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Creative Approaches to Exploring Biodiversity at Alverstoke Juniors

by James on February 18th, 2011

I’ve been working on a project with SEARCH Museum in Gosport recently. It’s part of a group of projects taking place through the Renaissance SE’s Green SLIME initiative – Science Learning in Museum Education.

We are looking at how schools that visit the Museum can follow up on their in-house session, by using a downloadable resource. The resource will suggest creative ways that they can use to explore and document the level of Biodiversity in their grounds, and signpost them to organisations who can suggest ways to create new habitats (and so increase the Biodiversity, which can in turn to be explored and documented, and so on…)

Yesterday I ran a session with Emma Hart, SE Hants Museum Education Officer, for two classes of Year 4 children at Alverstoke Junior School in Gosport. The school had already paid a visit to Search and taken part in a session run by Emma, learning about different Hampshire Habitats, the adaptations of animals living in those, and what impact our actions can have on those habitats and their biodiversity.

In school I talked with the children about the relationship between art and science, and how through our senses and the arts we can start to group animals and plants, comparing their colour, shape, pattern, texture etc to identify species and so build up a picture of the local level of biodiversity.

We then made simple biodiversity diaries from a range of paper, and used these in the conservation garden; writing, describing, drawing, making rubbings, painting, identifying and sharing our finds with each other.

The most important thing about this project for me, is that it is providing a range of enjoyable ways for children to be able to notice and record the world around them, to look more closely, to find things that are of interest to them and so slowly become more aware of the state of the world around them. They are learning to use their own bodily senses, and methods that are enjoyable to them, to understand how they impact on the biodiversity of their own ‘back yard’.

Once the resource is ready I’ll add a link to it here. In the meantime I’m gathering together other ideas for creative methods that schools can use to explore, record and share the level of biodiversity of their local patch – video diaries, blogs, art installations, sound recording, performances etc. If you’ve run a related project or have any ideas to share, please let me know – thank you.

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