Our company received a letter from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) revealing that we had been nominated for an award because of our outstanding work rescuing coastal wildlife in the UK. The award ceremony was to be held in London on Monday and we needed to provide photos and information about the work we had done in the past.
We discussed key terms to help us understand the letter (nominate, award, rescue, coastal, wildlife) and used drama to explore the kind of work that a coastal wildlife rescue team would do. We also shared ideas about the kind of wildlife we would find on the coast of the United Kingdom – some ideas we couldn’t agree on, so we used the internet to check them.
Using a map of the UK we identified the four countries in the United Kingdom, as well as Ipswich in Suffolk and the capital of England, London, where the awards were to be held. We recalled past jobs of importance and identified off the coast of which four countries in the UK the jobs took place. We recorded the year they took place as well as who had called us to the rescue. We talked about how lots of families have called us to help animals in the past and we shared thoughts on how families can look different to our own. We drew the different families that had called us and used drama to make photos of each job.
Being a successful company, we have rescued many animals in the past, and so we created pictograms and block diagrams to show data from our company’s work last year. We interpreted the data by reading the charts we had produced.
We also produced a map of our rescue centre and decided on a name…Sea Life Savers.
On Monday we ‘travelled’ to London and were presented with the award for ‘Rescue Team of the Year’!
Week Two and Three
Continuing to build the context of our organisation, we have begun to transfer our classroom into the Sea Life Savers base. Useful equipment can be found hanging in the classroom and an office has been set up where phone calls and emails appear daily and children spend free moments busily noting down the details of these messages. We completed a timetable detailing who is working on each day of the week, as well as recording what time we all start and finish work each day (using o’clock and half past).
Wondering about the sizes of the animals we are used to rescuing, we have measured and drawn life sized representations of them. We used centimetres and metres and sorted the animals from smallest to largest. Then we compared the sizes of the different animals to find out how much bigger one is than the other and introduced the terminology of difference.
Weather has become interesting to us as we are wary of sea conditions on our rescues. We have our own manual weather station that we set everyday according to our observations, as well as a real weather station which measures wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and temperature. We record our measurements every day so that we know what to expect.
This week a telephone message was received from a local lady who had been walking her dog on the beach by the fishing village near us when she had discovered something washed up on the beach. She wasn’t sure what it was, but it was ‘about 3 cars long’. We held an emergency company meeting, chaired and minuted by the children, where we discussed what we thought. Discussions included the possible size of the animal and what it might be, as well as where we might rescue it.
Looking at a map of Suffolk, we decided upon a location for our company (on the River Deben, close to the river mouth). We then decided where the fishing village might be and have begun to create a map of the village.
Time is of the essence if we are to save this animal’s life!
Weeks Four and Five
Following on from last week’s telephone message, we decided that we needed to draw on our previous knowledge about coastal marine life to try and find out what species has been washed up on the shore. Taking the information from the phone call, we measured the length of cars in our company car park to understand roughly how long ‘3 cars’ would be, finding that these were between 3 and 4 metres. In relation to our creatures, this leads us to think the creature could possibly be a Minke whale (9m) or a baby Humpback whale.
Looking at the village, we discussed as a team what is in a typical fishing village, and went about creating these – houses, a school, a church, a bakery and so on. After creating these, we labelled them and added them to our map. The question ‘what is the name of our village?’ was raised, and this prompted us to come up with different ideas to name our village. Fish village? Sea shell village? Pebble village? Eventually, we put our ideas to the vote and decided on the name Pearl Village – leading further investigation on how pearls are formed! We wondered why the village would have been called this – but that’s a question for another time.
To ensure we can carry out our rescue endeavours to the best of our ability, our company boats must be dependable and able to withstand challenging weather conditions and substantial weight. Back at our company headquarters we have been trialing and testing boat designs using playdough to find out what shapes and forms float best, and what can take the most weight. We thought about the effects of gravity and up thrust when making and testing further designs using only paper and masking tape.
Using small gemstones as our weights, we tested our miniature vessels in tubs of water, observing what was happening to them when more weights were added and recording our findings. On reflection, we discussed what aspects of our designs worked well, and what we could alter later on.
This week we decided we should go to the village and assess the beached animal in order to form a plan. We decided we needed to find out if it was hurt, how heavy it was, and whether we could move it. We used drama to get all of the equipment ready that we needed and set out on our different modes of transport to get to the beach (some of us in cars, others in boats). As we neared the beach we paused using binoculars to take in the surroundings. We began to describe what we could see, hear and smell using basic language; this was then developed by adding adjectives to our observations creating increasingly descriptive sentences. We then wrote down what we could see, hear and smell as we approached the beach. Later this was edited and redrafted by the children with support from the teachers.
Much of our descriptions led to observations of the whale bleeding and being in pain. This will impact upon what care we can give the whale and how successful we may be in releasing him back into the sea. The children talked about the amount of water we will need to keep it cool and wet, and this is identified as something to investigate soon.
On arrival at the beach we found a number of people (our Danish teacher visitors) around the whale. These were residents and workers in the village and they all had different opinions about how this happened (given by the teacher). The children identified who the villagers were (where they lived or what their job was) and broke into groups to talk to them about what they thought. Having to listen carefully to the villagers the children drew what they thought had happened and presented their findings to the rest of the group. This developed into a big discussion about the impact of plastics and about materials that do and do not decompose.
With the pause button pressed on our rescue we have had time to explore the questions we had asked ourselves previously.
One child wanted to know how much water we needed to pour on the whale to keep it cool so we have explored millilitres and litres, measuring containers and scale reading, as well as designed a water machine that will pump water from the sea (being careful not to pick up any small creatures) and allow it to return to the sea once washed off the whale.
Another child wanted to know whether we could lift the whale, so we have explored grams and kilograms, compared weights of animals and discovered that our whale might way around 5000 kg – the same as a lorry! We looked at pulley systems to see how cranes might help to lift heavy things.
Once we pressed play on our rescue we used drama to assess the whale. We discovered wounds all over it that we think could have come from rocks, fishing hooks and lines or boats. The children are becoming very suspicious of the local fishermen.
Concerned for the whale we stepped into role as the creature and spoke its thoughts. We then used these as a starting point for writing.
This week the veterinary experts led an examination of the whale. We packed vital equipment and discussed necessary actions. We then carried out any medical work that needed to be done before attempting to move the whale. This included stitching large wounds, photographing wounds, attaching a tracking device etc. We then wrote up a report about what we had done.
Later in the week we designed ways in which we could lift and move the whale, we watched videos of other real life rescues and thought about how pulleys might help us.
We also watched a short information film about echolocation and using percussion instruments created our own soundscapes for the whale. We wrote our own scores and conductors kept each group in time.
Finally, on Friday, we attempted the final rescue. Teams of Sea Life Savers agreed on their preferred rescue plan and used drama to demonstrate the rescue. After much hard work the whale was finally moved safely back into the sea and we watched it swim away, celebrating our success and sharing our feelings. We then wrote up our emotions about the day.
Hooray for Sea Life Savers!
This week, our team of experts received an urgent voice message from the RNLI in Southwold asking for our help in finding a group of missing fishermen from Pearl Village. We looked at our village map, and were able to locate the family homes of the missing fishermen, and discovered that they all have different faith and beliefs which could help them keep hope in their time of need. We discussed how their family would be feeling with them not returning home, and put ourselves in the position of these family members to produce a piece of writing explaining their concerns and emotions. We referred to our map showing the village and the port and drew out different possible routes that the fishermen could have sailed to. This involved us using directions using left and right, and quarter, half and three quarter turns.
The case brought up a lot of questions for our company. Have they been stranded somewhere? Where they trying to catch a whale? Have they drowned? Are these shark infested waters? Is fishing good for the environment? With all these questions and opinions, we wrote down our initial thoughts, then held a company meeting and talked about what we should do. Although we have thought about the negative impact fishing can have on the environment, we feel that it is our duty to save the fishermen and return them to their families. Time to plan the rescue!
The rescue of the sailors lost at sea was not an easy task, but we used our expert skills and returned the sailors back to their relieved and grateful families. We looked once again at the way in which each family was praying for their safe return and used drama to explore the moment they were reunited.
When speaking to the fishermen, they said they they had been very scared whilst stranded and had heard strange sounds and mysterious tapping noises from underneath the boat. They had seen its shadow and were convinced it was unlike any other creature they had ever seen. Thinking about what could have caused this, we started to question what sea creature this could be. We wrote down our ideas and described what happened from the points of view of the fishermen, thinking about how scared and worried they must have been feeling.
Our maths work involved an ongoing case from our company, as we received a phone call a few weeks ago telling us that lots of gems had been washed up on the shore in Pearl Village. We all estimated roughly how many gems there could be, and then used our knowledge of the 2, 3, 5 and 10 times table to count them by grouping. This led us onto some further maths investigations around number, questioning ideas like ,“What happens if you multiply an odd number by an odd number?”, “Does multiplying two even numbers always result in an even number?”, and “Do two odd numbers make an even number?” We are now wondering if the jewels have anything to do with the recent sighting of an unknown creature.After having time to think about what this unidentified sea creature could be, we first drew what we had imagined and then each created a detailed clay sculpture depicting our vision of the being. We also looked at Kennings, an Old English and Anglo-Saxon expression in poetry where a two-word phrase is used in the place of a one word noun. For example, “Blue-lurker”, “Boat-tapper”, “Sharp-swimmer” can mean sea creature! We wrote our own to describe this mystical creature.
We are starting to think about what this creature could be trying to do – Are they a guardian of the ocean? Maybe it hurt itself and it’s trying to get our attention? Perhaps it’s trying to protect its babies? So much to find out for next week!
This week we met a family member of one of the fishermen who was concerned because his wife was refusing to go back out fishing after the strange incident last week. The village is without fish and they want to get to the bottom of the rumours. Is there really a sea monster? Surely not?
We talked about rumours we had heard or actual sightings we had been involved in and wrote these up as stories. We plan to go out to sea to search for the creature and find out for ourselves if it really is a monster.
Before we have time to do this we return back from lunch to discover a trail of jewels and puddles between the open window and the box of jewels, which was now close to empty. A note had also been left saying ‘Stop stealing my treasure’. More evidence of trespassing was searched for and a company meeting held to share discoveries. The team suspect pirates (having recently read a story about some) and are convinced that they are going to come back for our trophy.
As a result of the burglary we take to counting our own money to make sure that we can keep an eye on how much we have. This has led to a week of maths looking at coin recognition and money. Some of us also looked at how many jewels were left so that we could work out how many had been taken (there were 356 before).
We are understandably annoyed to have been accused of stealing and want to explain to the culprit that this wasn’t the case. We also talked about whether we should be armed with weapons to defend ourselves or if we should just use talk to understand and be understood. Assuming that the thieves will return for our trophy and wanting to talk to them, we have written letters asking them to visit us when we are in the office. Some of us have also apologised for the fact that the culprit believes we had stolen the treasure first.
Whilst we wait for an answer we have secured our premises with state of the art technology – CCTV cameras linked to computers, entry code systems, ID badges, face scanners, thumb scanners and strong locks. Hopefully no-one will be able to get in without us knowing this time round!
Despite interruptions in school regarding covid, our company has been working hard as ever this week trying to get to the bottom of who has been breaking into our offices. We had a visit from the police and were all questioned about the break in, and gave statements and evidence. This included us writing up our own police reports and having further company meetings talk about future action.
Wanting to go back out onto the water and explore the location where the mysterious sea creature was sighted, we built boats for our company using a range of materials and tested out making them move in the water using balloons and propellers. Then we evaluated the effectiveness of these and discussed what worked well and what we could change for next time.
We explored number investigations and place value, and worked in groups to find different answers and possibilities.
We’re ready to go into the next week with the determination and knowledge to get to the bottom of the many questions we all have in our company. Go Sealife Savers!