Posts tagged boys
Can Your School Survive On A Desert Island ?
Our guide to running the increasingly popular ‘Desert Island’ off-timetable week. This is a fabulous way to unite your school with a common goal, motivate your staff and pupils, and encourage enquiry-based learning at your school.
Your school are ship wrecked on a desert island. Some of the crew have been trained in basic survival skills. Can they pass on enough knowledge to be able your pupils to survive ? Will your pupils be rescued ?
Although this a primarily science focused idea, other curriculum areas can be introduced too (eg. “document your adventure” – literacy)
Your whole school embark on a specially chartered ship en route to (an event / location of your choice). One night, a terrible storm results in tragedy . . . . the cafeteria has to close early. But even worse is yet to come when your vessel runs aground on a desert island.
Next morning, a brief exploration reveals that the island is uninhabited. It is roughly circular, with a diameter of 5km. The interior consists of dense foliage, and in the middle, there is a high peaked hill from which ominous puffs of smoke occasionally appear. Mobile reception is ‘zero bars’ and access to facebook is totally out of the question !
Can you survive ? Will you be rescued ?
The school divide into teams to focus on providing the things you will need over the coming weeks, months . . . . . years ?
- Drinking: Water purification and desalination (by filtration and evaporation). But what could we use as a filter ? And how will we generate heat to perform evaporation ? How much water does one person need a day ? Which team can produce the most pure water ?
- Eating. What are our dietary requirements. How will we get the proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that we need. What is safe to eat ? What is dangerous ? Can we prepare a simple meal ? Will it be hot ?
- Power Up Your Island. Can we generate electricity. Can we build a wind turbine ? There were some solar cells on the ship and they were used to heat the swimming pool. Can we adapt them for use on our island. The ship also had an old electric motor – can we adapt this to generate power ? Can we salvage a battery ? How would we charge it ? Could we make a battery ?
- Design & Construction: Shelter building, plus making simple items we will need (eg shelves, tables and beds)
- Heat / Light: Methods for starting a fire. How will we cook ? How will we see at night ?
- Communicate. Can we communicate across the island (mirrors using morse code). Or a simple electrical morse code generator over wires. What is semaphore – how could we use it. Can we send and receive messages successfully (ie. Test these methods to make sure they are capable of transmitting messages successfully).
- The rescue committee. What could we do to help our rescuers find us (brain storm some ideas and put some into practice eg mirror signalling, build a large SOS sign, message in bottle etc). Can we make or repair a radio to receive information from the outside world (are our rescuers looking for us ?). Can we build a telescope from bits salvaged from the ship.
- A day trip to the coast: Finding food, build a solar still, shelter from the rain and wind.
- Navigation: Measure distance and map the island. Use co-ordinates to locate items. Build a compass. Can we establish the position of this island within the world using the stars, our compass and other clues.
- What can magnets do for you ? Build a generator. Make a compass.
- The Cooking Crew. Can they plan a nutritionally balanced meal and prepare it ?
- Pipes, Pumps and pistons. Use a variety of techniques to get water to where it is needed.
- Document our ordeal by writing a diary. Make a video journal.
- Entertainment Committee. Can we make musical instruments, decorate them and prepare a performance to cheer our crew-mates along through the dark nights ?
Cross Activity Ideas
Introduce a competitive element across the event. Which team produced the most pure water. Who generated the most power. Did any team communicate successfully ? Award prizes for the most creative and industrious teams.
Bring various elements within these activities together to perform useful functions.
· eg. Hook the wind turbine to the generator. Use the generator to power the radio or lights. Can we hook the generator to a rechargeable battery.
· Can the ‘fire and light’ team provide enough energy to actually cook something ?
Ideally, the event takes place over 4 or 5 days, and each activity lasts for a whole day (this allows your activities to be more adventurous)
Each member of staff leads one activity, and the activities are repeated on each day of the event.
So, for example:
300 children and 10 staff + 5 helpers over 5 days.
So we need (for example) 15 activities, with 20 children on each activity each day
Each member of staff chooses just 1 activity (eg. “Island Communication”) and runs it 5 times (on each day of the event). This reduces the set-up and planning burden on staff, and helps raise the quality of each individual activity.
Each child gets to choose 5 activities (one for each day).
Allowing the children to choose their own activities is important – it lets them direct their own learning, and helps ensure that everyone will find something that they enjoy regardless of their learning style.
Ideally – all activities will be open to all pupils across the school (mix-aged range teaching is fun and helps form new friendships and cross-school links).
At the end of the week (or at the start of the following week), bring everybody together and announce some results.
· Did we survive
· Who was rescued
· Who had the best ideas
· Who contributed most to our safety and welfare
· Did any of the teachers cry out “I’m a teacher . . . . get me out of here” !
General Tips For Successful Off Timetable Events
Finally then, our usual tips for getting the most out of your off-timetable event
· Start the ‘buzz’ early. Decide on the basic structure of your event, and get the event fixed into the school calendar early. The details can be fleshed out later.
· Send a letter home, explaining the vision for your event. Ask for ideas and for contributions. (Relevant objects or resources could be loaned. Parents may have contacts in business that can provide resources or sponsorship).
· Parents are often very willing helpers and want to show-off their hidden talents. They will often offer to run activities. Help them develop ideas, and offer (perhaps) to keep group sizes low, and restrict courses to appropriate pupils. easyPLAN can be of tremendous help here.
· A number of national organisations can provide speakers to schools, and your local Development Education Centre (DEC) may be able to provide information local speakers who could come to your school. Would your local university provide speakers ? Are you lucky enough to have an adventurer (or even a very well travelled person) living locally ?
· It may be helpful to have a dedicated budget or fundraising ideas to pay for specific resources and outside speakers/performers.
· Get the press interested. Prepare a press release with photos and a named contact for local newspapers and radio.
· Can Governors help (with money or arranging sponsorship)
· Approach Education Business Partnerships
· Consider ways in which partner schools can be involved e.g. secondary, primary, overseas
Good luck. Please feel free to follow my blog posts and get more inspiration and ideas here on www.offtimetable.com
I could hardly believe my ears !!!!
Brilliant, bonkers, or maybe inspiration for a fantastic story writing event.
Author Nick Hornby has established a “Ministry of Stories” to inspire the next generation of writers and playwrights.
At the front is a fanciful mock-up of a Dickensian shop, stocking Harry Potter-inspired products such as rolls of “fang floss” and jars of “human snot”.
But in the back there is a classroom space where children will be taught the fundamentals of story telling.
You simply MUST see the BBC video of this click here
More details below:
The Ministry of Stories was founded by Nick Hornby and co-directors Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne. Hidden away at the back of The Monster Shop (where else would you expect it?), the Ministry of Stories provides a free space for fresh writing by young people. Here in Hoxton we provide workshops and one-to-one mentoring. The services are provided by volunteers: local writers, artists and teachers, all giving their time and talent for free.
The MoS is inspired by young people, and aims to inspire them to transform their lives through writing. We work closely with schools, supporting the work of teachers, but our great benefit is that we provide one-to-one mentoring for young people to enjoy imaginative stories, improve language skills, increase abilities in communication, add to social and educational confidence.
So – this has set me thinking. What could be done as a whole school event to emulate and expand on this concept ?
- Decorate/dress/re-work the school entrance for the event.
- Invite local writers to participate.
- Develop theme based story writing activities
- Stage activities in themed rooms
- Could some pupils/teachers illustrate selected stories ready for publication.
- Publish stories on a dedicated part of the school web site (or maybe a dedicated web site for the event)
- Hold an end of week exhibition with public readings.
- Could some pupils transform stories into scripts for performance (or recording or video)
I’ll develop this further over the coming weeks – so please do check back, and as always, we welcome your own ideas / shared experiences.
- Would your staff dress as famous mathematicians ?
- You could hold a maths raffle quiz,with a different mathematical question being asked each day – if your pre-issued raffle ticket matches the answer, you can claim a prize.
- A large jar of sweets in the school reception area invites you to estimate how many sweets are inside
- Make suduko games
- Codes and cyphers (a trip to Bletchley Park ?)
- Develop a maths trail around the school
- Develop a treasure trail with mathematical clues and co-ordinates
- Make an ultra large Pascal’s Triangle
- Make a huge Fibonacci Sequence.
- Run a cross school maths competition, complete with semi-finals, and final in the school hall with prize giving
- A snooker competition ? Pupils practise scoring, and learn how to work out the angles and the speed of shots. They see how maths can help them, and they learn at the same time as having fun.
The British Science Association is running it’s annual science week on 11–20 March 2011. Their superb website has everything you need to start your own off timetable event including step by step guides, activity packs, quizzes and logos.
Don’t miss their ‘activity packs’ in the resources section:
New for 2011: Message Makers
What on Earth?
Ticket to Ride
Save Our Bees
Food for Thought
Just Add Water
Einstein’s Birthday Party Pack
Sounds like Science
Sixty Second Science
It has started to expand very rapidly, (I’m struggling to keep up with it, and more valuable material for educators being added daily).
Basically, it is the official London 2012 education programme for schools and education providers across the UK. Central to their philosophy are the olympic and paralympic values:
- respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment
- excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives
- friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences
I will quote directly from their site:
As a context for teaching and learning across the curriculum the London 2012 Games are unbeatable.
The projects and support materials are all built around the Olympic and Paralympic Values, and encourage children and young people to play an active part in their own learning, to develop leadership skills and to challenge themselves to try new things.
There are literally hundreds of inspirational ideas and resources for off-timetable ewvents on this site.
Have a browse – but don’t miss the Case Studies section (which I felt was a little difficult to find but contained some of the most valuable material)
From The BBC Website:
“Based on the most recent educational research, Gareth introduces his pupils to the concepts of unbridled competition, risk and adventure. His aim is to harness the power of boisterous behaviour and challenge the boys’ apparent aversion to standing out from the crowd so that they feel more confident about aiming for better grades”.
Following the bbc schools season and especially Gareth Malone programmes on educating boys I couldn’t help but think this is exactly what offtime table events give children.
By going off timetable in short bursts I think you can overcome some of the problem or concerns that many teachers voiced about lack of resources or freedom verses targets etc.
Yes we would all like to go and build fires in the woods (girls as well as boys I might add !!) And yes I agree it is not always possible all of the time but by managing termly or half termly events you can achieve a balance.
By using Easyplan you can quickly and efficiently meet the needs of every child, as they are able to choose the courses for themselves.
Why not have an outside learning week? Forest Schools
Rather than have boy-only sessions why not allow choice of activities and the children will naturally go for their preferences.
Each year, schools, voluntary bodies and local authorities support the initiative by setting up fun, worthwhile and accessible events, inspiring upward of a quarter of a million people to get their hands dirty and together plant around million trees !!