Last week was British Science Week: a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. Here at RSPB Rye Meads in Hertfordshire, we were keen to show that science happens everywhere and doesn’t just happen in laboratories by people in white coats. Students from Wormley Primary School in Hertfordshire found that science can be done in a pond, on a path and even from a bird hide! The school, who had chosen the topic of ‘birds’ for their Science week came on a whole school trip, bringing their year 1-6 classes over 3 days.
The week started with typical March weather: 90% chance of rain forecast for Monday afternoon and storm ‘Gareth’ making itself felt. This didn’t dampen the spirits of our year 5 and 6 groups who explored the reserve and got to know some of the birds who visit our site. They enjoyed spotting black-headed gulls making a racket, tufted ducks diving and trying to see the comical beaks on the aptly named shovelers through their binoculars.
Wednesday’s group of year 1s and 2s were treated to drier weather, although storm ‘Gareth’ was still making itself felt. In addition to visiting the bird hides the students took part in some pond-dipping; discovering what lives below the surface of our ponds. Using magnifying pots they then counted legs, looked at colours and body shape to classify the animals with the help of an ID guide. Highlights included a leech and freshwater shrimp, with various nymphs providing an opportunity to talk about lifecycles.
We finished off the week with our year 3 and 4 classes who loved learning about the different bird species we have on the reserve and comparing the wingspans of the smallest UK bird (the goldcrest) to the bird with the largest wingspan in the world (the wandering albatross). Our favourite quote of the week came from a year 3 boy who was using binoculars to look at birds on the lagoon:
“I love this, this is much better than technology!” What a great summary of Science week at RSPB Rye Meads.
If you would like to enquire about bringing you school class to the reserve (we cover the Early Years to A-level Science curriculum, and offer KS3 & KS4 Geography courses), please visit: bit.ly/rspbschools or call the reserve for more information (01992 708383).
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