‘Shipwrecked in Costa Del Sychdyn’ – pupils survive with only the Curriculum for Wales to support them

Megan Hughes, a Year 4 teacher from Sychdyn, Flintshire recently put the activities shared on our ‘Shipwrecked’ training into practice activities with her learners. Ffion from our Health, Education and Natural Resources team caught up with her to find out how her Flintshire castaways put the Curriculum for Wales to use to secure a rescue.

“I knew the 27 children in my class would enjoy the Shipwreck theme.  They all love the outdoors and really appreciate every learning experience that takes place in our natural environment.  Having received the Shipwrecked training, I knew the planning was accessible, easy to follow and adapt to meet the needs and wants of my current cohort.  Knowing that NRW’s education staff would be at the end of an email if I had any questions or queries, I decided to go for it and ran the scenario during Wales Outdoor Learning Week earlier this year.”

“The week centred around a shipwreck event which left us all stranded upon Costa Del Sychdyn island!  The week was split into 3 theoretical days and my class was split into three competing tribes.  Day one was spent exploring the island; identifying the trees that would indicate where in the world we were likely to be and finding out what uses they may have, studying the colours and features of the natural landscape and trying to ascertain our exact location using What3Words and grid references.  Messages were sent to the outside world using varying methods of communication to try and get help.  Day two on the island was all about survival, working together to build a shelter and collecting and conserving water, and learning about its importance as a natural resource.  The children competed a range of challenges to win food cards and exchange cards to spend on items in the island shop, that may help them to survive.  Day three on the island was the day of rescue.  Luckily, the message in a bottle which one of the tribes had despatched was found and someone ‘alerted’ the Police.  The children created and sang our 'Tribe Song' as loud as they could to help a local PCSO officer locate them and initiate their ‘rescue’.”

“I feel the Shipwrecked planning hits all 6 areas of the Areas of Learning and Experiences.  There were countless literacy and numeracy activities; all of which were cross curricular.  For example, my class needed to transport water over a piranha infested lake using a limited choice of materials.  “More haste, less speed” was the order of the day, as the tribe who completed the challenge conserving the largest amount of water would scoop the glory.  Learners had to communicate, problem solve and work well as a team to be in with a chance of winning the challenge.  In addition to this, the ‘Shipwrecked’ scenario also hit all of the Four Core Purposes. At the end of the week, the children reflected and cross referenced their own experience against them.”

“Taking the children out into the natural environment to learn had countless benefits.  It provided multiple opportunities for experiential learning, encouraged physical activity, and contributed to their emotional, social and cognitive development.  My class simply thrive when outside and have developed strong connections with nature as a result.  I feel the more time children spend in the outdoors, the more likely they are to appreciate it.”

“By having the week dedicated to a certain theme, the children were fully immersed, engaged, and excited for the next activity.  Excited to come into school, they were constantly asking when they were going back outside.  There was a real buzz and it was wonderful to see the children talking to other classes about their learning.  At the end of the week, we shared our learning with the rest of the school during a celebration assembly.  Similarly, we received lovely comments from parents when asked to provide feedback using Google Forms.  Although we chose to run the ‘Shipwrecked’ scenario over a course of a week it could easily be spread out over a term.”

Learn more about how Megan put our Shipwrecked training into practice – check out our ‘Shipwrecked’ short video on our YouTube playlist.

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