The History of Scottish Forests

In this unit we will be looking back at the history of Scottish forests, looking first at the ways in which the trees first populated Scotland after the last ice age. From there we will look at events which have impacted upon forest populations before looking at how the forests of today are used now. Pupils will be encouraged to research topics of interest. The main focus of this unit will be climate change and how this will effect our forests. This unit will also deal with a theoretical situation in which the ice has melted from the polar ice caps and places such as Greenland.

Download the poster here (pdf, 806KB).

Sustainable Food

This unit of work is designed to provide pupils with information on where their food comes from and how we can produce food for a sustainable future. Pupils will undertake a wide variety of activities to enhance their understanding of the topic and to develop valuable life skills. The topic will use active learning though discussion and outdoor learning to enable the pupils to develop a deeper and more personal understanding of the unit.

Pupils will also use enquiry skills to evaluate their own diets to lead them towards healthier life choices. Pupils will look at the local community and how the surrounding area has in the past provided sustainable food sources as well as how it can do this in the future. In this unit questioning will be used to guide and support topical discussions such as a debate on GM crops. Through this pupils will develop a wide range of skills relating to literacy, health and wellbeing and science. The topic will be linked to information that has been previously covered by other subject areas as well as topics yet to be covered in other subjects to provide an interdisciplinary experience for the pupils.

Download the poster here (pdf, 464KB).

The Hedgehog House Project

The hedgehog population is in dramatic decline: numbers have declined by over a third between 2003 and 2012 through loss of habitats (fragmentation) and poor management of hedgerows. In this interdisciplinary project, learners will learn about the natural environment for a hedgehog and the importance of protecting the hedgehog species, and will design and manufacture a hedgehog house.

Download the project overview here (pptx, 820KB).

Putting the Hope back in Hope Hill

This unit of work engages young people in a project that is rich in scope but also grounded in a real world, authentic context that will be tangible to Scottish school children. Set in a fictional town in West Lothian, the project exposes learners to issues of sustainable development. This context will be pertinent to many living in towns that have suffered from industrial decline and are now seeking new identities as they expand with new housing and associated infrastructure. Based loosely on the new Heartlands development adjacent to Whitburn in West Lothian, which is one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe; young people will learn about how the provision of power, housing and the treatment of waste can be a sustainable process.

One of the key learning theories employed in this unit is the use of an authentic learning context that has tangible links to life beyond school, particularly with regards to the world of work and global citizenship. Authenticity in education is the provision of learning experiences that relate to the lives of pupils and experiences that they are likely to encounter later in adult life (Hennessy and Murphy, 1999). It is argued by Snape & Foz-Turnbull (2013) that authentic projects which have ‘real-world’ contexts expose learners to a wider range of experiences that are transferable to the situations that they are likely to encounter in the workplace, therefore fostering a sense of responsibility for life beyond the classroom. Continue reading “Putting the Hope back in Hope Hill”

Red Squirrel Feeder Box

This unit of work is designed to be taught at S3 broad general education (BGE) level over twelve sessions. It will look at red squirrel conservation in the forest whilst simultaneously highlighting the use of timber as a sustainable material which can be used to manufacture feeder boxes for these animals. The unit will explore the issues pertaining to the red squirrels’ current plight as an endangered native species and look into the methods conservationists are utilising in order to protect the species from extinction.

Red squirrel conservation and sustainable forestry have been selected as the foundations of this unit of work in order to inform the learners of the cyclical nature of the forestry which may hold the key to saving the native red squirrel population from extinction and which simultaneously provides timber which, when managed correctly, provides a sustainable material. Continue reading “Red Squirrel Feeder Box”

A Bat-tastic Journey

Bats are the theme of this unit of work and which is aimed towards pupils in Secondary school education as part of their CfE 3rd / 4th level broad general education and developed in partnership with various external enterprises. The contextual theme for the unit is based around an authentic scenario of bats; the protection of them and their habitats; environmental impacts; bat roost construction; and outdoor learning.
Presenting the unit within an authentic context is derived from Situated Learning theory, where authenticity brings a coherent, personally meaningful and purpose to the unit of work whilst set within a social framework. This will promote pupils motivation, interest, engagement and cognitive learning. Continue reading “A Bat-tastic Journey”