By Peter Barnett
From creepy crawlies to fluffy ducklings – the latest learning adventure for children at Upton Juniors is really wild.
Year 5 pupils started their Walk On The Wild Side topic with a special visit from the Jaws and Claws team that saw them get up close with a range of creatures.
There included Madagascan hissing cockroaches, giant millipedes, a rainbow boa, a tarantula and a very cute tenrec (a distant cousin of the elephant that looks very much like a hedgehog).
During the experience, girls and boys were invited to hold and interact with the creatures while learning about their habitats, their behaviours and how human activity is putting many of their species at great risk of becoming endangered or extinct.
Head of Year 5 Tom White said: “Although a little nervous at first, all the children were incredibly brave and had a go at saying hello to all the ‘friends’ Phil from Jaws and Claws introduced to them.”Here is what some of the Year 5 children thought.
Year 5 pupil Harry said: “I loved holding the creatures. My favourite was the snake because it had a really interesting texture,” while Macie added: “My favourite animal was the millipede as I found the way they crawled over my arm with 1000 legs was amazing. We only have two legs; why do they need 1000?”
Pupil Lydia said her favourite was the frog and explained: “It was cute and although it was slimy I liked the feel of it.” Poppy liked the snake and said: “Phil gave us so many amazing facts about the snake and I liked the way it wrapped around my arm.”
After the Jaws and Claws workshop, pupils went outside into nature and created land art on the school field. Inspired by land artist Andy Goldsworthy, they used materials they found in the environment to create some stunning pieces of artwork.
Mr White added: “It was a fantastic experience and one that the children will remember for a long time. Hopefully, some of the questions raised by the plight of these endangered animals will have an impact on how the children think about wildlife and the environment moving forward.”
The Walk On The Wild Side topic also focusses on the cycle of life and Year 5 witnessed this in action as duck eggs hatching in an incubator in the classroom emerged as fluffy baby ducklings.
Mr White added: “The children fell in love with them right away. We are literally watching the ducklings grow right before our eyes and in the short time since they’ve hatched, they have doubled in size.“
The children agreed. Leyla said: “It’s been a very enjoyable time and we’ve loved having them in the year group. Oh, and they’re really cute.”
Belle added: “I really enjoyed the ducks. It was a really great experience and a great way to learn about life cycles.”