38 primary teachers from 8 different local authorities landed on the Isle of Cumbrae between the 14-16th November for a fun packed weekend of Outdoor Learning. The Social Studies fieldwork skills CLPL was held at the Field Studies Council centre in Millport. The course was fully funded by Education Scotland and organised in conjunction with Scottish FSC manager, Daniel Moncrieff, and his team.
FSC Scotland delivers Primary, Environmental, Biology, Adventurous Activity and Geography courses for over 5000 students a year. The course built on this expertise and introduced participants to a range of different fieldwork activities which can be used with primary school students. The course was aimed at primary teachers and educators who wanted to further develop their skills to support and lead outdoor learning.
On Saturday, the course focused on Biodiversity and school grounds activities. Engaging activities to illustrate geographical processes included Kung Fu, Geosquishing and Sensory Mapping.
A trip to the Rocky Shore included a competitive scavenge for seal life, making Rocky Shore Real Estate adverts, using string quadrats to compare different areas of plants, and using found objects to create environmental beach art.
The afternoon consisted of fun interactive games helping to explain food chains and food webs, digging for and collecting worm data (using one of the free Citizen Science Opal packs), a trip to the aquarium to study plankton under the microscope and an energetic game of Star Orienteering.
On Sunday the focus was on Energy and the Viking history of the island. The Viking activities included landscape poetry, sound maps, family dramas and a superb Viking Changing Rooms activity where groups had to piece together the interior of a Viking home.
The Energy activity introduced annotated sketches and photos. The groups explored the advantages and drawbacks of different energy production methods present on the Clyde (including wind, coal and nuclear) and considered possible and probable futures over the next 100 years based on these activities. IPads were used to GPS log and annotate photos and to film imaginative stories explaining the litter objects found on the beach from the perspective of someone from 2600!
The feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive:
“I was not confident in my ability to come up with and deliver creative lessons which targeted the relevant CfE outcomes for Social Studies. With all the great ideas for games and activites I can transfer these skills to pretty much any outcome (with some tweaking of course).”
“The best bit was the practical nature of the whole weekend. It gave the opportunity to feel like the pupil and how they would benefit from all the different types of learning we experienced.”
“Daniel was absolutely fantastic at delivering every experience. His humour and intelligence go hand in hand.”
“The resources needed were easily accessible, cheap and did not require specialist knowledge.”
“I loved the rocky shore activity because it is something I could easily adapt at the allotment – searching through leaf piles and logs, etc.”
“I loved how they brought the history of the Vikings to life, incorporating Social Studies, literacy and Drama. I plan to adapt this activity next term during the Victorians IDL topic.”
“I enjoyed the course enormously. The course instructors were enthusiastic, passionate and very helpful. I look forward to taking outdoor learning to a higher level and delivering meaningful and engaging learning experiences to children.”
“Excellent opportunity for teachers to not only gain experience and knowledge of outdoor learning but it also provided an opportunity for teachers to get together and share experiences informally without paper work and expectations.”
The Education Scotland Social Studies team plan to run more opportunities in the future for primary and secondary teachers to improve their fieldwork skills.
Sign up now to the Social Studies E-Bulletin so you don’t miss out: http://bit.do/e-bulletin
Log on to the Social Studies Network on Glow to share your thoughts on Outdoor Learning: http://bit.do/socialstudiespl
Contact Daniel and his staff at Millport FSC for more information about class visits and OPAL Survey packs: firstname.lastname@example.org