July 07, 2006

Everyday Archaeology at Jenny Hammond Primary School

This week we've been running a 5 day workshop with a class of 30 nine year olds in Year 4 at the Jenny Hammond Primary School with our friend and collaborator Loren Chasse. The workshop focused on 'everyday archaeology' a term we're using to describe investigations of the local environment using a combination of Feral Robots, Urban Tapestries, Sound Scavenging, an Endless Landscape, StoryCubes and eBooks.

Over the course of the week we have been using everyday archaeology to teach the students about relationships between the environment and pollution. The students have been acting as scientists and archaeologists to gather evidence about the world around them to uncover causes of pollution. This has been a trigger for them to imagine what they could do to help the environment and think about the kind of world they want to grow up in. The students gathered audio recordings, photographic evidence and used the Feral Robots to detect air quality in a local park, wrote stories based on the Endless Landscape, designed their own robots and created structures and environments using the StoryCubes. The workshop covered a range of key skills and concepts from map reading, making media, storytelling, drawing and literacy to more abstract concepts, science and maths an intense and broad immersion for the students, teachers and for us.

As we begin to evaluate the project, we have been inspired by the willingness of the students to engage, learn and share their experiences, as well as with the teaching staff who have woven our processes and tools into their own teaching. The excitement of the children has been infectious, not only for us, but across the whole school, including the staff. We hope now to develop a longer term collaborative process of weaving our tools, concepts and processes into the core teaching and learning methods used in the school.

Update: The Activity and Impact Report on the Workshop is available to download.
The project is also featured as a case study on the London Schools Arts Service website.

Posted by Giles Lane at July 7, 2006 08:26 PM