Thirty teachers, home educators and volunteers enjoyed a Moorland Classroom “Twilight Taster” at Dunkery Hill on Tuesday 11June to try out new outdoor learning activities about Exmoor National Park published by the Heart of Exmoor scheme. The taster sessions help educators to test out the free new Moorland Classroom web resources.
The evening involved a walk to Dunkery Beacon from the Dunkery gate car park, whilst along the way looking at different types of vegetation of the moorland using a quadrat; measuring the gradient of the footpath; and even having a close encounter with a resident herd of red deer. Participants included teachers, home schooling parents and volunteers from the Exmoor Volunteer Partnership and local experts from the Field Studies Council and the National Trust.
The Moorland Classroom is going from strength to strength having now achieved over 4,000 lessons. The project has free online resources specifically designed for teachers to use with pupils both in the classroom and in support of outdoor learning at fantastic moorland locations across Exmoor. The materials feature photos, videos, Google Earth exercises, maps and cross-curricular enquiries that are accessible to pupils of Primary and Middle School age. Each examines key themes, such as moorland landscapes, heritage and wildlife, and why Exmoor National Park is such a special place.
Josh Wedderkopp, a teacher from Stogumber and Crowcombe C of E Primary School who attended the twilight taster session said: “We are passionate about creating every opportunity we can to enable our pupils to learn outside. I can highly recommend the Moorland Classroom resources to other schools. The Dunkery Moorland Classroom Twilight Taster has been invaluable for me as a teacher and I strongly recommend these free sessions to other teachers.”
David Rolls, Moorland Education and Outreach Officer said: “If you just do one thing today, Google ‘Moorland Classroom’ and see these amazing free resources. Check out our training dates, loan boxes and travel bursaries! We are so grateful to our funders the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Exmoor Trust, and Exmoor National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund for supporting this work.”
The next Moorland Classroom Twilight Taster will focus upon Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 and will be on Haddon Hill, overlooking Wimbleball Reservoir, on Tuesday 2 July starting at 4:30pm. Everyone is welcome to this event, including teachers, volunteers, children, parents, and even dogs; so please come along. This is followed by an additional evening seminar for teachers on Wednesday 10 July in Tiverton focusing upon Key Stage 3 and 4 resources for secondary schools. Booking essential for both events – please call 01398 322164 or visit www.heartofexmoor.org.uk for details.