Tuesday, 6 May 2014

A sensory exploration by more than "average human beings".

Feeling the delicate seeds of the Dandelion clock.

Last week we had another lucky escape from very heavy down pours. We left school in dark clouds but arrived in sunshine! We hadn't visited the marsh in 3 weeks so it was great to see the trees really filling out with vibrant green leaves.

The aim of this weeks session was to become extraordinary human beings. The session stems form Leonardo Da Vinci's famous quote,

The "average human looks without seeing, listens without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking."

We chatted about how we often walk along a path without really looking about us to see the smaller pieces of the big and beautiful jigsaw that is life. We might not really listen to our surroundings and how what we hear (but not necessarily see) effects that place. Similarly,  how often do we take a moment to smell objects around us to get another sensory understanding of what it is and what it's influenced by. As a result of having a better understanding of all that we can see, hear, touch and taste we get a much better sense of all that is going on in one space and time.

So we were to focus on each sense and show what extraordinary human beings the children are. Showing that they have the ability to really get to know an environment through their senses and even inspire some writing.

We "stealth walked" around the perimeter of South Efford Marsh concentrating on one sense at a time. We went through some exercises to help us focus on our ability to see, hear, touch, smell and taste. As we completed each sense we then had a chance to write our thoughts or words that came to mind about those senses.

Children stealth walking and focusing on all they can hear around them at South Efford Marsh

As we were working on our sense of smell one of the children spotted a nice pile of poo. As this isn't a dog walking area and from its texture we decided it must be fox. I stuck a piece on a rush and some brave children breathed in the strong aroma! Miss Amos happily set a great example! We chatted about how naturalists would use their nose to identify where a fox may have been by knowing what a badger, fox or otter poo might smell like. Chris Packham was (naturally) mentioned as a keen fan of not overlooking the things naturalists can learn from a nice piece of poo.

Miss Amos happily smelling the rich aroma of fox POO!

Taste was obviously a tricky one in today's age of health and safety so we sat on the bank overlooking the marsh closed our eyes and stuck our tongue out. Trying to see if we could taste different things on different parts of our tongue. For experimental purposes (!) the children were each given a sweet. The children first looked at the sweet, felt the sugary coating and then placed it on their tongue to see what aromas and tastes they could sense. This seemed to go down very well!!

Children sticking their tongues out to taste their air.

Finally, we took a moment to complete a short piece of creative writing. The children's writing showed that they had now a full sense of South Efford Marsh as an environment and a full working ecosystem effected by all they could see, hear, touch and smell. The writing also demonstrated that by using all our senses and describing them we can create a very clear picture of our surroundings for the reader. 

Children writing their creative pieces inspired by all they can see, hear, touch and taste at South Efford Marsh.
Here are a couple of examples of their BRILLIANT writing:

"Hearing all sounds nice,
Being as quiet as Field Mice,
Wet and dry smells around.
Some coming from the ground.

Walking around the meadow, 
Seeing how the flowers have gone bright yellow,
At the end a little treat,
Really was quite sweet."
Sam, aged 10

"Strong, demanding cold air,
Is tracing on my face, 
Nearby refreshing green grass,
is flickering on my nose.

Sticky, hooky duck leaves,
Are sticking to my finger,
Blinding hot yellow sun in my eyes
And the blue sky is disappearing
From all the grey clouds."
Maddie, aged 9

"Splish splash I see the muddy water,
Raining down into the sea,
This is Efford Marsh with the fresh, green grass
Efford Marsh is a wonderful place to be.

Tip tap rain on my face,
Wonderful to me,
Cold air blowing at me like a flying bee,
This is the best place to be.

Fluttery soft flowers all around
Fluffy feeling to me
What is this cold feeling in April
Well this is the most amazing place to be."
Elizabeth, aged 9

The temperature in the creek now reads 14.7 deg C

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