Leaders resources for self-led visits

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Woodland Discovery Disc

Leaders’ Resources

Contents

1. Introduction

2. Health and Safety

3. The Forestry Commission

4. Community Forests

5. Thames Chase

6. Lesson Plans

6. Curriculum Links

7. Activity List

8. Further Information

9. Contact Us

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

1. Introduction

I hear and I forget

I see and I remember

I do and I understand!

(Confucius 551 – 479 BC)

Welcome to the Forestry Commission’s ‘Woodland Discovery Disc’. This CDROM is designed to give schools, groups and families the opportunity to get out and about, and enjoy learning about our local countryside.

The contents include three educational games and a toolkit of resources for grown ups – the leader’s notes. The resources include sample lesson plans, an activity list, maps, background information, and most importantly a table of all the activities and their associated Curriculum links for England’s National Curriculum. (Please note teachers outside England will probably find that the topics covered are equally relevant to their curriculum).

The sample lesson plans are not by any means exhaustive, but they do reflect some of the more common environmental education activities carried out by Forestry Commission

Education rangers and field studies leaders. They are designed to enable teachers (and other group leaders) to lead environmental site-based activities that are fun, interactive and informative. The activities and games are aimed at pupils of Key Stages One, Two and Three. Leaders of older (including adults!) and younger groups will hopefully also find the sheets interesting.

Our hope is that the community woodland near your school will become a normal part of everyday school-life – a genuine outdoor classroom. The importance of children getting out and exploring their environment cannot be stressed enough. Not only are there physical health benefits, but there is an increasing awareness of the mental and emotional benefits of access to the countryside. The lesson plans are designed to give every participant the chance to learn through a mix of kinaesthetic, visual, and auditory activities. This multi-sensory experience, means that these are lessons that will never be forgotten.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Teachers and group leaders should find enough information in the leader’s resources to run the activities themselves. If, however, you would like to arrange an environmental education day at the Thames Chase Forest Centre, please contact the Thames Chase education team.

‘Further Information’ lists books and websites where leaders can find further information about some of the topics covered in this CDROM. The

Woodland Discovery Disc

has been produced by the Forestry Commission in Thames Chase. ‘Create your own Woodland,

‘Mix’n'Match Woodland’ and ‘Camouflage Caterpillars’ are © 2004 copyright Construct

Interpretive Design/Public Works Office, all other content is © 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute the disc freely for educational use.

2. Health and Safety

Before taking a group outside for any activity, make sure you follow Government and your

Local Education Authority guidelines for visits out of school. Risk assessments should be completed for every activity, but some general risks for out of doors activities include:

Weather – make sure that the group all have adequate weatherproof clothing and footwear as well as enough food and drink. If it’s muddy it may also be useful to have a change of shoes on return

Water hazards – some sites have wetland areas and rivers running through them

Be aware of litter and broken glass which unfortunately can occur anywhere

Infections and Weil’s disease – make sure any cuts and grazes are covered if working with soil or water, ensure that everybody washes their hands in clean water with soap before eating or drinking.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

3. The Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission is the Government Department responsible for forestry policy throughout Great Britain. It has a Board of Commissioners with duties and powers prescribed by statute, consisting of a Chairman and up to ten other Forestry Commissioners, including its

Director General, who are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of Ministers.

Forestry is a devolved matter. The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has responsibility for forestry in England as well as certain activities such as international affairs and plant health which remain reserved by Westminster. Scottish Ministers have responsibility for forestry in Scotland and the Welsh Assembly Government has responsibility for forestry in Wales.

Forestry Commission England, Forestry Commission Scotland and Forestry Commission Wales report directly to their appropriate Minister, providing advice on policy and implementing that policy within the relevant country. The Forestry Commission in each country is led by a Director who is also a member of the GB Board of Commissioners.

The mission of the Forestry Commission is to:

‘Protect and expand Britain's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment’

Forestry Commission England is currently working within a framework set out in the England

Forestry Strategy, which was published in 1998. The four key programmes of the strategy are:

Forestry for Rural Development

Forestry for Economic Development

Forestry for Recreation, Tourism and Access

Forestry for the Environment and Conservation

Between 2000 and 2003, the Forestry Commission invested heavily in Thames Chase: creating new publicly accessible community woodlands close to where people live and work. In these 3 years, the Commission acquired over 330ha (815 acres) of land, planted 400,000 trees and built 24km (15 miles) of accessible paths in Thames Chase Community Forest.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

4. Community Forests

England has 12 Community Forests, which have been developed through the England

Community Forest Programme. This programme is a partnership between the Forestry

Commission, the Countryside Agency and a host of local and national organisations.

Since they were set up, the community forests have played a key role in revitalising the areas around many of England's towns and cities. They have also helped deliver a successful balance of economic, social and environmental benefits to those communities. Because of the community forest programme, half of England's population now lives in, or is within easy reach of, a Community Forest.

A Community Forest is a mosaic of wooded landscapes and other land uses, such as farmland, meadows, nature areas and river valleys. Overall, woodlands will not cover more than 40% of the area, so it is a “Forest” in the style of the New Forest. Land ownership is diverse: including farmers, local authorities, nature conservation organisations and local businesses.

Britain is a highly urbanised country and has the second lowest level of tree cover in the

European Union. Community Forests, therefore, play an essential role in ensuring that more and more people have access to higher quality greenspace, providing better and more attractive places for living, working and recreation.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

5. About Thames Chase

Thames Chase was set up in 1990 as one of twelve Community Forests around England.

In 1990, the 40 square mile (104km²) Thames Chase area had just 8% woodland cover.

The target is to increase this to 30% by 2030, which will require the planting of 5.5 million trees! However, a Community Forest is much more than planting trees. Thames Chase works in 6 key areas:

1

Creating new woodlands

4

5

2

3

6

Managing existing woodlands

Creating and improving access

Conserving and enhancing the natural environment

Involving local people

Working in partnership and attracting funding

Thames Chase has changed considerably since 1990. By early 2003, the millionth new tree had been planted and over 50km (31 miles) of paths created. The number of sites open to the public had doubled from 24, to the 47 as described in the ‘Out and About in

Thames Chase’ pack.

The landfill sites around Hornchurch, Rainham and Aveley are using tree planting to restore their pits to new wooded country parks. All of the new woodlands contain public pathways. The existing and also new sites will be linked by ‘Greenways’ off-road routes for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and those with disabilities. We also have a new

Education Centre where local school children can learn about their environment and find about the work of their local Community Forest.

There are lots of opportunities for local people to become involved in Thames Chase. You can explore the new sites on foot, bike or horseback. You are welcome to events such as guided walks and environmental activities throughout the year. You are also invited to have your say in how the forest develops by taking part in community consultations, or you could roll up your sleeves and volunteer on practical conservation tasks. In 2004 we have started work on a new Visitor Centre at Broadfields Farm in Cranham for the community to come along and learn about the work of Thames Chase.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

6. Lesson Plans

Tree Detectives

Autumn Action

Investigating Invertebrates

Maps and Design

Sensory Overload

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Tree Detectives

Objectives

To make and use keys for tree identification

To describe shapes and differences between leaves

To understand the function of parts of a tree

To understand that a large tree is home to many creatures

Background Information

Identification Keys

Keys can take different forms, but most involve working through a set of questions or descriptions until you find the name or group that best fits the description of what you are trying to identify or classify. One common style is that of a yes/no decision tree.

The tree key provided with this sheet will enable most children to identify 11 common trees from the leaf shapes. They are:

1. Oak

2. Ash

3. Yew

4. Scot’s Pine

5. Hawthorn

6. Field Maple

7. Horse Chestnut

8. Hazel

9. Larch

10. Silver Birch

11. Willow

Parts of a Tree

What do roots do?

1. Anchor the plant

2. Take in water and nutrients

A tap root holds the plant firmly in the ground and exploits deep water supplies. However, most of the roots grow outwards (lateral roots), forming a criss-crossing net that anchors the tree in the ground. A 50 metre tall tree will have a tap root, which is only about 2½ deep, but they may well spread outwards to a distance that matches the tree’s height. Root hairs increase their surface area and thus the amount of water and minerals taken in. Millions of root hairs appear in the spring, only have a lifespan of one or two months, and die in the autumn.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Nutrients

Many trees form symbiotic relationships with fungus – the fungi get somewhere to live and the tree gets extra nutrients. Earthworms are important to trees because their burrows let air into the soil around the roots and they drag fallen leaves underground, returning minerals to where the roots can reach them.

Phosphorus is needed for healthy roots

Potassium aids fruiting

Magnesium helps with production of chlorophyll

Nitrogen is a major nutrient taken up from the soil required for healthy green growth

What does the trunk do?

1. Supports branches and leaves

2. Transports water and minerals from the roots to the leaves

3. Transports the food made in the leaves to other parts of the tree

Heartwood gives strength to the trunk and is used to store waste products (dead cells).

Sapwood is made up of living cells and a series of tiny tubes that carry water and minerals

(sap) from the roots to all parts of the tree and food from the leaves to the rest of the tree.

Xylem carries water upward and Phloem carries sugar sap down the tree. The Cambium is a thin growth layer, which produces new sapwood each year.

Bark is the outer ‘skin’ that protects against sun, rain, and helps prevent fungi and animals getting at the sapwood and its rich pathway of food. Insects, fungi, birds and parasitic plants do sometimes manage to breach this bark barrier and help themselves to what lies beneath.

Leaves are like miniature power stations. A type of sugar is produced from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight and chlorophyll in the leaves. This process is called photosynthesis.

Oxygen and water vapour are by-products and pass out through the leaves.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Suggested lesson plan

Classroom warm up

Green plants as organisms. Needs of life. Photosynthesis (leaves as food factories). Using

Keys for identifying – asking questions and following Yes/No decision trees.

Site visit

Trees as Habitats

Helpers and teachers become trees standing with their arms outstretched.

Children are birds flying from tree to tree and have to touch the tree’s branches (arms). One helper is the woodsman – at first he chops the trees down. The woodsman keeps chopping down the trees until only one is left. This illustrates that trees need to be kept as habitats for birds and the idea that each tree can only support so many birds.

Ask the kids if the last tree with all the kids can support all the birds-"no" The woodsman then comes back to replant all the trees. This makes sure he will always have enough wood for his fire, and the birds will always have enough habitat – we call this sustainable management!

Tree Identification

As a class take a short walk and try to collect many different kinds of leaves. Use the Tree

Detective key to identify them. This key includes common species to be found on Forestry

Commission Community woodlands. It is recommended that groups also take a tree fieldbook for help identifying trees which are not on the key supplied.

Natural Art

Leaves make a wonderful medium for creating beautiful pieces of ethereal sculpture. Leaf rubbings and bark rubbings could be used to make a large collage of a tree.

Alternatively, gather lots of leaves and take back to the classroom to create beautiful natural collages.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Parts of a tree

Find a large tree to look at and have a quick discussion about the parts of the tree. Pupils will hopefully know the basics such as:

What do Leaves do?

1. ‘Food factories’/photosynthesis

What do roots do?

3. Anchor the plant

4. Take in water and nutrients

What does the trunk do?

4. Supports branches and leaves

5. Transports water and minerals from the roots to the leaves

6. Transports the food made in the leaves to other parts of the tree

Make like a tree

This is a really easy way to illustrate the workings of a tree – and have a lot of fun! Explain to the group that you are going to make a working tree with your own bodies. Although the instructions for this game seem complex, it works very well in practice – and all becomes clear when you see it done.

With about twenty people, the tree is built with:

1. Heartwood – two people stand in the centre, back to back, and form the core of the trunk, and the tree’s vertical strength.

2. Taproots – two people sit on the floor with their backs to the heartwood and their legs spread out. On ‘Action’ they make loud slurping noises as they gather water and nutrients from deep within the soil.

3. Laterals roots – more (5/6) people space themselves around the taproots and lie flat on the floor – those with long hair can fan it out as root hairs (those without can spread their fingers out). These form a network of roots that anchor the tree firmly in the ground. On ‘Action’ these make quieter slurping noises than the taproots.

4. Xylem - Around the taproots, three people form a circle and hold hands. They are carrying the water up the trunk to the leaves. On ‘Action’ this circle makes a ‘Wheee!’ noise and rush their hands upwards as they carry the water up.

5. Phloem – around the Xylem, four people form a circle holding hands – they are carrying the sugars produced in the leaves down the trunk. On ‘Action’ they make a ‘whoooo’ sound and swing their hands downwards.

6. Bark – the rest of the group can spread themselves in a big circle around the outside and protect the tree from attack.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Once all the parts of the tree are in place, the leader calls ‘Action!’ and everybody goes into full movement and noises!

The numbers of people in each part of the tree can be scaled up or down to suit the size of your group. Additional groups can be added – such as leaves who could make powers station (engine?) noises, woodpeckers could come and peck at the bark etc…

Classroom Follow ups

Explore the many reasons ‘Why trees matter’

1. Trees provide a home for many creatures. An oak tree may provide a home for up to 600 different types of insects.

2. Trees can be made into many useful things. Conifer trees are used to make paper and cardboard and broadleaf trees can be used to make furniture

3. Although most peoples fires are now run by gas or electricity, trees can be used for firewood. The charcoal used on the barbecue in the summer is also made from trees.

4. Trees are nice to look at. They can also hide ugly buildings and make streets in towns pleasant.

5. Trees provide shelter from the rain and the sun.

6. The air we breathe contains gases, which come from burning gas and oil and car exhaust fumes. A lot of this gas is carbon dioxide. This makes the air smelly and unhealthy. Trees use up carbon dioxide in order to grow and give off oxygen. One mature beach tree will produced enough oxygen for 45 people. If that tree were cut down, it would take nearly

3000 young beach trees to produce the same amount of oxygen.

7. Trees have roots, which bind the soil together, and prevent it washing away in the rain.

Where all the trees have been cut down landslides can occur. These cause a lot of destruction to both people and wildlife.

8. Carbon dioxide given off when gases are burned causes the earth's atmosphere to heat up. This is sometimes called the ‘greenhouse effect’. If the earth becomes too hot many plants and animals won't be able to survive. Trees use up the carbon dioxide and keep the earth cooler.

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9. Trees help soak up sound and make the world more peaceful. They are often planted alongside noisy roads because of this.

Collages

Use the leaves collected or the leaf and bark rubbings to make beautiful art pieces in 2 dimensions or 3 dimension – see ‘Things to do with leaves’ in the Activity list for more suggestions.

Timber as a resource

Play an elimination game and take away all the timber products in your classroom – are trees important? You can take this further with medicinal uses, food production and fuel.

Supported Work

Scavenger hunt - on a walk around the site, gather as many different kinds of leaves, as possible.

Use leaf rubbings and bark rubbings to make a tree collage.

Extensions

Examine forests as a sustainable resource – the Forestry Commission is the only government forestry department in the world to have been awarded Forest Stewardship Certification for all our nation’s woodlands. This means that the woodlands are well managed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Have a look at the Forest Stewardship

Council’s website for more information: www.fsc-uk.info

A design project could include promotion for FSC goods – the ‘brand’ is still not very well known – how do environmentally responsible foresters get the message out that chopping down trees is not always a bad thing? And, how do we as consumers ensure that we are not buying imported timber products from virgin forests that cannot be replaced?

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Tree detectives

Yew

Field Maple

Hawthorn

Jagged edges?

Smooth edges?

Hazel

Round with a point?

Oak

As wide as long?

Longer than wide?

Silver Birch

Wedged shaped?

Scots Pine

Larch

Needles in pairs?

Flattened?

In clusters?

(We call this Deciduous)

Is it lobed?

Willow

Linear?

Not linear?

Not lobed?

Is it needle-like?

Is it flat-leafed?

Ash

(We call this Pinnate)

Horse Chestnut

(We call this Palmate)

Many leaves on one stem?

(We call these Compound leaves)

Simple and separate leaves?

Which tree do I come from?

Autumn Action

Objectives

To learn:that seeds can be dispersed in a variety of ways to make careful observations of fruits and seeds, to compare them and use results to draw conclusions that many fruits and seeds provide food for animals including humans

Background Information

Plants use a variety of ways to disperse their seeds:

Wind dispersal

:

1

Seeds that are usually dispersed by wind generally have a 'wing' to help them travel.

Sycamore, maple and elm are three types.

2

Poppy seeds are very small. They are scattered from little holes as the fruit stem sways

3 in the wind.

The dandelion flower head develops into a mass of seeds, each with a hairy parachute.

These may be dispersed by the wind or you can disperse the seeds by blowing on the flower head.

4

Animal dispersal

:

1

Some fruits have hooks on them. These cling to the fur of animals or the clothes of people as they brush past. Goosegrass has little green fruits that cling. The burdock fruits

2

3 have hooks on them, which catch on to animals fur, or a person's clothes. The seeds are often carried a long way. Then they are rubbed off or fall off.

Some seeds are hidden in the ground by mice, squirrels and jays. These creatures make little winter stores of fruits and nuts in the ground. They do not find them all again.

Those that are may grow into trees.

Birds, such as starlings, feed on fruits. They digest the soft fruit but the seeds inside go through their bodies unharmed, passing out in their droppings.

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Dispersal by explosion:

1

Some plants have special explosive mechanisms for seed dispersal. The fruit of herb

2 robert is a long capsule. When the seeds inside it are ripe and the fruit is dry and brittle, it bursts open, throwing the seeds out.

The yellow flowers of gorse and broom make a fruit called a pod. The white flowers of the pea plane also produce pods. When it dries, the ripe pod splits open with a loud

'pop'. The seeds are shot out of the split pod. They may travel several metres!

Water dispersal:

1

The large fruits of the water lily float away on the water. When they settle in the mud the seeds may grow into new water lily plants.

2

Alder trees produce cones, which float on water. They have very rough edges, which gradually attract mud and silt particles to stick to them. They float down the river until enough has stuck to make them heavy enough to sink to the riverbed.

Suggested lesson plan

Classroom warm up

Recap the needs of life – get your class to tell you what a seed needs to grow – you can draw this on the board and draw the needs around it - sunlight, water, soil and space

Talk about how seeds might get these things – we call this dispersal!

Site visit

Squirrel game

Ask what squirrels eat (nuts – acorns)? What tree do acorns come from? (oak) What do squirrels do in winter? What do they do in autumn? (hide acorns!)

Each child is a squirrel and has to hide five acorns. They have 2-3 minutes to do this and return to where the leader waits. You will return to this area after the other activities and ask them to find their acorns then, but be careful not to give any hint of this! If any child asks to go and find them now, say no, you’re going to leave them there for the real squirrels! Now, onto more serious stuff….

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Seed Collection

Safety: Children should not taste any of the seeds and fruits collected.

Each group has to find as many different seeds and fruits as they can. Only collect from the ground and only one of each kind. Either in small groups or together at the end, talk about how we think these seeds get away from their ‘parent’.

Pupils should look closely at seeds and try to imagine their dispersal method.

Make sure the group finds at least one example of each kind of dispersal (although exploding pods are difficult to come by in Thames Chase).

Children can sketch their chosen seed(s) as a field observation and describe how they think each seed is dispersed.

Seed Socks

The group place socks over shoes, and walk through an area of tall grass (try to find an area / meadow full of seed bearing plants). The group walks/runs through the area to a chosen point, then their socks are examined to see what seeds have appeared. This very simply shows how seeds are distributed by animal fur.

Natural Art

This is a great time of year to use seeds, leaves, twigs etc to create beautiful pieces of ethereal sculpture. For more ideas look for examples of work by famous artist Andy Goldsworthy.

Alternativley, gather lots of leaves and seeds and take back to the classroom to create beautiful natural collages.

Squirrel Game

Before you return to the classroom, tell the children that they are all squirrels again, and have just woken up in the middle of winter, cold and hungry. Give them 5 minutes to go back and find the acorns they hid earlier.

Several things will happen – some children will remember where they put them and find them – happy squirrels!

Some children won’t remember and won’t find any – hungry squirrels!

Some children won’t remember, but will find another squirrel’s cache – lucky squirrels!

Some children will remember, but will find another squirrel has already taken their stash – unlucky squirrels.

When the unlucky squirrels complain, it’s important to point out that this happens to real squirrels too – there is a trade off for squirrels for hiding their acorns very well, but perhaps not re-

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

membering where, and not hiding them well, and other squirrels finding them! Those real life hungry squirrels aren’t going to worry about ‘whose’ acorns they are!

You should also find that the pupils find far less than were originally hidden – discuss what will happen to those acorns (grow!) and why it’s in the oak trees interest to have tasty acorns as seeds.

Classroom follow-up

Use leaves and seeds gathered during the site visit to create beautiful natural collages.

Look at the fruits and seeds that humans eat, and how agriculture has changed them and the landscape.

Some of the seeds found can be planted in the classroom. Acorns, hazels and apples all grow quite well from seed. If they do grow, and you have nowhere to plant them out, you could donate them to the BTCV tree nursery at the Thames Chase Forest Centre.

Supported Work

Scavenger hunt - on a walk around the site, gather as many different kinds of leaves, fruits and seeds as possible. Or, set a list of things to find such as:

Collect only things that you can return safely and without damage.

1. A feather

2. A seed dispersed by the wind

3. Something round

4. A Piece of man made litter

5. Something that is of no use in nature

6. Something that makes a noise

7. A big smile

Extensions

Use the seeds gathered as a starting point to look at the life cycles of a plant – pollination, fertilisation, seed production, seed dispersal and germination.

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Investigating Invertebrates

Objectives

To gather evidence by observation of invertebrates in different habitats

To learn that invertebrates grow, breathe, eat, and reproduce like humans and in different ways

To use keys to identify and classify common invertebrates to taxonomic order

To look at the adaptation of animals to different habitats

To understand feeding relationship and food chains

Background Information

Looking at invertebrates is a great way for pupils to experience scientific enquiry in an ecological setting. They are easily caught and examined and provide examples of many different kinds of adaptation, including camouflage, locomotion, feeding, breathing and habitat choice.

Invertebrates are so numerous that it is not possible to identify many to species level without years of practice. It is however easy to follow simple keys to discover which major taxonomic group your specimen belongs to. A sample key is attached. Pupils should be able to follow these keys to identify their creatures

You may find that your school grounds have very short mown grass, while on Forestry

Commission sites you should be able to find long meadow areas, hedgerows and new woodlands and some existing woodlands. You can even include ‘urban habitats’ such as pavements and walls and see how many species are present in a man made habitat – this could lead to discussions about our natural environment and it’s importance.

Equipment

Bits of wool, brightly coloured and green/brown.

Trays

Paper

Plastic pots

Magnifying glasses

Plastic spoons

ID key (provided on Woodland Discovery Disc)

Paper for making sketches of creatures found

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Suggested lesson plan

Camouflage Caterpillars

Before the lesson the leader or helper has to go to a hedge (or shrub) and hang lots of small pieces of wool – some very brightly coloured and some dull greens and browns.

The pupils are taken to the hedge and told that they are all very hungry wrens looking for juicy caterpillars. (It must be stressed that the ‘caterpillars’ are bits of wool – not real caterpillars!).

The ‘wrens’ have two minutes to go and find five caterpillars each.

When they come back, most will have found the brightly coloured wool. Send them back to find more caterpillars and they will find it far more difficult to find the green and brown caterpillars. It is very easy to then elicit the idea of camouflage, predation and adaptation from simple questions such as – Q. Why are caterpillars green? A. So the wrens can’t see them easily. Q. What do we call that? A. Camouflage (if the class don’t know this word yet, it’s a very memorable way to introduce it).

Make sure that you gather the uneaten ‘caterpillars’ back in before the end of the class. There is an interactive version of this game on this Woodland Discovery Disc, which will also demonstrate the same ideas.

Habitat Surveys

Surveys of different vegetation/sites to compare invertebrate biodiversity.

Pupils should keep tally sheets of number of each major group found in each habitat. This can be analysed back in class, although it is very easy on site to demonstrate a greater diversity of species supported in the more diverse habitats such as meadows.

Please note: Pupils should be told never to touch the creatures with their bare hands – more for the creature’s protection than theirs! Plastic spoons and pots must be used gently to prevent the invertebrates being damaged by this activity.

Short grass

Pupils use plastic spoons and pots to find invertebrates and examine them

Long Grass

Large ‘sweep’ nets can be swept through long grass to gather many species at once. If you don’t have sweep nets, it should be easy enough to find plenty of invertebrates with spoons and pots.

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Trees

When examining trees place a white sheet (paper or cloth) under a low branch, make sure children are standing well back and shake the branch gently. Invertebrates on the branch will fall onto the white sheet allowing the children to examine them.

Observations

The sample key attached should enable pupils to identify most creatures to taxonomic order. More common and larger invertebrates such as dragonflies and butterflies may be identifiable to species with an identification book.

Pupils should choose one of the invertebrates found and observe them closely, once they have identified them they should make an annotated sketch with notes about how it moves, breathes eats etc, as well as what kind of habitat it was found in. They should also decide where the creature would be on a food chain. Higher level students can make notes on what kind of adaptations their chosen creature has.

Mini Mimes

As a nice conclusion activity, pupils can take turns pretending to be one of the creatures found today – this game can be very funny with the right class (have you ever seen somebody’s impression of a slug…!) If the class are shy, or finding the mimes difficult, you could do this as a drawing game back in class on your white/black board.

Oh Deer

For upper KS2 and KS3

Props

An area large enough for students to run about

Chalkboard or flip chart

Description

A variety of factors affect the ability of wildlife to successfully reproduce and to maintain their populations over time – disease, predator /prey relationships, weather, pollution, habitat destruction and degradation. Some natural causes as well as human activity prevent wildlife populations from reproducing in numbers greater than their habitat can support. Limiting factors can lead to elimination of a whole species.

The activity is designed for students to learn that:

Good habitat is the key to survival

A population will continue to increase in size until limiting factors are imposed

Limiting factors contribute to fluctuations in wildlife populations

Nature is never in ‘balance’, but always constantly changing

And to have fun while doing it!

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Split the group into 4 equal groups. Send a group to one end of the area, and the other 3 groups to the other end of the area. The first group become ‘deer’. They need to find food, water or shelter. They use their arms to symbolise what they need –

Food – hands over stomach

Water – hands over mouth

Shelter – hands clasped over their heads

During each round of the game the deer chose what they require-they mustn’t change during the course of the round. The larger group represents habitat components – food, water or shelter using the same hand signals. All players start with their backs to each other.

At the word go they turn and run to find their match. Each deer must hold onto the match, and only one deer to each habitat need. Any deer that fails to find their need dies and is recycled to become part of the habitat group. The habitat and matched deer become new separate deer. Play approximately 15 rounds of the game. The habitat components can change each time. Record the changes in deer number against the rounds played on a graph, and have this as a visual record for the group to see.

Discussions

What do the animals need to survive? Was there a drought, fire, famine etc. During the game? Are populations static or do they fluctuate?

Energy Chain Game

For KS2

This is a great fun game that physically shows the effect of loss of energy passing through a food chain.

Props

5 x flower pots (with all but one hole taped up)

30 sun and animal name cards or discs with string

1 large bucket

Perspex container and crayon

Description

The children are split into groups and each group sorts themselves into a food chain in the right order, starting with the sun. The cards or discs are on string so the children can put them over their head. Each child then passes water from the large bucket, along the chain and into a perspex container, getting as much water into the container in 15 seconds, which are counted down by the other groups. The water represents energy being passed along the food chain, being lost along the way. Mark the amount of water each group gets with the crayon to add a level of competition. Point out that the level of water at the end of the food chain is much less than at the start and that is why there are lots of producers (plants) and few tertiary consumers (e.g. Buzzard).

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Tree Game

For KS1/lower KS2

Helpers and teachers become trees standing with their arms outstretched.

Children are birds flying from tree to tree and have to touch the ‘tree’s branches (arms). One helper is the woodsman – at first he chops the trees down. The woodsman keeps chopping down the trees until only one is left. This illustrates that trees need to be kept as habitats for birds and the idea that each tree can only support so many birds. Ask the kids if the last tree with all the kids can support all the birds-"no" The woodsman then comes back to replant all the trees. This makes sure he will always have enough wood for his fire, and the birds will always have enough habitat – we call this sustainable management!

Classroom follow-up

Gathering data about different types of creatures found into tables and plotting graphs for different habitats. Classes could look at statistical difference between habitats and whether there is a significant difference. Data could be input to a spreadsheet package to work on ICT skills.

Pupils could choose a creature they found on the day and do a project about it’s lifecycle, what it eats, how it breathes, reproduces, and moves.

Principles learned while investigating invertebrates could be applied to larger animals – e.g. how is it adapted to its habitat, does it use camouflage, what are the stages of it’s lifecycle etc.

Art projects could include 3D sculptures using different materials to create your own minibeast

(see ‘Mini Monsters’ on Activity List), paintings could use camouflage to ‘hide’ many creatures in another scene (see Camouflage Caterpillar game on the Woodland Discovery Disc for example).

Supported Work

Children of all levels will enjoy finding invertebrates. Helpers can follow the keys for them and help them to identify what they find. A helper could scribe to record what invertebrates are found if necessary. They can also be used to encourage numeracy – (it can be much more fun to count slugs than pictures). ‘Camouflage Caterpillars’ and ‘Mini Mimes’ are both very accessible games, which need no reading or writing.

Extensions

Higher level pupils should be examining the invertebrate’s mouthparts in order to classify them in foodchains. The concepts of adaptation, interdependence, predation and competition can be explored as forces of evolution.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Investigating invertebrates

Start your investigation on the other side of this sheet.

So I must be an insect.

Do I have wings?

Yes

Do I have one pair of wings?

No

I am an ant, aphid or caterpillar

Con tinu ed

fro er th m

o e o

sid he f s et

Yes

No

I am a fly

Can you see two pairs of wings?

No

Yes

I may be a butterfly, a bee, a wasp, a moth or a dragonfly

Are my wings hidden?

Yes

I am a beetle, a ladybird,

an earwig or a bug

Investigating invertebrates

Yes

What am I?

Do I have legs?

No

Is my body divided into segments?

Do I have six legs?

Yes

Yes

Pleas e turn over

No

I am a worm or an insect larvae

No

Do I have a shell?

Yes

Do I have eight legs?

No

Yes

I am a snail

No

Is my body divided into two parts?

Yes

I am a spider

Do I have many legs?

I am a slug

Yes

No

I am a centipede, a millipede or a wood louse

I am a harvestman

Investigating invertebrates

Start your investigation on the other side of this sheet.

So I must be an insect.

Do I have wings?

Yes

Do I have one pair of wings?

No

I am an ant, aphid or caterpillar

Con tinu ed

fro m

o e o

sid f s er th he et

Yes

No

I am a fly

Can you see two pairs of wings?

No

Yes

I may be a butterfly, a bee, a wasp, a moth or a dragonfly

Are my wings hidden?

Yes

I am a beetle, a ladybird,

an earwig or a bug

Investigating invertebrates

Yes

What am I?

Do I have legs?

No

Is my body divided into segments?

Do I have six legs?

Yes

Yes

Pleas e turn over

No

I am a worm or an insect larvae

No

Do I have a shell?

Yes

Do I have eight legs?

No

Yes

I am a snail

No

Is my body divided into two parts?

Yes

I am a spider

Do I have many legs?

I am a slug

Yes

No

I am a centipede, a millipede or a wood louse

I am a harvestman

Maps and Design

Objectives

To follow a route on a map

To make maps and plans (and to explore scales, symbols, keys)

To carry out fieldwork investigations outside the classroom

To design and produce a trail leaflet (communication)

Preparation

For Orienteering, the leader will need to set out either cards or posts around the site before starting – there can be either letters/pictures to record on the cards, or questions to answer.

There are maps provided on this CDROM for all 47 sites within Thames Chase as well as more detailed maps for Forestry Commission sites. Make sure that the leader marks the points carefully on a master map before copying for the groups.

Equipment

Clipboards

Pencils

Orienteering maps

Dummy leaflets

Stopwatch (if doing timed orienteering course)

First aid kit

Whistle

Suggested lesson plan

Introduction to Orienteering

In small groups follow a map around a simple orienteering course. Introduce the idea of

‘orienting’ the map so that it reflects correctly the way you are facing. Use landmark clues such as paths and rivers to keep your map oriented during the course. Higher levels can learn to use a compass to orientate their map.

Before starting make sure all groups are familiar with their starting point, any boundaries (e.g. roads) which they should not cross, and when they should return by. It is usual to have an adult

‘helper’ with each group, but they are there for safety and should make sure that the group work as a team without their lead.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

The whistle should be shown and the group told that, if you hear it, stop where you are and wait to be told what to do next. You may want to include a three blast for groups to return to the start. On longer courses it is useful if there is a helper on a mountain bike who can cover the whole course quickly with a first aid kit.

This activity can be made more competitive with a timed ‘race’, each group leaving at different recorded intervals.

Trail Leaflet

Follow a trail around your nearest community woodland, marking features of interest/ prominence on your map. Is there anything that could be described? Using the ‘dummy leaflet’ provided on the CDROM, pupils have to sketch a map of the trail on their sheet. They should record prominent features (e.g. river, gradient, dead tree, skylark etc) making sure that the map is fully annotated, and any symbols they use are included in the key. This trail can be a controlled route, with every pupil following the same route (it’s interesting to see the difference in what are considered ‘prominent’ features), or the pupils can be given an area to choose their trail within.

Exchange your map with somebody else and see if you can find your way around. Discuss the differences in your maps, and why people think different things are important.

Sound Maps

This activity is a nice quiet round up of the days’ lesson.

Find an area where the group can sit quietly and safely. Close your eyes and listen for the natural and unnatural sounds around you. Try to create a sound map if the noises you heard. If you use symbols make sure you have a key of what they mean.

Classroom follow-up

Trail Leaflet

Back in the classroom, think of a name for your trail and produce a leaflet for the public to find their way around your trail. Look at examples of country park leaflets, Thames Chase

Out and About etc for design ideas. You may want to look at branding - design your own logo for a fictional countryside management organisation.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Sound Maps

Use musical instruments and other everyday objects to re create the sounds from the woodland. For ICT work try digitally recording (or download sound samples) these sounds and use them as samples in compositions.

Supported Work

Trail Leaflet

Use the dummy leaflet and ask pupils to sketch a pictorial map of the trail. This can be coloured in and made more attractive back in the classroom. Symbols for a key could be provided for pupils to use on their map.

Sound Maps

Draw what you hear – e.g. squiggles for rivers, hard lines for motorbikes etc. Or sit quietly and count the different sounds you hear – afterwards talk about which you liked/didn’t like, which were natural/man-made.

Extensions

Higher levels can use the concept of scale and surveying to produce accurate maps. The trail leaflet can be extended to include desktop publishing and ICT design packages. The sound maps can lead to complex compositions and arrangements on the samples.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

The Forestry Commission have created ten new community woodlands in

Thames Chase — the community

Forest to the East of London.

Thames Chase

M25

To find out more please contact the

Thames Chase team on 01708

641880.

Or visit our websites: www.forestry.gov.uk/thameschase www.thameschase.org.uk

Map

Key

N

Sensory Overload

Objectives:

To encourage appreciation and understanding of the natural world through sensory exploration.

Lesson Plan

This lesson should be a walk made up of a number of activities which when linked together form an enjoyable and educational experience.

Smelly cocktails

Discuss how in nature various things have various smells. Hand out the film pot with a little water and tell the group that they are going to make their own "smelly cocktail". (IMPORTANT tell the group on no account should they drink their cocktail!). Within a designated area the group, as individuals, find things to add to their cocktail, using a small stick to "stir" the concoction –

Once they have made their cocktail the group exchange smells and name their cocktails.

Some are very nice, using fruits and flowers, while others can be appallingly bad! It’s good to get the children choosing adjectives for the smells too.

Meet a tree

In pairs, one child is blindfolded, the other carefully leads them to a tree. The blindfolded child spends a few minutes getting to know the tree with their hands – get them to think about texture, width, forks etc. Then they are lead back to the starting point and gently turned three times to disorientate them. Their blindfold is taken off, and they try to recognise their tree.

The pair swap places and repeat the activity.

Bark rubbing

Pupils are given a blank sheet of paper and a crayon and have to take rubbings of different tree bark. Ask them to use words to describe the different bark textures.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Nature’s palette

Pass a selection of colours out to the group – each person can have two colours or work in small groups. Tell the group that they must find examples of the same colours in nature -the group then looks around for a designated area for matching colours. You can also give each child a collecting strip to stick small pieces of leaf/flower they collect.

Bat - moth game

The group stands in a circle holding hands. Two pupils play the part of bat and moth -they are in the centre of the circle. They are blindfolded and need to use their senses to find/ avoid each other. Relate to echolocation in bats. Once the moth has been caught add other individuals who become trees.

You can either use the bells for the bat to find the moth or the children can shout “bat”; tree shouts “tree” and moth shouts “moth”. Once a couple of rounds have been played introduce extra bats and moths to speed up the time it takes for everyone in a big group to have a go.

Grouping objects

Have a scavenger hunt with children or groups gathering objects which share one property: shiny, man-made, round, green etc. At the end pupils try to decide what criteria other people were using.

Sound maps

Find an area where the group can sit quietly and safely. Either as a group or individually close your eyes and listen for the natural and unnatural sounds around you. Try to create a sound map of the noises you heard. Which direction did they come from? How near were they? How loud or quiet? If you use symbols make sure you have a key of what they mean.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

6. Curriculum Links

Please note that these links are for the English National Curriculum, and were compiled in March 2004. They are intended to give teachers a quick and easy way to identify the lessons which are most suitable for their current class.

For more information please visit www.nc.uk.net

Key Stage One

Key Stage Two

Key Stage Three

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Key Stage One

Investigating

Invertebrates

Autumn Action Sensory

Overload

Maps and

Design

Tree

Detectives

Science- Sc1

Scientific Enquiry

1, 2abefghi 1, 2abcefg 2efg 1, 1, 2abef,

Science Sc2 Life

Processes and

Living Things

1bc, 2abe, 4b,

5abc

1c, 3abc, 4b, 5ac

Art and Design 1a, 1b 1a, 1b

1c, 2g

1a

1c,3a, 4b, 5abc,

1a,

1ae, 2ace, 5b

1a, 2abc, 4ab,

5abc

Design and

Technology

1bcde, 2abcd 2ab

English Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing skills are integrated throughout the lesson plans

Geography 7b 4b, 7b 1d 1b, 2abce, 7b 7b

Information and

Communication

Technology

3ab 3ab 3ab 3ab

Maths 1efgh, 2a 1abdgh, 2a, 3a

Music 4ac

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Key Stage Two

Autumn Action Investigating Invertebrates

Maps

Science- Sc1 Scientific

1ab, 2abcdefijk

Science Sc2 Life

Processes and Living

Things

1ac, 2e, 4abc, 5abcd

1ab, 2abcjl

1bc, 3d, 5abc,

Art and Design 1abc, 5bc, 1abc, 2abc, 4ab, 5c

Tree

Detectives

2abjl

1bc, , 3bc, 4abc, 5ab

1abc 1a, 4ab, 5abc

Design and Technology

1bcd, 1abcd, 2abcde 1bcd

English Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing skills are integrated throughout the lesson plans

Geography 7ac 5ab, 7ac

Information and

Communication

Technology

Maths MA3:1g, MA4:1abcfh,

2abc

MA4: 1abcdef, 2a

Music

MA3: 3c

3a, 4ac, 5bd

MA3:1ac, 3c,

Physical Education 11ac 11ac 11abc 11ac

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Key Stage Three

Autumn Action Maps and Design Investigating

Invertebrates

Tree

Detectives

Science- Sc1

Scientific

Enquiry

1b, 2bdefiklop,

Science Sc2 Life

Processes and Living

Things

4ab, 5abcdef,

Art and Design 1ac, 2c, 4a, 5abc 1ac, 4a, 5abc

3abcde, 4b, 5abc

5ac 1ac, 4a, 5abc

Design and

Technology

English Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing skills are integrated throughout the lesson plans

Geography 7ac 7ac

1c, Information and

Communication

Technology

1c, 3a, 5abc

Maths MA4:1aef, 3a, 4ab

Music

2c, 3a 1abc, 3a,

MA3: 3e, 4a

Physical Education 11abcd 11abcd 11abcd 11abcd

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

7. Activity list

Please note: the key stages assigned to each activity are for rough guidance only, most environmental educators will use a mix of complex and very simple games during any session. If you are a group leader, please have a look at them all and choose the activities that best suit your group and your own personal teaching style.

Key stage one

1. Nature’s palette

2. Nature’s gallery

3. Special place invite

4. Micro – hike

5. Trees as Habitats

6. Smelly cocktails

Key stage two

7.

Camera Game

8.

Bat and moth

9

. Energy chain

10

. Camouflage caterpillars

1

1

. Sound map

12. Squirrel game

13. Seed socks

14. Spiders web

15. Things to do with leaves

16. Mapsticks

17. Birds eye /ants eye view

18. Mini monsters

Key stage three

19. Oh deer

20. Orienteering

21. The systems game

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Nature’s palette

Props

1 set of sample paint chips /colour palettes from diy shop

‘collecting strips’ - card with double sided sticky tape

Description

Pass a selection of colours out to the group – each person can have two colours or work in small groups. Tell the group that they must find examples of the same colours in nature the group then looks around for a designated area for matching colours. You can also give each child a collecting strip to stick small pieces of leaf/flower they collect.

Time: 10 minutes with discussion

Number: 1 –40 children

See also: I.E.E.earth walks "rainbow chips"

Nature’s gallery

Props

Frames cut out from card (laminated if possible to make them more durable)

35m rope

2 clothes pegs for each individual

Description

Find an appropriate area. Tie off rope at child ’s eye level and create rectangular shape around nearby trees (ending at the first tree). Each person has 1 frame and two clothes pegs – they follow the rope and choose a view to frame – they use the pegs to clip the frame to the line. This game can be also played without ropes and pegs, where the children choose pictures in and around the woodland. Children could also perhaps draw the pictures they have found, frame them and hang in the classroom.

Time: 20 mins

Number: 1 –30 children

See also: "Snow Scenes" in IEE Earthwalks

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Special place invite

Props

Invite cards for each participant

Description

The group is told that they must find an area that is special to them for some reason: this can be due to an interesting tree, rock, flower etc. Each child is given an invite card and they then go off to find their special place. They must then give an invite to another member of the group and welcome them to their place and explain why it is special.

Time: 20 mins

Number: Any children

Micro – hike

Props

1-3ft of string for each member of the group

Magnifying glass

Description

The children are given a length of string and asked to span it over the most interesting area they can find. With a magnifying glass they then imagine they shrink to the size of an ant.

Use prompt questions to stimulate imaginations.

Time: 30 mins

Number: 1 –25 children

See also: J. Cornell "sharing nature with children"pp50 – 51

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Trees as Habitats

Description

Helpers and teachers become trees standing with their arms outstretched.

The children are birds flying from tree to tree and have to touch the ‘tree’s branches (arms).

One helper is the woodsman – at first he chops the trees down. The woodsman keeps chopping down the trees until only one is left. This illustrates that trees need to be kept as habitats for birds and the idea that each tree can only support so many birds.

Ask the kids if the last tree with all the kids can support all the birds-"no" The woodsman then comes back to replant all the trees. This makes sure he will always have enough wood for his fire, and the birds will always have enough habitat – we call this sustainable management!

Time: 10 mins

Number: 5+children

Smelly cocktails

Props

1 camera film case for each person

1 bottle of water

Description

Discuss how in nature various things have various smells. Hand out the film pot with a drop of water in the bottom and tell the group that they are going to make their own "smelly cocktail". (Important -tell the group on no account should they drink their cocktail!). Within a designated area the group, as individuals, find things to add to their cocktail, using a small stick to "stir" the concoction – once they have made their cocktail the group exchange smells.

Some are very nice, using fruits and flowers, while others can be appallingly bad! It’s good to get the children choosing adjectives for the smells too.

Time: 20 -30 mins

Number: 5 – 30 children

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Camera game

Description

The group is split into pairs. Each pair finds a spot in the designated area. One of the team is the camera; the other is the camera operator. The camera must keep his /her eyes shut – when the operator sees something they want to photograph they press the ear/arm/ shoulder of the camera for 3-5 seconds-for which time the camera opens his or her eyes.

The camera then recalls the picture in as much descriptive beauty as he/she can muster.

Time: 10 -20 mins

Number: 6-26 children

Bat and moth

Props

1 set of blindfolds

1 set of bells

Description

The group stands in a circle holding hands. Two pupils play the part of bat and moth -they are in the centre of the circle. They are blindfolded and need to use their senses to find/ avoid each other. Relate to echolocation in bats. Once the moth has been caught add other individuals who become trees.

You can either use the bells for the bat to find the moth or the children can shout “bat”; tree shouts “tree” and moth shouts “moth”. Once a couple of rounds have been played introduce extra bats and moths to speed up the time it takes for everyone in a big group to have a go.

Time: 10 -20 mins

Number: 10+ children

See also: J. Cornell "nature with children"pp 108

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Energy chain

Props

5 x flower pots (with all but one hole taped up)

30 sun and animal name cards or discs with string

1 large bucket

Perspex container and crayon

Description

The children are split into groups and each group sorts themselves into a food chain in the right order, starting with the sun.

The cards or discs are on string so the children can put them over their head. Each child then passes water from the large bucket, along the chain and into a perspex container, getting as much water into the container in 15 seconds, which are counted down by the other groups.

The water represents energy being passed along the food chain, being lost along the way.

Mark the amount of water each group gets with the crayon to add a level of competition.

Point out that the level of water at the end of the food chain is much less than at the start and that is why there are lots of producers (plants) and few tertiary consumers (e.g. Buzzard).

Time: 40 mins

Number: 10 –30 children or more if you have the extra cards.

See also: IEE "Conceptual 1 pp 1-7

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Camouflage caterpillars

Props

Before the lesson the leader or helper has to go to a hedge (or shrub) and hang lots of small pieces of wool – some very brightly coloured and some dull greens and browns.

Description

The pupils are taken to the hedge and told that they are all very hungry wrens looking for juicy caterpillars. (it must be stressed that the ‘caterpillars’ are bits of wool – not real caterpillars!). The ‘wrens’ have two minutes to go and find five caterpillars each.

When they come back, most will have found the brightly coloured wool. Send them back to find more caterpillars and they will find it far more difficult to find the green and brown caterpillars. It is very easy to then elicit the idea of camouflage, predation and adaptation from simple questions such as – q. Why are caterpillars green? A. So the wrens can’t see them easily. Q. What do we call that? A. Camouflage (if the class don’t know this word yet, it’s a very memorable way to introduce it).

Make sure that you gather the uneaten ‘caterpillars’ back in before the end of the class.

There is an interactive version of this game on this woodland discovery disc, which will also demonstrate the same ideas.

Time; 10 mins

Number: 5 – 30 children

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Sound map

Props

Blank sound cards (quarter a4 card) for each individual

Pencil each

Description

Quietly find a space of your own and sit alone. Close your eyes and listen for the noises and sounds of the woodland. Use pictures and symbols to 'map' the sounds on a piece of paper.

Which direction did they come from? How near were they? How loud or quiet?

If you used symbols to record, explain these to others.

Time: 10 -20 mins

Number: A group of any size

Squirrel game

Props

Collect enough acorns for three/five for each member of the group.

Description

This game is played as part of the Autumn Action lesson – see it for a more detailed description.

Each child becomes a squirrel in autumn and is given 3-5 acorns and told to go and hide them in three different places for the winter. This is usually done on the way to another activity. They must "hide their nuts" well because they don ’t want to other squirrels to find their stash. On your return to the area ask the children to go and find their nuts.

Time: 10 mins to hide and 10 mins to seek.

Number: 1 -40 children

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Seed socks

Props

1 pair of old, large, wool socks

Magnifying glass

Area of flat grassland

Description

The group place socks over shoes, and walk through an area of tall grass (try to find an area /meadow full of seed bearing plants). The group walks/runs through the area to a chosen point, then their socks are examined to see what seeds have appeared. This very simply shows how seeds are distributed by animal fur.

Time: 30 mins

Number: 5 –30 children

Spiders web

Props

String

Wood pegs

Tree

Description

A fun game to emphasise a spider ’s hunting technique.

Set up before-hand by using eight small stakes or an existing fenceline near a tree. Use biodegradable garden string if possible.

A blindfolded "spider" sits with back to tree with 4 lines covered by each hand. A fly then tries to cross over the web without touching, if touched the fly sticks and vibrates the line – whereupon the spider has to decide which line to follow in order to find and return to den with the fly. Make sure that the lines are not too close or too high (children soon twig that they can crawl under). Repeat several times using different spider.

Time: 20 minutes or longer

Number: Better with smaller groups of children, as most will have to watch

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Things to do with leaves

1. Create a ‘summer mobile ’ using different broadleaf leaves. Press leaves then laminate for the mobile.

2. Try creating a montage of leaf and bark rubbings. Try to match the leaf to the bark.

3. Leaf snap – by sticking leaves to cards. Play snap with the cards, for more able pupils, get them to call out the tree species instead of snap.

4. Make a collage using leaves – a mask or hedgehog shape in cardboard.

5. Put leaves in a frame (as in iee "conceptual encounters") and hold it up to the light to see all the veins and leaf structure

6. Cut leaves in half lengthways then match them up again – timing each other to see who is fastest!

7. Use a strip of card – punch holes into it and use it as a leaf headdress – sellotape the stalks through the holes on the inside of the strip and join the ends to form a circular headdress.

Mapsticks

Props

Sticks

Different colours of wool

Description

The children find a stick about the length of their forearm. Native americans used sticks to record the different types of place that they passed through. The children use the wool to bind different bits of leaf, stick, grass, cones etc. To represent the different areas they pass through e.g. Larch woodland, pond, broadleaved woodland, grassland, urban street etc.

They also use the different colours to remind them of natural features, e.g. Blue for water, brown for tree trunk etc.

The children then retrace their steps using the mapstick before taking it back to school with them.

Time: 30 mins

Number: 1+children

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Birds eye /ants eye view

Description

The children find an area of woodland and look down on it then they lie down close to it. They imagine flying over a vast plain or forest-prompt them with ideas of moss as trees, dinosaurs roaming on the plain, stumps as mountains etc. The area could be their Community

Woodland*. This is a good way to help pupils visualise maps and aerial views. Can be combined with ‘A Special Place Invite’ to make one activity.

Time: 10 mins

Number: 1+children

*The group could then mark out the area of their woodland. This is a good opportunity to get the group to take ownership of their woodland — perhaps helping to devise a ‘management plan ’ for the future. Back in the classroom use the games Mix’n’match Woodlands and

Create your own woodland to develop this theme.

Mini monsters

Props

Clay

Other materials for legs/eyes etc

Description

This is a good opportunity to incorporate ‘adaptations ’ as part of a minibeast hunt –the group divides and is each given some clay. Each group must invent a mini beast and must...

give it a name

describe where it lives

how big is it

what it eats, how it moves, how it breathes, etc...

The clay can be reused time and time again.

Time: Unlimited

Number: Any size of group

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Oh deer !

Props

An area large enough for students to run about

Chalkboard or flip chart

Description

A variety of factors affect the ability of wildlife to successfully maintain their populations over time – disease, predator/prey relationships, weather, pollution, and habitat destruction.

The activity is designed for students to learn that:

Good habitat is the key to survival

A population will continue to increase in size until limiting factors are imposed

Limiting factors contribute to fluctuations in wildlife populations

Nature is never in ‘balance’, but always constantly changing

And to have fun while doing it!

Split the group into 4 equal groups. Send a group to one end of the area, and the other 3 groups to the other end of the area. The first group become ‘deer’. They need to find food, water or shelter. They use their arms to symbolise what they need –

Food – hands over stomach

Water – hands over mouth

Shelter – hands clasped over their heads

During each round of the game the deer chose what they require-they mustn’t change during the course of the round. The larger group represents habitat components – food, water or shelter using the same hand signals. All players start with their backs to each other. At the word go they turn and run to find their match. Each deer must hold onto the match, and only one deer to each habitat need. Any deer that fails to find their need dies and is recycled to become part of the habitat group. The habitat and matched deer become new separate deer. Play approximately 15 rounds of the game. The habitat components can change each time. Record the changes in deer number against the rounds played on a graph, and have this as a visual record for the group to see.

Discussions

What do the animals need to survive? Was there a drought, fire, famine etc. During the game?

Are populations static or do they fluctuate?

Time: 30 -40 mins

Number: 20+ children

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

Orienteering

Preparation

For Orienteering, the leader will need to set out either cards or posts around the site before starting – there can be either letters/pictures to record on the cards, or questions to answer.

There are maps provided on this CDROM for all 47 sites within Thames Chase as well as more detailed maps for Forestry Commission sites. Make sure that the leader marks the points carefully on a master map before copying for the groups.

Description

In small groups follow a map around a simple orienteering course. Introduce the idea of

‘orienting’ the map so that it reflects correctly the way you are facing. Use landmark clues such as paths and rivers to keep your map oriented during the course. Higher levels can learn to use a compass to orientate their map.

Before starting make sure all groups are familiar with their starting point, any boundaries (e.g. roads) which they should not cross, and when they should return by. It is usual to have an adult

‘helper’ with each group, but they are there for safety and should make sure that the group work as a team without their lead. The whistle should be shown and the group told that if you hear it stop where you are and wait to be told what to do next. You may want to include ‘three blasts’ for groups to return to the start. On longer courses it is useful if there is a helper on a mountain bike who can cover the whole course quickly with a first aid kit.

This activity can be made more competitive with a timed ‘race’, each group leaving at different recorded intervals.

Time: Depends on the length of the course, but allow at least an hour

Number: 20+ children

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

The systems game

The following game is from 'Coming Back to Life' by Joanna Macy, Molly Brown (1998) New

Society Publishers. It has proved popular with adults and teenagers. (Sourced on www.

naturenet.net)

Needed: about 15-20 people, a large room or space.

Description

This activity demonstrates:

1. That life is composed of many different relationships (this is true for ecosystems, societies, economies etc)

2. That these relations are continually self-organising and re-adjusting as individuals try to make the best of things.

People stand in a large open space, either indoors or out. The guide may introduce what the game illustrates. The guide then gives 2 instructions. The first is: 'select two other people in the group, without indicating whom it is you have chosen. The second is: 'when the game starts, move so as to keep at all times an equal distance between you and each of these two people.' this, as the guide makes clear, does not mean just staying at the midpoint between the two others.

To do this, people immediately begin to circulate, each movement triggering many others in an active, interdependent fashion. Participants find they are, by necessity, maintaining wide-angle vision and quick responses and concentration.

It is quite a silly activity and unpredictable but at the same time needs concentration and purposefulness. The process usually speeds up for a while, then may abate, accelerate, and again slow down toward equilibrium, but it rarely comes to stasis.

The guide lets it continue for four or five minutes, then as activity lessens, invites people to pause where they are and reflect.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

The question 'what did you find?' can bring fruitful discussion.

Key features of self-regulating systems, such as the interdependence of all parts, and

• their continual activity in seeking and maintaining balance.

People may realize that they thought the point of the game was to achieve stasis; the guide can bring out and challenge this. The self-regulation of open systems requires

• constant internal activity.

The game shouldn't stop, unless people swap the people they are moving with, or lots of people all have selected the same few people. One way to prevent the last could be for people to draw names out of a hat rather than choose for themselves.

The guide may ask. 'Would anyone volunteer to organise this process?' it is obvious that no party or person on the outside could direct the movements necessary to keep this system in balance. Relations within systems are so complex they can only selfregulate. That is why life scientists came to the discovery of self-organising systems in their efforts to understand life-forms with more than one variable or moving part (i.e.

anything more complex than a helium atom, which has only one electron).

Variations.

1. Have two people stay out of the room during the instructions, then call them in at some point, and ask them to try and work out what is happening. At the end ask them if they could organise the process from outside.

2. The observers move through the game quietly without blocking anyone. (this is supposed to be like humans moving through a forest or swamp but not harming it).

Then they move through again several times- this time blocking or bumping into people. Ask players to comment on their experience of disturbance.

3. As a follow on to the original game, decide with the group to keep two players still, then repeat the game and see any difference. This is to represent some dysfunction in the system.

4. If the group seems to be slowing down and approaching equilibrium, the guide can move as if they are part of the game.

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

8

. Further Information

Websites www.thameschase.org.uk - For more information about Thames Chase—the Community

Forest to the East of London. www.forestry.gov.uk

- The Forestry Commission manage the nation’s woodlands and there is a wealth of information on our website. www.communityforest.org.uk

- Find out more about England’s twelve Community Forests. www.naturenet.net -

The '

Virtual Ranger

'

can answer (almost) any countryside question! www.countryside-jobs.co.uk

If you are looking for any kind of countryside job, this is the first place to look

Books

Cornell, J (1989) Sharing the joy of nature. Dawn

Cornell, J. (1990) Sharing Nature with Children. Dawn

Van Matre, S Johnson, B & Bries F (1990) Conceptual Encounters 1 & 2. I.E.E.

Van Matre, S (1985) Earthwalks. I.E.E.

'Coming Back To Life' by Joanna Macy, Molly Brown (1998) New Society Publishers

9

. Contact us

If you have any questions about this CDROM, or would like to know more about our work, please contact the Thames Chase team at:

The Thames Chase Forest Centre

Broadfields Farm

Pike Lane

Cranham

Upminster

Essex

RM14 3NS

Tel: 01708 641880

Fax: 01708 640581

Email: [email protected]

or [email protected]

© 2004 Crown Copyright. You may however, use and distribute freely for educational use.

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