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SAW Projects for Welborne Arts Festival 2015

18/05/2015

As part of Welborne Arts Festival’s ongoing commitment to outreach, pupils from the surrounding primary schools of Barnham Broom,   Mattishall and Yaxham took part in an exciting programme of SAW workshops on the theme of the evolution of planet Earth.  Each school had a one day SAW project led by scientists from the University of East Anglia working with professional writers and artist Liz McGowan.  Liz then returned for a second day to work with each class to create art work for the festival.  The three schools all produced works that were brought together for an exhibition that was presented by the children who were the experts to visitors at the festival.

Mattishall Primary School did a project about earthquakes that was led by scientist Dr Jess Johnson.  The class learned all about the causes of earthquakes and how scientists study them.  They heard how children at schools in places like New Zealand have to practise 'earthquake drills' and had a go themselves before making their own seismometers.  Mike O'Driscoll led a poetry session that encouraged children to think about the human side of experiencing an earthquake and then Liz McGowan helped the children experiment with the outputs of a seismometer as a starting point for their art work.

Barnham Broom Primary School focused on coastal erosion with scientist Dr Trevor Tolhurst.  Living in Norfolk, many of the children had seen first hand the damage that erosion can do to the coast line.  Trevor took the class outside where they were able to experiment with water, mud and sand trays to see how different shaped coast lines can deal with the tides.  He introduced them to microscopic species that live in intertidal habitats such as mudflats and mangroves and explained how important they are for defending land against erosion.  Writer Molly Naylor led a poetry session where the children expressed their thoughts on the damaging aspects of living on vulnerable coasts before Liz McGowan invited children to brainstorm and develop ideas for their art.

Yaxham Primary School learned all about volcanoes with scientist Professor Jenni Barclay.  Jenni brought in a collection of real volcanic rocks that amazed the children who were all keen to hold them.  They experimented with gases outside with film canisters and compressed gas and then inside with a wonderful degassing demonstration .  Jenni wrote a lovely blog about the day.  Writer Andy McDonnell started the poetry session by introducing personification and the children then created some great poems about volcanoes with 'interesting' names!  Liz McGowan had developed a method for making model volcanoes that she taught the children and they finished with a planning session on how they could scale up their art for the exhibition.