Having decided we would continue to look at the minibeasts found in our forest garden, some of the children in Sycamore class had the opportunity to create their own.
The children were each given some clay and asked to make their own egg. Having made their egg they each had to think of a minibeast they would like to create that had never been seen on Earth before. Each of these monster minibeasts would have their own special protection or weapons that would allow them to defend themselves against their predators.
The children then ‘hatched’ their eggs and using natural materials found in the garden, created their very own monster minibeast.
Have a look at some of their amazing creations and watch their videos. These explain some of the minibeasts incredibly clever defences and some of their extraordinary powers………………………..
Which power or defence would you choose?????????????????????
Well another great week of discoveries in the Forest garden and in particular in the pond. Many of the children had their first experience of pond dipping and were delighted with the very healthy range of wildlife we found there.
It was equally as exciting for the adults, some of whom had never seen the amazing intricate work of the ‘home’ created by a caddis fly or the fierce looking pincers on a water scorpion.
All of the children were given a ‘safety’ talk and shown how to use charts and dials to identify some of the minibeasts found. They were also shown how to dip safely, by either lying on their tummy at the edge of the pond or by using the safe kneeling position (one knee up and the other down).
Following last week’s minibeast hunts, Sycamore class were given the task of identifying, sorting and classifying minibeasts today in Forest School.
The class sorted themselves into groups of 5 and 6 and then rotated round some of the activities including;
pond dipping and using a branching diagram to identify the creatures found.
Pond creatures identification chart
going on a minibeast hunt and sorting the minibeasts found onto a carroll diagram.
sorting minibeasts that had been found, into different animal groups, such as crustaceans, myriapods, annelids and insects.
The children were provided with identification charts, close up photographs and books to help with the identification.
Here are some of today’s findings and the things we used to catch and identify the minibeasts…….
After lunch the children were asked to think of a name to give their ‘team’. Their name had to have a link with minibeasts and had to include a ‘WOW’ word.
After much negotiation and deliberation the teams decided upon;
The Amazing Sticklebacks
Super Spider Shieldbugs
The Powerful Spiders
The Amazing Weevils
Great names don’t you think???? And all based on something the children had caught earlier in the day.
After another session outside, we ended the day with a review of the children’s learning, in the form of a minibeast quiz.
Name a minibeast that belongs to the ARACHNID family.
Clues; Arachnids have 2 body parts, no antennae. (The children were not give the last clue – arachnids have 8 legs)
Name 2 minibeasts that belong to the MOLLUSC family.
Clues; Molluscs have an unsegmented soft body and some have a shell. Some have a muscular foot that helps them move and they lay eggs.
Name a minibeast that belongs to the ANNELID family.
Clues; Annelids have a long soft, segmented body and no legs.
Name 4 minibeasts that belongs to the INSECT family.
Clues; Insects have 3 body parts, head, thorax, abdomen, 6 legs, 1 pair of antennae and usually 2 pairs of wings.
Name 2 minibeasts that belong to the MYRIAPOD family.
Clues; Myriapods have long segmented bodies and many legs. They have one pair of antennae.
How many do you think you know the answer to?????
Amazingly all the teams scored at least 4 out of 5, but the challenge winners were……..
THE SUPER SPIDER SHIELDBUGS with 5 out of 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well done girls!!!!!!!!! Well done Sycamore class.
Well, the schools youngest learners have been busy again!
Our new theme within school is ‘Wellbeing and Changes’. The early years children have begun by exploring the types of foods that keep us healthy.
We have opened our own cafe and are now busy planning out the types of fruit and vegetables that we want to plant in our very own allotment! The children have prepared the allotment area and discussed which plants might thrive and which may need to be cultivated within the polytunnel.
Well it was a day full of showers but that didn’t deter Holly class from embracing the role of super scientists today. Due to the very wet and windy weather, all the children and staff needed to kit themselves up in waterproofs before making their way down to the forest garden.
As with Ash class yesterday the children were set the challenge of finding 5 habitats in the garden that were wildlife friendly.
Unbelievably the class identified 15 different habitats including under the ground, in trees, log piles, minibeast hotels, the pond, in the grass, in the sand, in bushes and in the flower beds. This has now set a record for Key Stage 1!
After a tasty snack of apples and carrots the children began their minibeast mission. How many different minibeasts could they find?
Take a look and see……..
After lunch Holly class again took on the role of scientists and this time as well as hunting for minibeasts, they had to collect data about them and record their findings. Lots of the children were unsure of the number of legs that an ant had so we looked closely at the number of legs each minibeast had. We also looked at the patterns and colours on their bodies and legs and recorded the habitat we had found them in.
Can you identify all the different minibeasts we found?
We were incredibly lucky today as we found weevils, larvae, caterpillars, mating ladybirds (ladybirds making babies) and a spider who was carrying around her egg sack. Amazing!!!!!!!
Why don’t you take a really close look around your school grounds and your gardens at home? See which minibeast marvels you can find.
Please send us your photos or leave us a comment. We would love to know what you find out. :0)
Well today it was Ash class who were given the task of minibeast hunting and identification.
The day started with a mini challenge……. finding something that looked prickly but felt soft. Most of the class found leaves that matched the criteria including those on a rowan tree and those on the lupins.
After a recap on last week’s forest sessions, Ash class took on the 5 minute habitat challenge. Could they succeed in finding 5 different wildlife friendly habitats in the forest garden, in 5 minutes?
And the answer was………………………………………….YES!!!!!
The habitats found were our pond, the trees, under ground, in the grass, on flowers, under stones and logs, the compost bins and log piles, along with our minibeast hotels.
The prize was snack and a drink!
After re-energising, the children were able to select their own equipment to go searching for minibeasts.
After all this hard work Ash class were in need of more food so ate lunch followed by some free play time.
The children were then given the task to become ‘Super Scientists’. Could they collect real evidence to show the types of minibeasts we could find in the forest garden, identify the number of legs each had, the habitat they were found in and a description of their colour? Each child had their own chart to fill in and all the evidence would be collected at the end of the session.
Here are the SUPER SCIENTISTS and what they found……..
If you would like to find out what Ash class enjoyed and what they learnt, please click on the video link below
As part of our theme on ‘Wellbeing’, we have decided to look in more detail at the wildlife we have in our school grounds. We are also looking at the different areas we have within the school grounds to see which are wildlife friendly and which could do with improving.
First we need to know the kinds of birds, animals and minibeasts that we already have and then we can think about ways of attracting a wider variety to our garden.
Today’s mission was to find as many different kinds of minibeast in the garden and identify the habitats we found them in. Each of us was given a chart to record our findings on.
So off we went…………………………
Take a look at some of the minibeasts we found……
After all this we were in need of our lunch!
Following our lunch we spent a few minutes talking to people we had not worked with to compare our findings. There were only a few of us that found more than one of the same kind of minibeast. Some of our findings were the same and some were quite different. Lots of us found woodlice in dark and damp places like under stones and in the fresh compost.
Our next challenge involved us CAREFULLY catching different minibeasts and looking at them under magnifying glasses. We had to look carefully at their body parts and try and identify them using a chart. This was really tricky but Jo sometimes used her phone to take photographs of our minibeasts, enlarging them so we could find them a little easier on the charts provided.
At the end of the day Jo gave us our final challenge. Sort the minibeasts we had found today into a venn diagram. The categories were ‘minibeasts with wings’ and the other was ‘minibeasts with legs’. Jo thought she would be able to trick us by asking us where we would put a snail and a slug, but we were too clever and knew they had to go round the outside of both circles.
We would like to share with you some of the things we learned and some of the things we learned.
Please click on the video links below to find out what they were.
Jo learned a lot today as well and can now recognise some beetle larvae, that centipedes can be very different in appearance and that the tiny black winged fly looking things on the back of the sycamore leaves were in fact female aphids!!!!!
Wonder what Ash class will find tomorrow?????????????
This week in Forest School we have been looking at the different habitats that we have in our school grounds.
Most of us had never heard of the word ‘habitat’ before but we have learnt that it means a place where living things make their home. We also talked about the various things that living creatures needed and decided they all needed food to eat, something to drink and a place to sleep and try and keep safe.
We started to look at some of the different habitats found in the forest garden; trees, under rocks and stones, log piles, in the grass and in the flower beds. We explored some of these habitats using our senses and chose words to describe our thoughts.
Carys thought it smelt “sour” under rocks, whilst Keisha thought it felt slimy and gooey under a bag of rotting leaves.
Naffie thought the grass smelt ‘minty’ and Josh was surprised to find that although some plants looked “prickly”, they actually felt “soft”.
Some of us thought we could hear “chirpy” sounds under ground and in the trees too.
We had a great time exploring and lots of us found minibeasts hiding in our chosen habitats.
Our last challenge this week was to look carefully around the school and decide which areas we thought were wildlife friendly and those we thought could be improved. We think that our forest garden is a great place for wildlife as there are plenty of different habitats, lots of places to hide and there is a supply of food and water. Now we want to know which kinds of birds, animals and minibeasts we have in the garden and who visits us at night.
We have been thinking a lot about the kind of things that we could use to help us learn about the animals in our garden and the different ways that we could share our findings.
Please click on the links below to watch videos of us explaining our ideas.
So, next week we are going to look more closely at the different minibeasts we find in the garden to see how many different kinds we have. We are also going to look at which habitats they prefer.
Which minibeasts do you think we will have most of?
How many different kinds do you think we might find?
Can you think of any equipment that might help us?
Just before the Easter holidays we were thinking about traditional tales.
Jo wanted to give us some problem solving tasks linked to these stories and so we spent a couple of days outside, thinking carefully and working together to find solutions.
Here’s what we got up to………………………………….
Fun in the forest with traditional tales on PhotoPeach
“It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before… to test your limits… to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
I have recently had the pleasure of holding a couple of Forest School open days at Ashbrow where staff from other settings have come for a taster of Forest School, in a school. Although this is a relatively new experience it has been a real privilege to share our Forest School journey with others who have a real interest in learning more.
One of the most valuable parts of the day has been sharing the Forest School ethos and it’s unique educational approach to outdoor play and learning. The philosophy of Forest School is to inspire and encourage people of any age, through positive outdoor experiences. Sessions are centred on the learners themselves, drawing on their interests and imagination. Qualified Forest School practitioners bring the learning to life in a real context. The sessions promote freedom and choice, encouraging and valuing self-directed learning, discovery and free play. Huge emphasis is placed on developing and maintaining positive relationships, be they staff with staff, staff with children or children with children.
Forest School leaders facilitate learning and understand when to offer support and when to take a step back.
All of this can appear quite daunting……..
We are so used to ‘teaching’ children and ‘directing’ what happens that this very different way of working can, at first, feel quite ‘alien’ and uncomfortable. For some this journey into the unknown is all a little scary.
However this is also part of the excitement!!!!!
As adults we often find it harder to step outside of our comfort zone and so to illustrate this idea we set our visitors a little challenge of their own……..
….exploring their sense of touch with ………..their BARE feet!
Now on a lovely warm summer’s day, this might not sound like much of a challenge. But, it wasn’t. Instead it was a cold, wet and miserable February day!
Testing the terrain
And to challenge them even further………
A barefoot, blindfold trail up the wooden steps and down the grassy slope!
And the verdict………..
…….. they pushed their boundaries and ALL took the plunge!!!!!!