This term I’ve had great fun developing and leading our new Darwin Challenge taster course for primary children from the West Midlands with Staci, our Education Assistant. I instantly thought of local explorer and scientist Charles Darwin when we were approached with the view of running a one night course for year 3’s and 4’s. So the ‘Darwin Challenge’ was born. Essentially students are tasked with completing 11 different ‘challenges’ following in Darwin’s image of curiosity, scientific thinking and collaboration. Staci and I designed this to allow students to have many areas in which to develop themselves whilst they were here with us, not just academically motivated, so criteria such as ‘work with someone new’, ‘tell me how you could protect wildlife in your own garden’ and ‘I helped a friend’ were added.
We were amazed at how enthusiastic the students were to get involved, especially to try and achieve the gold certificate (many of them did!). For me, and I think for many of the students, my favourite part of the trip was the bonfire where pupils started with two minutes of quiet reflection on their surroundings and developed into fire poems, campfire songs and hot chocolate. It was also a great moment for sharing their favourite moments of the day – these ranged from ‘putting the bedding on my bed’ to ‘I feel like I’m at hogwarts’. It really brought home the fact that for many of these students this was the first time away from their family and it was as much about the experience as the academic development.
Our five taster courses have been great fun to develop and teach and the students have all been fantastic. Staci and I are looking forward to continuing our new Darwin themed activities with KS2 in the future!
If you're interested in bringing your KS2 group to Preston Montford please contact Jess Pugh on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lizz - Tutor