More able and talented pupils challenge – Life in the Medina Estuary

Feb 6

On Friday we ran two sessions for more able and talented year 6 students from across the Island. 58 children came to the Centre during the course of the day, to learn more about the Medina Estuary.

Despite the changeable weather the children were able to get outside and experience the estuary up close! Each of the groups were able to get into the mud of the Medina estuary and enjoyed squelching around looking for the creatures that live in and on the mud. They also had the chance to use binoculars to identify the bird life in the estuary and were taught about how the bird life fits into the estuary food chain.  The children learnt about bird ringing and how it can be used to keep track of where certain birds travel to feed, breed and moult. They found out about how this information can then be used to help decide which areas need protecting as valuable habitats for bird species. (See picture of ringed swan). Some of the children saw Cormorants fishing and then drying out their wings on the pontoon and some of the children even saw the top predator, the Peregrine Falcon.

The children also had time in our labs identifying estuary creatures using keys and observing the creatures using a video microscope. They were taught about the conditions in the estuary and some of the adaptations that the creatures living there have in order to survive. The children focused on the Cockle and the Oystercatcher, and were challenged to calculate the area of mud in the whole of the Medina Estuary from Newport to Cowes and the approximate number of cockles living there. Some of the children were even able to work out how many Cockles an Oystercatcher would eat in a year and calculate how many Cockles are eaten by the population of Oystercatchers currently along the Medina Estuary!

See below for some of the comments made by the children and school staff about the session:

The children said: “I really enjoyed……

  • Looking at the birds.
  • Squelching in the mud.
  • Using the binoculars and going outside.
  • Finding creatures in the mud.
  • Doing the maths.
  • Identifying different creatures.
  • Everything!
  • Looking through the microscopes.
  • Working with the iPads.
  • Holding the creatures I found.
  • The whole thing and I’d like to do it again.”

and “Today would have been better if…

  • We had longer there.
  • It was sunny!
  • Nothing could have been better!”


The school staff with them said:What worked well…

  • Combination of lab and field work.
  • Really well organised.
  • Lots of information.
  • Lots of different activities.
  • Using microscopes to see creatures.
  • Going in the mud and seeing the birds.
  • All of it!
  • Working both in and outside to experience different types of activities.
  • Content was pitched well and timings were good.
  • Great to learn about our local environment.”


The school staff also said:

  • “A great session, enthusiastically delivered. Warmly welcomed!
  • It was a great day.
  • Children loved the practical element.
  • Enjoyable, patient teachers.”


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