Getting Ahead with Bantock Primary and Colton Hills Community School

Getting Ahead with Bantock Primary and Colton Hills Community School

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Learning Technologies Team and the HeadStart Youth Engagement Team took digital HeadStart to the wilds of Wales.

Staying at The Towers Outdoor Education Centre, they were joined by 48 students over five days, 24 from Bantock Primary who stayed Monday to Wednesday, and a further 24 students from Colton Hills Community School, who joined us from Wednesday to Friday.

 

Day 1

Whilst enjoying some beautiful winter sunshine, we set up a number of challenges for the students to participate in. Once settled in, students were split into groups of four to play our orienteering game with a twist. Each team had a map and were told to find a particular numbered station on the map, they set off in all directions to hunt for their first point.
Upon finding the station, a QR code had been placed there, they scanned the code to reveal a memory task for one of the team members. The teams had to find 12 stations in all. When all teams had completed the orienteering task, they were tested to see what they had remembered.
We set up a courtroom and invited a ‘Low Court Judge’ to preside over the answers. If correct, the team member received a warm round of applause. If incorrect, the team were put before the firing squad, which consisted of two powerful water pistols that sprayed the whole team. Many teams got wet.

The purpose of the game is for the team members to learn about each other, interact with each other and work as a team. The water pistols offered excitement, fear and risk of consequences.
After drying off and enjoying a hot evening meal, the students went out into the dark for a night walk. Armed with head torches, they scrambled over challenging terrain in the dark, using ropes to pull themselves up steep banks and navigating fallen trees. The walk lasted some distance and on their return from the chilly January darkness, everyone was ready for hot chocolate and an early night.

 

Day 2.

The day of the big expedition, built around the popular ‘Pokémon Go’ game, we hid Pokeballs across 6 miles of the Welsh countryside. Each team had to follow a digital map to find points where the Pokeballs were hidden. Along the way were clues to the correct route in the form of different Pokémon posters, when scanned, the posters opened a series of questions for the team to answer, points were awarded for the most correct answers hidden in the app. We used iBeacons to unlock information when the teams reached the correct locations. Guidance and supervision for the teams was kept at a distance, the learners had to think for themselves and make decisions as a team, they learned Geography skills, communication and coordination skills and developed their sense of responsibility.

 

Day 3.

T-Shirt day. We talked about how we reacted to difficult times in our lives and the people we wanted to be, how we presented ourselves and how we wanted to make the most of opportunities before us. The learners made a promise to themselves and designed a t shirt around that promise. They will all receive their t shirts in the coming weeks as a reminder of who they want to be.

Robotics Session at Fallings Park Primary

On 04/03/16 the Learning Technologies Team paid a visit to Fallings Park Primary School to conduct a robotics session with Year 3. The session involved using Lego WeDo sets; Lego sets that are specifically designed for primary school children to investigate the principals of robotics and to build their own creations.

In groups of two the children worked through the Lego programme on tablets and followed instructions to each build a small plane. They then used the tablets to program the propeller on the plane to spin when the model was tilted. The children also had the opportunity to construct a model of their choice from a selection which included a walking lion, a snapping alligator and a tweeting bird among many more.

During the session the children investigated the role of technology and the different components that made the models work, including motors, motion sensors and tilt bricks. All of the children really got stuck into the activities and said that they especially enjoyed working with Lego.

Kingswood Activity Day with Rakegate Primary School

Kingswood Activity Day with Rakegate Primary School

On 23/02/16 the Learning Technologies Team hosted Rakegate Primary School’s Year 4 class at Kingswood Centre in Staffordshire for a day of outdoor adventure and learning.

The main activity for the day was technology-led orienteering, which involved the children tracking down bluetooth beacons hidden across the leafy grounds of Kingswood using just an ipad and a map.

Bluetooth beacons are small devices that broadcast signals which can be heard by smart devices nearby. Using a specialist app on the ipads along with a map, the children were able to navigate their way across the grounds in groups ticking off each beacon as it was discovered.

With every beacon came a different challenge. As the children came within range of a beacon instructions appeared on the ipad, setting tasks which tested their technological skills as well as their knowledge of the outdoors. The children practiced macro photography, experimented with animation, created a video interview to complement their own digital newspaper and undertook some scientific investigations using data loggers to measure the temperature, light and noise of different locations in Kingswood. They also had the opportunity to get up close with the local wildlife, taking part in bird watching and meeting Kingswood’s resident sheep, rabbits and mini-beasts.

The children thoroughly enjoyed the tasks, and rated the day “5 stars out of 5 stars”. The most popular activities were photographing the sheep, building a bird’s nest and completing puzzles and games on the ipads.

“I’ve enjoyed today because I’ve seen so much stuff, this was my first time being at Kingswood and I’m just really happy to be here.”

“Today has been the best day of my life because it’s better than having to write and do literacy and maths. We got to go outside and explore.”

“An enjoyable day that the children have found thoroughly engaging. A nice way of taking learning and technology outdoors. All children were encouraged to work independently and handled both ipads and data loggers with care.” – Miss Chaudhury