Suitable For: Key Stage 1
Theme: Scientific enquiry; Geographical enquiry; Life Processes and living things; Physical processes; Environmental Issues; Knowledge and understanding of places; Knowledge and understanding of patterns and processes.
Knowledge & Understanding: That there are places in the world that are very different from where we live. That some places in the world are under threat from environmental change. That humans are curators of our planet and have the ability to save or destroy environments.
Skills: Planning; working together; collecting resources and information; asking questions; applying imagination; thinking about the needs of others; being organised; problem solving; communicating; processing and evaluating information; giving reasons for opinions and action; making judgements and decisions; predicting outcomes.
Values: That as humans, we have a wider responsibility than simply the need to value and care for ourselves.
Scientific enquiry; Geographical enquiry; Life Processes and living things; Physical processes; Environmental Issues; Knowledge and understanding of places; Knowledge and understanding of patterns and processes.
Potential Enquiry Questions
Why are some places under threat?
Do humans have the ability to save an environment or species?
Can some places be more important than others?
Why / how is our planet changing?
What makes an environment unique?
Can we live and work together in an unfamiliar and new environment?
Designing The Expert Frame
The uninhabited island of Pulau Nila, in Indonesia, is under threat from flooding due to global warming. Although explorers have been to the island, nobody really knows about the plant and animal life there.
The Team of Experts
A group of top scientists from around the world have been asked to go to live on the island for one year and to record all the plant and animal life there. These scientists are animal and plant experts. Other members of the team might include a doctor, engineer, cook etc.
The World Wildlife Organisation. The Indonesian government.
- To prepare and plan for the trip
- To travel to the island safely
- To set up camp on the island
- To log the plant and animal life on the island
- To ascertain if there are any rare species that will need to be saved.
- To leave the island as they found it
Possible steps in ……..
- The children look at Google Earth on the IW. What can they see as the earth spins round? Zoom in on the school to show where we are now. Spin round to the Indian Ocean / South Pacific. What do we think all the tiny dots in the middle of the sea are? Zoom in on any small, uninhabited island (you would have to had researched this previously to ensure a clear image and no buildings!). What can we see. Ask the children to draw the shape of the island using small whiteboards and write it’s name. They could also begin to draw on some of the main features they can see – lakes, mountains etc.
- The children begin to make a big collage of the island to go up on the wall, showing the main geographical features. This will be a reference point throughout the work and will be constantly added to as we discover more about the island. Teams of 3 / 4 also begin to make maps of the island on large pieces of card to be used in the same way as the big communal map. As they are doing this you can start giving out slips of paper with 5 points of information about the island: There are no humans living here; It is very hot; It rains a lot; It is very beautiful; There are dangerous places here.
- Tell the children that when explorers first found this island, they began to name the places they discovered. â€˜They called one of the beaches â€˜Golden Stones Beach’ because of the beautiful, shiny pebbles that lay there.’ Ask the children to think about other features they might have found on the island and the names that were given. Children to go off and draw features, then to write name labels to go with them. These can start to go up onto the communal map and also their team maps.
NB Up to now the children are not yet working in role as experts – they have just created the imaginary landscape ready for the drama to begin.
- Slowly reveal a sign – it says â€˜H.M.S. Explorer’. It has â€˜nail holes’ on each corner and this year’s date underneath. Ask the children what the sign could be for – what might the initials stand for? Where might it be nailed?. Help them out if they do not come up with the boat idea straight away. (The date will help them imagine a modern boat – not a pirate ship !!). Begin to draw a big picture of the boat – ask the children to come up with all their own details and draw these on.
- Teacher in role as a portrait or photograph of the Captain. Who do we think it is? What can we tell about this person from the way they’re standing in the portrait? Where might this portrait be hanging? Ask the children to start imagining what the captain’s cabin would look like – what sort of furniture and equipment would he have there. At this point you can start to go into a shadowy role â€˜ I haven’t been allowed in here before – it’s a lot bigger than my cabin ….’ The children might pick up on this and begin to talk as â€˜we’ or â€˜I’ in role. Now imagine that the classroom is the Captain’s cabin. Use pieces of paper to sign up the room i.e. draw or write â€˜desk’ and put it in the room where you think the desk will be. NB it doesn’t matter if there a 6 desks, 4 beds etc (it doesn’t need to be â€˜true life’ as long as the scenario is owned by the children and makes sense to them). As they are doing this, place an opened envelope with a letter inside addressed to the captain on his â€˜desk’.
- Someone will have probably brought the envelope to you by now. If not ask somebody to go and get it. The envelope is addressed to the captain. â€˜I guess we can’t look at a letter that’s got someone else’s name on it. Do we all agree about this? ‘We’ll have to ask the captain what it says if we want to know’. Teacher can go into role of the captain at this point and read out the letter. The letter is from the World Wildlife Organisation explaining the commission, the purpose of the voyage and the role of the team of scientists on board the ship. It talks about the island (the children will now link this with the island they have been mapping) and mentions the equipment that is on board. You can now begin to shift the vague â€˜we’ of the previous step to the â€˜we’ as in the scientists on board. You could start with something like â€˜If we were the scientists on board, how would we be feeling about this trip?
Are we prepared for it – living a whole year on an uninhabited island? â€˜ Are we all scientists or are there other members in our team? (A doctor / cook / engineer). Can we show the moment when we pose for a photograph on the dock before the ship set sail? (Take a real photograph that a TA can print out straight away). What were we thinking as that photo was being taken? Our thoughts might have been very different from the way we appeared in the photo. As the team pose for their photo touch individual members on the shoulder and ask them what they are thinking. â€˜The photo appeared in papers all over the world the next day. What would the caption have said?’ Ask the children to write a caption for the photo which has been put up on the wall.
- The letter talked about the special equipment that is on board the ship. ‘Where on board is it stored? What sort of equipment is it? I suppose there must be all the survival equipment and food and then all the specialist scientific equipment.’
Ask the children to go and draw the equipment that is stores in the hold of the ship. Put a big outline of the hold on the floor, divided into two parts: survival equipment; scientific equipment. Get the children to stick their pictures in the appropriate place.
- Approaching the island. Ask the children to go about their daily routines on board ship. Suddenly they hear the cry of â€˜Land Ahoy!’ Could this be the island? They can take turns to come and look through the telescope and say what they can see. Look at our large wall map. Where would be the best landing place? We need to be careful of rocks etc – a beach might be a safe landing place? Go forward now to the moment we are all standing on the beach. Ask the team to make a still image – some might be standing in groups, some by themselves, looking around – getting their first impressions of the island. Teacher begins to talk about the island ,evoking the dramatic imagination â€˜here on the beach the sun beats down on my shoulders but over there in the forest all is dark and still. Teacher then uses prompt words relating to the d. imagination to get the children to speak about what they are imagining: darkness / light / sound / silence / movement / stillness.
- â€˜How are we feeling as we stand for the first time on the island where we are going to be living for a year? I wonder who else’s footprints have made a mark on this beach? Are we the first? Will we remember this moment in the future – maybe when we are really old? It would be good to have something special to remind us of this important moment. Roll out a long sheet of lining paper. Ask the children to draw around their foot on a piece of paper and to write their first thoughts as they stepped on to the island inside their footprint. They can then stick their footprint onto the â€˜beach’ and begin to draw the pebbles, stones, driftwood etc all around.