One school felt it was difficult with to gain prior knowledge with some children knowing more than others. There was also rigidity with staff not wanting to change the way they planned.
The school had an immersion activity in the school garden which helped to direct planning and inform the teachers of what children already knew. It was found to be most effective if the topic was launched before the holidays so that planning could then take place.
In another school children were asked to display what they knew about a topic, which revealed their misconceptions. Immersion for maths had also revealed gaps in the children’s knowledge. Immersion as a trip had engaged children and given them opportunities to come up with activities. Immersion tasks, such as looking at the life cycle of animals and plants had again revealed gaps in their knowledge.
In finding out what they already knew I discovered that they believed that endangered animals were ‘animals that are dangerous’.
We took the children to a wildlife park as part of the immersion activity. While looking at the lemurs one child saw that some lemurs were striped and had black eyes and said ‘Oh look – it’s a panda lemur.’
Emily Taylor, Pye Bank C of E Primary School
Peter Hardwick | firstname.lastname@example.org