KS2 Pupils went on ‘an awesome Arctic adventure’, The Crypt “Teaching School”, Gloucester and Wicked Weather Watch (WWW)
Yes, it was off to the Arctic with 90+ pupils and their teachers and TAs from 7 local primary schools. After registering and being allocated a ‘country’ group (relating to those found within the Arctic Circle or with close connections), pupils gathered at the front of the main school hall with their teachers/TAs.
Children were challenged to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of the Arctic whilst awaiting the arrival of all schools. We used Google Earth to take participants on a virtual trip to the Arctic, asking them to contemplate the direction that we would have to head, how far it would be, how long it would take to travel there and by what means you could do so. An inflatable globe was used to provide a different perspective of the Arctic region, before encouraging them to congregate around the huge, interactive, physical, circumpolar map that was laid out. Some youngsters were invited to remove their shoes and join on the map to learn physical and human features, as well as share some interesting facts about this incredible region of our planet.
Some went into the ICT Suite and a neighbouring classroom to consider two enquiry questions in depth, namely: What are the challenges facing the Arctic today? What will the Arctic look like in the future? Children accessed Google Earth and ‘zoomed in’ on the Arctic with the aim of developing their place and locational knowledge. They conducted a search for their ‘country’ and then double-clicked the map to gain a detailed ‘bird’s eye view’. Clicked on various icons to gain further information, accessed images and viewed movie clips. The children found this fascinating and could have continued exploring with Google Earth - having their own PC was a novelty for some too.
Children analysed two satellite images, taken of the same place, at the same time of year, but a few years apart (Sept. 1984 compared with Sept.2016) and played ‘spot the difference’. The children were very observant, noting that the extent of the ice had changed significantly (shrinking from nearly 1.9 million square kilometres to 109 000 square kilometres), the shape of the land area was different as new islands had been revealed and coastal or low-lying regions had been submerged due to ice melting and sea levels rising; and that the ice varied in colour, from blue-grey (youngest) to pure white (oldest).
Towards the end of the session, the children were encouraged to think about what they now knew about the region and the various images that they had seen and challenged them to come up with ten words that best described the Arctic. Each row recorded their ideas onto a postcard. These were then collected in and a whole group word cloud created to clearly display their selections. The children had some fantastic words on their lists, e.g. magical; inspirational; barren, as well as recalling a number of key physical and human features, e.g. permafrost; tundra; Northern Lights. Hopefully, teachers will be able to make use of the word cloud below in follow-up literacy/English work in school.
"I found it useful to learn about WWW and gain some links to valuable resources. Encouraged to see how schools are educating children on the issues of climate change"
"Children were given wide ranging information about life in the Arctic as well as the impact climate change is having"
"The children had an enjoyable and valuable learning experience - plenty for us to follow-up with our current topic"