Year 5 went on an exciting residential trip to Heatree House on Dartmoor from the 2nd – 4th May. Split into two groups, the badgers and foxes, the children focussed on geography and history over the three days.
The main focus of the residential was the river study. The foxes started at the source of the River Lemon- at Hay Tor, working down the river to the mouth at Teignmouth and the badgers did the same in reverse. Along the way, they measured the width, depth, flow rate and pebble angularity (smoothness of the granite) and collected data on these different aspects of the river. Over the next few weeks they will be looking at this data to find averages and correlations with a final aim of creating a portfolio of work around rivers, their features, and how they develop. Back at Heatree house they did further work on rivers. Firstly, the children played the ‘Key Game’ to classify and identify different types of shell. They then used that knowledge as they took to a stream on the Heatree grounds. In the stream they dipped nets, danced the ‘Heatree Shuffle’ to disturb the river bed and examined what they had caught in a tray of water. The children and adults alike were astounded at the incredible abundance of life they found in such a small stream. Numerous worms and bugs could be found alongside a plethora of different larvae. The jewel in the crown for many groups was to find the top predator of the stream – the comparatively huge dragonfly nymph (look it up!) However, Jack’s group managed to find six of them! Taking their knowledge even further, the groups went to the ‘cycle factory’. Here, rather than riding bikes (which several anticipated) they recreated some of the different cycles that sustain our natural world – such as the water cycle, oxygen cycle and the cycle of nutrients through soil and decomposition. This activity concluded with the children creating a large food web in which they represented either a producer, consumer or a predator and all linked together using string. Then, one of the Heatree instructors showed what a vast impact pollution can have through spoiling one of the energy sources or producers.
The historical element of the trip built on our class work on the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Leading up to Heatree, the children had been looking at Stonehenge and what an incredible feat it was to build. They also wrote stories based in the Bronze Age, which some of the children, including Harry and Charlotte, took to Heatree and read on the Thursday evening in a roundhouse. This was a brilliant occasion as the children sat around the fire, listening to one another’s stories and learning about the roundhouse’s construction and features – including why they didn’t have chimneys. In addition to this they took part in a number of bush craft activities that would have helped them survive in the more nomadic days of prehistory: they built shelters in the woods, cooked Bannock bread, made fires, created cave paintings, and even made their own nettle and sticky weed tea – which was positively received… by some of the children!
The residential was an excellent experience and enjoyed by all. Despite an unfavourable weather forecast beforehand, we only encountered a tiny amount of drizzle, so none of the activities were at all hindered and we spent most of the time outdoors. This enabled the children to spend plenty of time on the swings, getting rounders on the field and showing off their footballing prowess to the puffed out teachers! No doubt they will all have a great time again when they return to Heatree for adventurous activities in Year 6!