Posts Tagged With: Geography

#geographycamp14 – John Muir Award

We have been working all weekend to meet the John Muir Award Level 1. As well as to have fun of course.

John Muir was an explorer and loved the outdoors, he wanted to protect it and share it with other people so they could enjoy as well.

We have met the award in different ways. Here:

Discover: we have discovered the woodlands and hills around Juniper Hall on the Box Hill estate. We discovered new habitats we hadn’t seen before compared to Portsmouth. We discovered small mammals of field mice and voles. We discovered minibeasts in the woods. We discovered water bugs in the pond dipping. We discovered what the sky looked like at night with all the stars, and what an owl sounds like in real life. We discovered that there is a special snail that lives here that is the biggest one.

Explore: we have explored lots. We explored all over the grounds doing orienteering. We explored the Ha Ha and woods to see what creatures and plants live there and why. We explored the woods to see what they are made of and how they are different to parks at home or to the rainforest we have studied. We explored Happy Valley and why it is a valley. We explored the woods to make shelters and national parks. We explored the big muddy puddles! We explored the grounds and found different plants – and some very weird looking vegetables we had never seen.

Conserve: we conserved by working on the dead hedge project. We cut down bits of dead fallen tree and shrubs and recycled these into a dead hedge like weaving. This makes the area neat and gives a habitat for small mammals and minibeasts. Also it helps store carbon which means less greenhouse gases and global warming trouble. We also conserved when we made shelters in the woods because we only used fallen material and put it all back to how it was before we started. We heard we should ‘take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints’. We also conserved our environment inside and out because we kept the gardens and house clean and tidy.

Share: we have shared our work with the world through twitter and the blog. We have also told our families. And back at school we will share with our friends and will be doing an assembly to other year 8 and year 7 all about what we did and learnt.

We also had some fun meeting the award by doing funny missions from the Mission:Explore book. Things like ‘Nature’s symphony’ where we made music to match our natural surroundings and only used natural items. We did some percussion on the tree trunks and using sticks and branches to make a rhythm in the woods. We also did the ‘Act like a Victorian’ mission – although we didn’t have a blanket. But we did find some pond life creatures and then we imagined what we would name them if we were the first people to discover them. We did this before we looked at the real name. So we had the ‘invisible flipping worm’ instead of the midge larvae. We made ‘National Parks’  in miniature in the woods. Different groups made different things like rainforests, lakes, fishing parks or climbing trees – using only natural materials and on a small scale. We did lots.

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#geographycamp14 What is live blogging?

We’ve been learning new skills this weekend. For me, Jabed, I have learnt how to write blogs. It’s been good as I’ve been documenting what goes on over the weekend, along with other people. We’ve used the Windows8 tablets, the iphones and the flip cameras to record what we are up to and share with the world. On the Windows8 laptop we’ve been doing live blogging. This is when you blog right at the very moment of doing something. I’ve used the centre wifi or Ms Debens phone to get internet and then it means I can write about what we do and share photos straight away.

We’ve blogged from the woods during shelter building, from on top of the hill, from the campfire, wherever. Anywhere. It means parents and teachers and people from away can see our work and our fun.

Also, we’ve been tweeting out pictures through the @priorysouthea and @priorygeography twitter accounts. Miss or Sir checks we are being safe and what we are uploading, and we make sure we don’t break e-safety rules but it’s good.

It’s really exciting knowing other people can see what we do and it makes us proud when we get comments back or if people read the blog or favourite a tweet. So I’ve learnt something new.

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#geographycamp14 Conservation challenge

As part of the Geography Camp weekend we are working to achieve our level 1 John Muir trust award. This is where we do different activities to follow in the footsteps of John Muir who was an explorer who discovered different wilderness places and tried to tell people about them and how to look after them. We have done different experiences to Discover, Explore, and Share a place so the last thing to do is to Conserve.

Conservation is where you look after something or protect it. Like with the rainforest when you need to conserve so that it is not all destroyed. The opposite is when you exploit something (like when the rainforest is all cut own to plant palm oil trees or something). Or you can do sustainable development which looks after resources for the future in a balanced way.

A few years ago Priory started a conservation project at Juniper Hall where students did coppicing and trimming of woodland to help it grow and flourish. Then they used the waste materials to recycle to build a ‘dead hedge’ fence. This is like a hedge but is made of dead bits of tree that are all cut off like twigs and small branches. It is good to recycle materials as it means the carbon isn’t burnt but stays stored away, which means there’s not so much greenhouse gases to make global warming. Also it’s good for the little mammals like voles and mice or minibeasts that can build homes under it or in it.

So we went to work to make the dead hedge bigger and neaten it up and to build some more around the centre. When Priory started this about 3 years ago there was only one hedge, and now there are 4 big ones around the centre.

We got to work with some different tools to do this, like loppers and saws. We had to be really careful and work carefully together as teams to supply materials and build the hedge. It looked really good by the end and I was proud to help.

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#geographycamp14 Day 3 – Team building games

Today we completed some more team games. The purpose was to build our confidence and social skills, to work with people we haven’t done before and make new friends, to communicate better and to have fun. We did lots of different games like orienteering.

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#geographycamp14 Day 3

Today we started with a nice breakfast of pastries and boiled eggs. Then we went to check our small mammal traps and feed these then release them. We found some voles and field mice. Then we did team games. Like egg drop challenge, races and orienteering. Lots of fun and learning to work together and communicate.
We went and saw the area where we will do our conservation challenge. This is to meet our John Muir award. We will carry on the dead hedge that Priory School started three years ago and will be keeping this up.

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#geographycamp14 Getting up close with scary creatures!

We were able to meet some exotic creatures this afternoon. It was all very interesting and we could choose to have a close look, or a stroke of some creatures like cockroaches and snakes and to see the Chilean spider as it came past.






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#geographycamp14 pond dipping for water creatures

We collected some items to catch invertebrates and pond living creatures. We went to the pond in teams and used nets to fish out the animals. Once we had got some we came back to the classroom and looked at them under microscopes.

We found midges, midge larvae, flies and water woodlice.

As part of the weekend we are working to gain the John Muir Trust award which is when we learn to discover, explore, conserve and share a place. We are doing this by getting outdoors and by completing Mission: Explore missions.

One Mission from the John Muir book is to imagine you are the first discoverer of something. If we had been the first person to discover the midge larvae we would probably have called it a Lightning Spasm Worm because of the way it moves.

Team #Octopus

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#geographycamp14 shelter building

We worked in our teams to create shelters in the woods. Ideally these should be wind and water proof. It was tiring and hard to make them solid and strong. We had to demonstrate our shelter and explain our design. Then we tested them with water!


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Team Haribo shelter building

Team Haribo shelter building

Team Haribo is making a wonderful shelter.

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Team Bananas in Pyjamas shelter building

Team Bananas in Pyjamas shelter building

Shelter building for #geographycamp14

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#geographycamp14 Shelter building




We are up in the woods above Juniper Hall building shelters. Like Ray Mears or Bear Grills maybe! This is a challenge because it has to be strong, none of the sticks are the same length, it has to be waterproof and windproof but the wood is soggy from all the heavy rain.

Team Dung Beetle say their plan was to build a solid base first, then use sticks against the base then cover with leaves. It’s really fun!

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Review of day 1

So on the first day we got up to some team building games and exploring. First we looked at what makes a good team member. We all agreed that a good team needs communication, respect, cooperation, listening, decisions, sharing, caring, friendly, fun, hard work. Then we di games like the human knot and crossing the river where we had to work as a team to help each other solve problems. It was great funn and then we realised we don’t always listen as well as we think – and thata this causes chaos!

Then we had cake break and enjoyed the common room. We have to keep it clean and neat and what to show we are respectful.

After break we went into the woods to do minibeast hunting. Looking for bugs. We looked under leaf litter, under trees, in the branches, anywhere. We found lots of bugs and looked at them then set them free.

Then we went and set our small mammal traps. These are humane traps that don’t hurt animals. We put straw and food inside to give them somewhere warm and snug for the night. then we hid them so no predators like foxes or owls could see. Soon we will see what we caught and then release them.

After dinner we wrapped up warm and went on a night hike. It was pitch black! We had torches and also used our night vision. We climbed up Juniper hill. It was exciting and we heard foxes and owls. We sat on the hill and looked at the stars which was so bright compared to Portsmouth. Then we went back to the house and relaxed before bed. Good day!

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Geography Camp – the first day

So today was the first day of the year 8 Geography Camp. We set off this morning for Juniper Hall. This centre is run by the Field Studies Centre and is in Dorking. We were all really excited to get out of the city and see some countryside.

As part of the trip we are working to win a John Muir Trust award which will show that we can discover, explore, conserve and share a wild place. So today was mostly exploring and discovering which was good. We had sunshine as well! And cake.

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