow them the opportunity to practice these skills. This can be shown in the CfE literacy and English experiences and outcomes. Cross curricular learning between social studies and literacy and English can enable children to develop their skills in talking and listening, responding with respect and being enquirers in their own learning.
Interdisciplinary learning has many advantages and provides a more comprehensive learning experience for students. Education Scotland, 2012 defined interdisciplinary learning as “a planned approach to learning which uses links across different subjects or disciplines to enhance learning.” Interdisciplinary learning can be very exciting to students as a learning opportunity. This is supported by Barnes who states “cross curricular learning is often used as a motivator, or to offer more depth to a theme than than a single subject could do.” (2018, p. xv)
Barnes, J. (2018) Applying Cross-curricular Approaches Creatively. Abingdon: Routledge.
Dundee Heritage Trust (2018) Royal Research Ship Discovery, Learning. Available at: https://www.rrsdiscovery.com/learn/ (Accessed: 28 October 2018).
Education Scotland (2018) Curriculum for Excellence: literacy and English experiences and outcomes. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/literacy-english-eo.pdf (Accessed: 29 October 2018).
Education Scotland (2018) Curriculum for Excellence: social studies experiences and outcomes. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/social-studies-eo.pdf (Accessed: 29 October 2018).
Education Scotland (2012) CfE briefing 4: Interdisciplinary Learning. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/cfe-briefing-4.pdf (Accessed: 31 October 2018).