The excursion supported the term’s unfolding inquiry work into early pre-contact ways of life of the first people of Australia and their sustainable use of resources.
The students commenced the excursion with an orienteering programme. This involved a timed race over a series of ordered control points, map reading and navigation. We were definitely working on our spatial awareness skills and we also learned some very important safety and navigational skills that are essential for any hands-on explorer! At each control point along the route, students read an interesting fact about specific botanical ‘treasures’ and were sometimes prompted to answer a question using their own knowledge or to collect a specimen. It was challenging to get through all the control points in the allotted time, but the students put in a stellar effort and learned many concepts and discrete skills along the way as they worked together in small teams.
Our orienteering adventure made us famished so we settled down and enjoyed some time in the shade of the Botanic Garden at Pioneer Women’s Memorial. We ate and revived ourselves, whilst surveying the ornamental lake and bronze sculpture water fountains. Students were hot from their physical exertions and the natural water sprinkler system offered by the fountains as the wind blew in the students’ direction of play resulted in many excited squeals. It was certainly a welcomed and refreshing reprieve!
We then broke up into class groups and commenced the “From Firesticks to Fireworks” programme with a Kings Park Educational Officer. We travelled through time and various sections of the park as we learned how the first indigenous people used plants and animals for food, shelter and medicine. Whilst we were immersed in a sensory exploration of various specimens we were also blessed to take in the breathtaking scenery of Kings Park. It was wonderful to see the students hunting for specimens and helping each other along the way too. At the closure of this tour, students created their own ‘Journey Sticks’ using sticks and specimens collected along our adventure and different colours of yarn. Each colour represented a specific aspect of their learning (unique to each child’s learning) and recorded specific details that they would not forget. This was a recording and story-telling medium for the Indigenous People of our land too.
On the way back to school students discussed their learning and we all agreed that it was a great day out with some fabulous highlights. We also agreed that we would sleep very well that evening!
Mrs Ilse Wagner