On the 23rd of January Lewis visited Auchencairn Primary School in Kirkcudbrightshire. The visit was for the upper class (primary 5-7) and was attended by 16 pupils and 4 adults.
The visit started with a short talk about sharks and more specifically, sharks in Scotland and the work of the SSTP. Pupils were extremely enthusiastic and inquisitive, asking lots of questions and getting very involved in short activities and a question session.
Following the introductory talk, the pupils were taken to the nearby Rascarrel beach where both pupils and teachers searched the shoreline for shark egg cases. All pupils found shark eggs on the beach and then identified the species of shark that had laid the eggs. This exercise was used to teach pupils about sharks that are literally on their doorstep, Auchencairn Primary regularly carries out beach cleans at Rascarrel and now plan to incorporate shark egg case hunts into annual beach cleaning events.
On the beach they played a Shark Length game, a long rope is stretched across the beach that has loops tied at the length of different sharks. Each pupil was given a small “shark card” that has a picture of a shark and a little info about each shark including what it eats and how long it is, they then worked together to put the sharks on the rope in the right order.
For each shark the pupils were asked whether that species was found in Scotland or not. This game proved extremely popular and pupils (and teachers!) were amazed by how big some Scottish sharks really are.
After lunch Lewis gave another short talk covering the biology of sharks and explained to the pupils how different species of shark are adapted to different ways of living. Again the pupils were extremely enthusiastic and asked lots of questions (to the point where they were asking so many questions I was almost running out of time to cover all the material I had planned!)
After this session pupils played our SSTP Build-A-Shark game; this simple game allows pupils to pick from a selection of paper shark heads, bodies and tails that fit together like a jigsaw to build a unique shark which they then coloured in and wrote a short story about using information printed on the sheets.
One of the most satisfying elements of the visit was asking the pupils to say the first thing they thought of when they heard the word shark, both at the beginning and the end of the session. At the beginning words like big, scary, and killers were mentioned and at the end things like endangered, Scottish and too much fishing were mentioned.
Scan of a letter from Mrs Maxwell (Auchencairn Primary Head Teacher)