Many of you will be familiar with the 'Enchanted Kingdom' from our blog series earlier this year that looked at the various chapters of the educational eBook based upon the BBC Earth film of the same name.
Recently, schools within the Northampton Primary Academy Trust have been working together on a series of project based learning initiatives based upon the Enchanted Kingdom eBook. The ambitious cross-academy collaboration is being driven by Tom Rees, head teacher at Simon de Senlis School, and sees students and teachers from the six schools that comprise the trust working through the tasks and lesson plans contained within the eBook via a series of project based learning activities, as well as coming up with some of their own ideas inspired by their journey through the Enchanted Kingdom.
Owing to the kaleidoscopic array of wildlife, plants, terrain and climatic extremes that combine to form the content of Africa, there are countless topics and educational concepts that the Enchanted Kingdom is able to introduce to children in a way that excites, engages and inspires them. This is reflected in the work we are seeing produced by students from the NPAT and shared by their teachers via the #NPATEK hashtag on Twitter.
For example, the Weston Favell Primary School blog now features poetry inspired by the 'Mercurial Waters' chapter on the Enchanted Kingdom, written by Year 6 students:
— WestonFavell Primary (@WFPrimary) June 19, 2015
Stepping out of the classroom and searching for an Enchanted Kingdom slightly closer to home, the students at Headlands Primary have been investigating nearby woodland:
— Headlands Primary (@HeadlandsPri) June 15, 2015
Two of the teachers at Simon de Senlis – Tomos Prosser and Charlotte Coade - are also part of the MIEE community, and like their peers at the other schools in the trust, they've been sharing their experiences and the work created by their students.
For example, Myles Connolly - producer of the Enchanted Kingdom film - has been connecting with the students of schools within the trust via Skype in the Classroom:
— Lingsprimary (@LingsPrimarySch) June 8, 2015
This call certainly sparked something at Simon de Senlis, where one of Tomos Prosser's students produced this fantastic Sway all about Gelada Baboons:
Tomos also shared this with Myles, who was suitably impressed with not only the endeavour of the student, but also in the capacity the film and associated materials and activities have for engaging and inspiring students:
"That is a brilliant piece of work! Truly amazing what the kids can do given some encouragement and the right tools. The world is sure to be a better place with this kind of inspired opportunity."
Staying with Simon de Senlis, Charlotte got in touch to tell us about how her class have been learning all about the population demographics:
“Through immersion for Enchanted Kingdom, Year 5 were exposed to different viewpoints, perceptions and stereotypes associated with this area of the world. As part of this, a survey was sent around to the school on OneNote for children to complete in classes. They were asked a range of questions and asked for the majority view. Having this on OneNote allowed all classes to contribute to the survey and have one place for Year 5 children to analyse the results together. Once collected, the year group used Excel Online (through Office 365) to create pie charts and bar charts before summarising their findings. This made it easier to compare and contrast different questions and collate the mode data.”
Elsewhere in the NPAT, children at Abington Vale Primary have taken what they've learned about volcanic activity through the Enchanted Kingdom, and are now starting an original project that looks at how this geological process can trigger chain reactions on our planet, using Pompeii as an example.
As you can see, there have been some very creative ways of tackling the subject matter:
There is plenty more going on within the Northampton Primary Academy Trust, and we will be taking another look at how the students and teachers are continuing to draw inspiration from the Enchanted Kingdom in due course. If you’d like to delve further into this project, search on Twitter for #NPATEK to see the latest tweets and links to students’ work.