Today we conclude our two month journey across Africa as we look at the eighth and final chapter of the Enchanted Kingdom educational eBook, a compilation of project based learning activities based upon Microsoft UK Education’s partnership with BBC Earth on the Neil Nightingale directed 3D Nature Film of the same name.
Chapter 8: Enchanted Kingdom – Grand Finale
Although the Enchanted Kingdom film focuses almost solely on Africa, its message is a global one. Nature is to be respected, protected and marvelled at. By participating in this final, collaborative project, the learners in your school will be able to share the nature in their locality with other students around the world, regardless of their location. Using Skype in the classroom – you will be able to link up with other classes and go on a shared nature walk in your local area.
What do you need to get involved?
Devices with the Skype App installed.
Several school-based Skype Accounts that can be used by children (one for each device).
A link school (found on the Skype in the classroom network – see eBook appendix for details).
Learning objectives: Students will be able to identify the similarities and differences between ecosystems and the creatures that live in them.
Project aim/question: What natural kingdoms are living in your area?
Key language: Adaption, Mutation, Food Chains, Food Webs, Ecosystems.
The lesson plans within the Enchanted Kingdom eBook are split into three stages, typically with the first two providing the students with information and the third being the application of this knowledge in a creative activity. For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll keep it light by telling you what the information contained within the first two stages are, and then let you take a look at the eBook for lesson plan suggestions and further resources.
STAGE 1: Preparing for the link-up
After finding your link school (see Skype in the classroom – appendix), task the class with researching as much as possible about their area. As part of this process, ask students to generate enquiry questions to as their link class (e.g. how does the weather affect eco-systems near your school?).
Investigate your local area, searching for plant and animal species that call it their home. Each project group should focus their research on a small number of these that they will be able to talk about during the link.
STAGE 2: Linking with another classroom
Depending on the wireless signal, the number of devices and the number of available staff, teachers on both sides of the link will need to discuss times and dates for students to link.
If a class only has one or two available devices, teachers may wish to conduct small discussions between two groups (one in each location) that are spread out over the period of a few days or weeks.
A purposeful link:
Students spend a short time introducing themselves to their counterparts.
They discuss what their local area is like to live in.
While out and about in their local area, groups take it in turns to show wildlife in their locations (birds nests, hedgerows, etc.) using their research to inform what they say.
There should be opportunity for groups to ask questions of each other.
The groups close the call by deciding on areas for further research.
STAGE 3: Building the link
After the link, groups can spend time feeding back what they found to their peers. They can also conduct additional research into the questions that they were asked during the link.
Once this is done, they can use an email client (such as outlook.office365.com) to contact their counterparts with extra information.
Useful software for your classroom
In order to achieve some of the outcomes of the project, students will need access to certain apps, programmes and devices. We have listed some recommended ones to help you get started:
We are very grateful to the staff and pupils at Broadclyst Community Primary School for their help in bringing to life the project based learning activities set out in the Enchanted Kingdom educational eBook. They documented their experiences on video and have been kind enough to let us host them on our MEE TV YouTube Channel. Here, some of the people involved in the project from the BBC, Microsoft and Broadclyst talk about what the Enchanted Kingdom means to them:
We at Microsoft are excited to be involved in ‘Enchanted Kingdom’. The quality of the project, the breadth of its scope and its ambitious reach are in tune with all that we, as a global company stand for.
Our interest is naturally given extra impetus by the fact that the film is a highly creative enterprise using cutting edge technology that enables talented film makers and artists to achieve their vision to an unprecedented degree. It takes audiences on a breath-taking series of journeys, encountering landscapes, awe-inspiring natural wonders and an infinite variety of living creatures.
In a way that we find exciting, the film reflects our core message that Microsoft technologies are, above all, creative, setting users free to express their responses, views and feelings in whatever way seems appropriate. The lesson plans that are included here, with advice about appropriate Microsoft technologies, will help learners to bring that creativity and emotional impact to life, while acquiring and reinforcing a rich array of knowledge and skills along the way.
As we conclude our journey, we’d like to remind you that all of the previous chapters in this serialisation of the Enchanted Kingdom Educational eBook can still be found on our blog.
Enchanted Kingdom eBook – Chapter 1: Enter the Mysterious Forests of Central Africa
Enchanted Kingdom eBook – Chapter 2: Brave the Fiery Underworld
Enchanted Kingdom eBook – Chapter 3: Surviving the Alien Sands
Enchanted Kingdom eBook – Chapter 4: Journey the Scorched Plains
Enchanted Kingdom eBook – Chapter 5: Voyage of the Fantastical Seas
Enchanted Kingdom eBook – Chapter 6: Traversing the frozen spires
Enchanted Kingdom eBook – Chapter 7: Mercurial Waters – Africa’s great rivers
Thank you for joining us!