Roll up, roll up..a roller coaster learning ride is underway for children at Upton Junior School who are exploring The Fun of the Fair.
The history and heritage of Margate’s iconic Dreamland seaside fun park is one of the main inspirations for the Year 6 pupils.
Among the challenges the ten and eleven year olds are tackling this term is creating their own fairground ride in Design and Technology, with the accent on an attraction that will be a popular hit as well as being technically successful.
In Science they are investigating circuits and in Art they are designing their own print of Dreamland.
Another inspiration has been the musical The Greatest Showman about the life of PT Barnum which they watched for insights into the history and evolution of the Big Top.
Another area pupils have explored is how health and safety plus animal cruelty laws have changed and impacted on fairgrounds and circuses.
They have honed their English skills by drafting specimen to countries that have yet to ban wild animals in circuses, raising their own views, opinions and concerns.
Pupil concerns included: – ‘Animals should not be caged up and expected to perform which has a negative impact on their mental health’; ‘Animals need to be free and forage not cooped up with little food or water’; ‘These sorts of acts are unnatural for animals and makes them pace around and cause serious health issues’.
Head of Year 6 Athanasia Papa-Adams explained: “Teaching our children about the history of their local area and having Dreamland on our doorstep has made for a brilliant hook to this topic.
“It means that they have knowledge in context to refer to when discussing how rides – that they have experienced – work and the forces in action.
“In normal years, we would also take all the Year 6 children to Dreamland, who are always very accommodating, allowing the children to learn first-hand how some of the rides work with engaging talks about the history of the rides and how they work and of course time to experience the rides.
“This unit continues throughout this term and it has great cross curricula links from English with writing a letter and generating debates, to Maths skills including measuring and creating graphs.”
Head of School Darci Arthur believes that using a local example to support topic work is invaluable. She said: “It really reinforces their learning when pupils can relate directly to what they are working on, in this case Dreamland.
“This is a challenging and wide-ranging topic covering all areas of learning. They are really enjoying utilising and expanding their different skills and the work they are producing is of a high standard.”