I have now taken part in the lesson that I planned and this post is dedicated to explore how it went.
When I arrived, I began to set up all of the resources that we had. We decided for the first activity, the bug hunt, we would provide the children with a hunting pack. My group had four children and we planned to divide them into pairs. Each pair received the following pack;
-two magnifying glasses
When we had set this up, we also decided that a really quick icebreaker would be a brilliant idea, in order to introduce ourselves as well as establishing what the children already knew. So, we used some posters of minibeasts to do a quick quiz which really got the children excited. This was a great last minute decision, as we then had an idea of what the children knew about the beasts as well as establishing a fun tone to the session by introducing a quiz.
However, I also decided last minute that hiding the resource pack in a secret box until after the quiz ended would be a way to gain enthusiasm from the children. Therefore, we hid the box under the table and when the quiz ended, we brought the box out and told the children we would we entering the forest to find our very own bugs! These two last minute ideas were essential into gaining the children’s attention and trust- the children all felt confident with us after this, proving that a lesson plan is never set in stone and is always adaptable.
So, we placed the children into pairs and entered the forest- an area with high buses. The children were very excited. My partner stayed with one pair and I explored with the others. We found a snail, however the snail would not come out of the shell, so I told the children he was asleep in a quiet voice, which me and the pair kept throughout searching making sure we didn’t wake the snail up. Unfortunately, this is the only beast that my pair found. Luckily, the other group found a few spiders and worms – even a centipede!
When we put our findings into the bucket, we then went inside. We had a Digi scope and a laptop set up in the classroom. We also had some trays set up and encouraged the children to put their beasts on them. Luckily for us, we had some help finding some bugs before the search from Mairead, just in case we could not find any in the search. So, all together we had quite a few bugs. When we put the bugs down, I felt like this section was much harder to engage attention. I attempted to show everyone how the bugs look under the Digi scope, which everyone payed attention to at different times. This is something I felt challenging within the session- perhaps this was difficult as this children were so excited, being back in the classroom or maybe due to the group being mixed ability. Whatever the reason, this has made me take a valuable lesson for the future which would be to plan for situations like this.
When we decided to pop the minibeasts away, we then got out some paper and pencils and asked the children to design their own bugs! Me and Ella originally planned for the activity to focus upon designing a bug around a habitat, but we soon realised we overestimated the ability of the children and just stuck to drawing a bug of choice. The results from this was excellent! One child produced a drawing of a spider and written ‘web’ next to it, which suggests that this child was of a higher ability and could have attempted to engage in the planned task if we had set it. One child, who was not as engaged within the hunt as the others, produced a fantastic drawing and also written the word ‘fish’. This was great and he was so proud he wanted to keep his drawing to show his parents!
Therefore, I believe that the session was a great success in terms of personal development and delivering a fun lesson! The children were so excited and engaged throughout the whole session, and at times, it was hard to decide who was lower ability and who had the higher ability, as they all were giving great answers to our questions.
The lesson proved to me that learning outdoors is a way that engages and introduces difference and fun into learning!!
Now this has been done, I am going to spend time reading theories about learning outdoors and prepare for my final critical project. However, following the session I may touch upon readings surrounding higher and lower ability- as I feel this would make a great focus point as well.