From understanding comes strength
Woodland week 1 – Wednesday 23rd August 2017
Our first week in the woods was a wet one! We headed to our site at Corsee Wood after loading our minibus. Our first task was to put up the canopy to provide some shelter and then we did a group risk assessment so we knew which areas to stay away from and to familiarise ourselves with the new environment. We made a big camp fire to keep us warm and everyone set about learning about how to set up the camp area. It was too wet to do many activities outside of the canopy so pupils learned about all the different tools we use. After an introduction to knife skills the pupils tried it out by whittling a stick to a sharp point. We made hot drinks using the Kelly kettles and Lunch today was chicken wraps which we cooked on our skillet. A warm lunch was very welcome on such a wet day. After a small break in the weather pupils were able to use the different tools to cut dead wood for our wood pile. They used Laplanders, bow saws, loppers and secateurs. It was a really great start to our outdoor sessions and everyone did so well coping with such a bad weather day. Well done everyone.
Woodland week 2 -
Pupils are now becoming more familiar with how to set up the woodland camp and everyone helped today. Our first task was to learn about safely lighting and extinguishing a fire. We discussed fire safety rules and did a demonstration of how to light a fire using the fire steels. Pupils collected dead wood in three thicknesses; matchstick, pencil and finger so that they could burn them in their own 5 minute fires. Everyone listened well and worked together to create a good bundle of sticks. It was good to see everyone having success and showing perseverance.
Today we built our toilet area as we had been unable to do this because of bad weather previously. We used our tools to lash fallen branches together and create a shelter area. It required a great deal of team work and effort and using some tools is very tiring but we managed to create a private and sheltered toilet area.
We cooked minestrone soup today which we had with crusty bread. We whittled a long stick so we could toast marshmallows. These were very much enjoyed along with some strawberries.
Woodland week 3 -
Our focus today was being creative using natural materials. We made tea light holders by making natural paints and printing onto cotton material with a selection of interesting leaves and flowers.
Wednesday 13th September
We were learning more advanced knife skills today and we used these skills to whittle a gnome. We also started whittling a mushroom which requires more precision and patience. At all times we followed the knife safety rules, to keep ourselves and others safe. To develop our shelter building experience further we looked at different types of structures and thought about what makes them strong. Groups worked together to make mini shelters using the principles we had learned.
Wednesday 20th September
We worked in Clune Wood at Durris today on science activities. We did a study of the stream to see if it was polluted or clean by doing kick sampling. We used magnifying glasses to look closely at any bugs or creatures we found. Our results told us the stream was very clean. Our next activity was doing chromatography of leaves to separate the colours and study photosynthesis
Wednesday 27th September
We have started to think about the types of animals we might find in Scotland. We made a simple box that will hopefully capture the tracks of small animals. We used flour, a selection of nuts and seeds and a box. The box was camouflaged and left in place. Next week we hope to find some evidence of visitors.
We finished our wooden mushrooms and played tracking games. Today we talked about John Muir; who he was, what he is famous for and about the work that we will do to complete our John Muir Award.
Wednesday 4th October
Shelter building was our main focus of the morning. We worked in groups to develop and build on the skills we used last week. We discussed what worked and what needed improving. Both groups worked well as a team and we saw a real improvement.
We started natural pictures using leaves, grasses, flowers and other small items we found in the woods. It was exciting to look in the tracker box we hid last week. We were delighted to see we had loads of tiny visitors. There were footprints all over our flour floor and most of the food left was gone. We discussed native Scottish animals and looked at the squirrel feeders we will be putting up over the next few weeks.
Wednesday 11th October
In Clune Wood today we thought about how we use maths outdoors. We discussed foresters and how they need to calculate how much wood they have in their forests.
Pupils measured, estimated, used a formula and chose the correct mathematical calculations to work out how much wood is in a 10m x10m square. This information could then be used to work out how much wood is in a forest.
We continued learning about Scottish wildlife by playing the ‘Who am I’ game.
Wednesday 1st November
We thought about literacy in the woods today and were joined by Mrs Thom from English. After a scavenger hunt looking for a variety of different natural materials we listed to an extract from George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Pupils then wrote their own marvellous medicine recipe using natural items in as creative a way as possible. They then wrote the method used to make their medicine and shared ideas with the group.
Wednesday 8th November
Our visit to Duthie Park in Aberdeen gave us lots of opportunities to take some photographs. Mrs Bett spoke about how to use different angles to make the photos look interesting and how to frame them. We looked for a variety of different colours, textures, sizes and anything that caught our eye. We also learned about trees and used a lead id sheet to identify which trees were in the park. Whilst we did this we were following an orienteering course through the park and finding different markers following a map.
Wednesday 15th November
It was a beautiful crisp day for our photography and we started with a river walk along Blackhall taking photographs as we went. We used our photography hunt sheet to include as many natural items as possible. Our walk continued at Milton of Crathes and we enjoyed learning about different ways to take nature photos.
Wednesday 29th November
We made boats out of a variety of recycled materials and took them with us to Crathes. The boats were launched in the very rapid flowing Coy Burn and timed as they floated under the bridge. Some boats weathered the water better than others! We really enjoyed this activity. We explored some of the Crathes grounds and found various orienteering points using a map. Our final challenge was ‘spider web’. Each group of 5 had to get through the 5 holes in the web making sure that only one person went through each hole. It required real teamwork and both groups managed to get each team member through.
Wednesday 6th December
We used a new skill today to make Christmas garlands. We used the pyrography pens to burn letters into wood slices, spelling a Christmas word. These were decorated and strung ready to take home. We also made Santa families using the same knife techniques as we used to make gnomes. These were glued onto bark squares and decorated to make an attractive Christmas ornament.