HOW TO... HOLD A CREATION TABLE DAY
Using REEP and Dottie and Buzz materials
vital RE, using church buildings, and introducing cross-curricular work on the
environment - you can do all three at once quite easily, as this account by a
primary teacher of a day's activity in Norwich shows:
At 10 o'clock, on a bright Autumn morning, children from Creeting St Mary C of
E Primary School arrived at St Mary-le-Tower church in the centre of Ipswich.
They were a young group, ranging in age from 5 to 8 and had been doing work based
on Programme 2 of the Dottie and Buzz material. We had decided to use the 4th
Activity in the Primary Resource section of the REEP website as the focus for
the morning. This was conceived with a slightly older age-group in mind and, because
of the potential for chaotic activity, it had been headlined as 'An activity for
the brave teacher!' So it was with some nervousness that we introduced the activity
to these younger children.
In the event the activity worked brilliantly well. It is designed to introduce
children to the idea of inequality in the distribution of the world's resources
- and to the need for sharing and co-operation. It can be used fairly flexibly
- you don't need the exact complement of resources listed on the website - and,
indeed, we made do without some and added others (e.g. various coloured and glittery
pieces of card). It didn't take long to divide the class into groups and to outline
the basic idea that each group, beginning with the resources assigned to them,
had to create their own house - the bigger and more splendid the better. The idea
of trade and bartering was also introduced.
|Then they were
off! We were using the western end of the church. Tables and chairs were limited
- so the groups with the most initial resources had their status underlined by
being given what tables and chairs were available! It didn't take these young
children long to assess what material they had and what they needed - and within
minutes children were all over the place, haggling and bargaining for what they
felt they needed.
worries that the idea of trading might be too difficult for some of the younger
children were soon dispelled - no doubt they had learned the necessary talents
required to drive a hard bargain dealing in Pokemon cards!
of the main pleasures of the activity, for both teachers and children, is that
the children work autonomously. Of course, some of them need the occasional word
of advice - and sometimes a dispute needs to be diffused - but on the whole they
organise themselves. In an age where so many school activities are teacher dominated
this can come as a welcome relief to everyone concerned. It also provides an occasion
for some of the more generous sides of a child's personality to be given expression
- and sometimes the darker, selfish impulses. On the whole, with this younger
group, the desire to share things with less well-off groups was more evident than
its opposite. There were several occasions where children with an abundance of
glittery bits surreptitiously shared them with less fortunate friends - not a
good reflection of the 'real' world, perhaps, but heartening all the same.
||Each group took
great pleasure in designing and making their house. Soon various elaborate structures
were taking shape. We had allowed three quarters of an hour for this part of the
activity, but the children were so engrossed in what they were doing that it stretched
for over an hour. It could easily have been allowed to go on for longer. In the
end a halt was called by reminding everyone that it was time to eat!
THINKING ON YOUR FEET
After lunch break we had intended to review the morning's activities and to use
Activity 3 as a way of underlying the need for sharing and co-operation. It was
clear, though, that some of Activity 3 was too advanced for some of the children,
as it demanded a grasp of world maps and an understanding of the idea of percentages.
In the event we gathered together and each group presented the house that they
had created and talked about any problems they had experienced. This in itself
probably would have been enough, but we did adapt the sweet-eating part of Activity
3. After each group had presented their work, we divided the class along the lines
of the distribution of world population and shared out the sweets following the
distribution of world energy consumption. An abstract idea, of course, but the
class decided that, following their morning's experiences, they wanted their rewards
distributed on a more equal basis!
WHAT MADE IT WORK
The key to making the event work was flexibility. Although presented on the
REEP website as a Primary activity, the day could have been adapted for a Secondary
class. Perhaps the task could be made more technologically difficult - rather
than a collage each group could be required to construct a 3D model house - but
the opportunity for learning through group dynamics would have been equally evident.
The use of Activity 3's maps and percentages would have been more appropriate
for use by an older group - though I suspect they would have been equally keen
to be rewarded by sharing sweets!
After the activities, we were joined by older pupils from Brook Hall School and
Peter Townley, vicar of St Mary's, led collective worship. He used children's
work and the theme 'What did you have for breakfast?' to involve everyone in exploring
ideas of interdependency and the implications of world trade.
It had been a tiring day - but good fun - and definitely a day which the children
would remember and, hopefully, learn from.
Dr Graeme Watson
(Primary specialist and leader of the session, who also devised
the original materials.)
your own creation table (Taking a closer look at the creation table)
The amazing facts tree
CASE STUDY: Creeting's Creation Table
HOW TO... Hold
a Creation Table Day
to The Creation Table contents
This activity ©
REEP / Lazenby Education