Driving Sheep and Pulham Pigs: Just some of the topics covered by our workshops this half term.

Hello, What a busy end to this year! We hope you have all enjoyed your various nativity plays, Christmas concerts and general festivities over the last few weeks. This half term we have had a chance to bring out some of our old workshops and to run a brand-new one.

In December, two members of staff drove out to deepest Norfolk (just past King’s Lynn to be precise) to the lovely St German’s school. They worked with the year 3/4 class in the morning and the 5/6 class in the afternoon looking at Changing Landscapes. The pupils enjoyed discovering what the surrounding fields were used for in the 1840s using the tithe apportionment for the village. This included gardens, orchards, arable and pasture. The map even highlighted a number of rectangular fields, known as driftways which were used for driving sheep and cattle to market. Surprisingly, today the fields are used solely for arable use. Next, pupils looked at the changes to the coastline for the village of Happisburgh, Norfolk. They discovered that over the course of the last 150 years the lower lighthouse and the original coastguard station had fallen into the sea. Pupils said:

I’m surprised at how much erosion there is; I really enjoyed the tracing paper [activity] because it was fascinating

I was surprised about how are [sic] country has changed through the years’

‘ I learnt that the coast from 1840 was way different from the coast 3 years ago and also it was super fun. I loved doing this’.

We are really grateful to the staff at St German’s Primary School for allowing us to run the new workshop for their pupils. This had enabled us to see where we need to make some very minor tweaks to improve the workshop for future schools. The newly-improved workshop will be available from January 2018.

We visited both Surlingham County Primary School and Rockland St Mary Primary School for our First World War workshop.  Over the summer we had worked on updating the workshop for the new academic year, so this was our first chance to see how the changes worked. Once again, pupils had a great time drawing a First World War soldier from service records of real men. This time however, pupils were able to find out about the lives of two men who fought during the First World War, and compared their experiences in the trenches, using extracts based on real letters home. Pupils also looked at the home front; finding out about the role of women in manufacturing, working on the land and nursing. Pupils were surprised to find that some of the soldiers who fought in the trenches ended up in hospitals back in Norfolk. They also discovered the role of Pulham Airbase and the introduction of the ‘Pulham Pigs’ airships.

Once again, this was the first time we had run the updated version of this workshop, so all the feedback was invaluable. We will be making a few small tweaks over the Christmas holidays, and will be ready to run it to other schools from January.

Finally, we had Marsham Primary School in as our final school workshop before the end of the year. They were looking at Norfolk in the Second World War and particularly focusing on Marsham and the surrounding parishes. In addition to our usual Second World War workshop pupils were able to look at the School Admission Registers for Burgh next Aylsham, Register of Houses in Marsham from the Invasion Committee Papers, which gives number of occupants in each to be supplied with emergency rations in case of invasion and a letter dated 2/3/1940 which gives permission for the (soldiers) to exercise on the Heath. Pupils had already studied the topic in depth and also spent time interviewing people in order to create own animation based on these oral histories. Through this project pupils were able to consider the Philosophical question ‘Who are the real losers when we go to war?’. Overall it was felt that this was a great end to their topic, Teachers said ‘The children loved handling the documents and artefacts and it has really rounded off our topic brilliantly’.

All of our updated lesson plans will be available on request after Christmas, and we are happy to tailor parts of existing workshops to suit the needs of your school. If you have any questions or want to book a workshop please don’t hesitate to ask!

Have a great Christmas and we will see you in the New Year!


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