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Adventure 2: River Rescue

The children returned from the holidays to find the classroom awash with rubbish and a mysterious letter! The letter was from David Attenborough – who children learnt is a famous broadcaster and naturalist. He was writing to the children to ask for their help…

Their task is to learn all about the devastating effects pollution is having on the rivers of the world and how people can try and help solve this problem.

Before getting to work, the children wanted to know more about David Attenborough so completed a burn 2 learn to make a timeline of his life. They then wrote biographies all about him.

Mr Attenborough had told the children how river pollution was a worldwide problem so we decided to find out about the famous rivers of the world. First the children had to search around the class for photographs of well-known rivers and match them to their names. They then located these on a map.

Using this information they wrote some key facts about these rivers alongside their pictures.

After looking at the different world rivers the children could see how beautiful they could be if they weren’t polluted. They wrote imaginary stories about a river based on the book ‘Journey’ by Aaron Becker. They looked carefully at story openings, descriptive sentences, the use of dialogue and a range of punctuation.

The next part of the adventure took us to a bottle that was floating in the Irish Sea. We wondered how it might have got there if it travelled down a river. We first completed a burn 2 learn where the children had to match the feature of a river to its picture and meaning.

Using this information, the children went outside and found natural materials that they could use to make a model of a river: sticks, stones and leaves. They made the models and labelled the key features.

The children then used all they had learnt to write non-chronological reports about the journey of a river, focusing on using adverbials of time and place.

The children then wondered about what different types of pollution may be found in our rivers. They investigated 6 main types: light, soil, air, noise, water and radiation. They matched the name of the pollution, to a picture and to what may cause this pollution. They then wrote up their findings.

We then started to think about how all the types of pollution cause devastation for the environment. We considered factories and how these can let out dangerous gases and chemicals. After looking into this, we thought about different ways that factories could produce clean energy like waterwheels. The children made their own model waterwheels to see how the process works and wrote up an evaluation based on the experiment.

They then wrote a set of instructions for how to make the model waterwheel. The children focused on using ambitious vocabulary, fronted adverbials and using a quote.

In reading, we looked at a poem called ‘The River Story’. The poem was told from the point of view of the river who was describing how its life had changed due to pollution. The children completed a range of activities based around the poem: a word meaning burn 2 learn, a find and copy comparison drawing, inference questions, comparison questions and a figurative language activity.

We then began thinking about the implications of the different types of pollution on the wildlife living in and around the rivers. We first discussed the different river animals the children know, before focusing on three: otters, water voles and kingfishers. The children completed a burn 2 learn where they found the name of the animal and matched it to a picture of it, a picture of its habitat and facts about the animal.

We then considered how the pollution would affect the animal. They then stepped into the shoes of their chosen animal and wrote a diary of a day in the life of the animal comparing how its life was before pollution and now. Their SPAG focuses were using expanded noun phrases and passive voice.

After writing their diaries, the children completed some art work of their chosen animals: kingfishers, otters and water voles.

In Science, the children’s focus was living things and their habitats. We first looked into the life cycles of animals and discussed what the main animal groups were. They completed a burn 2 learn where they had to move to the correct corner of the room depending on where they thought the picture of the animal’s offspring were. They then created life cycles for the main animal groups.

To challenge the children in thinking about our adventure, we considered how pollution could affect the life cycles of different animals. They came up with lots of ideas from the animals not being able to eat, not being waterproof anymore and not being able to reproduce.

We then moved onto looking at plants, as they also have very distinct stages of their lives. After watching a video about the life cycle of a plant, they completed some key questions about the different stages. They then completed a burn 2 learn where they had to order the life cycle and match the pictures and explanations together.

We then began thinking about how plants could be affected by pollution. For each stage of the life cycle, the children wrote a way that the plant would be affected.

In R.E. we considered how Christians and Muslims react to pollution problems. When learning about Christianity, we discovered that the bible told people to care for all living things and that they had to return God’s land unspoiled. After watching a video showing different Christians discussing how they help the environment, the children answered questions and wrote about what they had found out.

When learning about how people who follow Islam respond to environmental issues, the children learnt about the charity Islamic Relief. They created persuasive adverts to support the ‘No Dry Days’ water campaign.

Our next task was to think about how people could help. We had the section of how people could help in school. After brainstorming ideas as small tables and then as a class, the children showed all their ideas on a poster.

After learning all we could about the problems facing our rivers, we began filming the episode that would detail all we had found out. In Willow class the children were responsible for three sections: the introduction, features of a river and how to help around school.