Summer Term 2019
How could we survive in the wilderness?
Building small shelters
We started this enquiry with a walk to the woods. While we were there, we had to use the materials available to make a shelter for a mouse. We had to consider how to make the structure stable and how to make it waterproof as the mouse didn't want to get wet.
We started by finding a suitable location. Some of us used the trees, rocks or bank as a stable support for the shelter. Then we added small sticks as reinforcements before layering leaves as a waterproof cover. We made sure that all of the leaves were facing in the same direction so that the water would run off them and onto the floor.
Water is really important to avoid dehydration but if we were stranded we wouldn't be able to drink the water straight from a stream or river as it wouldn't be clean.
We spent an afternoon at Kate Brook. We started by collecting half a cup of water and then made it dirtier by adding mud, clay, leaves, grass, ash and other materials around the river bank. The challenge was to use natural materials to filter the water into another cup.
Most of us started by finding a large leaf with holes in it and carefully poured the dirty water through the leaf into the empty cup. This took out some of the larger pieces but it still wasn't drinkable. We then tried different techniques:
- Used a leaf with smaller holes.
- Layered small sticks one way and then the other over the empty cup and then placed grass over the top.
- Picked lots of grass and held it above the cup.
Some of us managed to end up with a cup of discoloured water.
Fire lighting and fire safety
Fires are important for warmth and cooking. We found out how to safely light a fire and keep it going using kindling and sticks.
We had to be patient and work together once the kindling had lit to gently place more fuel onto the fire so it didn't go out.
Working together, we collected kindling and made a large fire in the fire pit. Once the fire had was hot enough, we baked apples. When they were cooked, we peeled off the skin and ate them. They were delicious!
In groups of 6, we chose a location, designed, built and evaluated shelters in the Environmental Area. After they were built, we ate our lunch in them and left them over night to see if they would survive. All of the shelters were still standing the next day and most of them survived the water test. However, I don't think we would have been very warm in some of them if we'd spent the night in them.
Hot chocolate and marshmallows
To end a fabulous outdoor learning week, we lit the big fire again. We used it to toast marshmallow and boil water so that we could make hot chocolate.