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Prep Humanities Week WCS Wells Cathedral Independent School Somerset England

Prep School Humanities Week

The first ever Prep School ‘Humanities Week’, held in the final week of the Whitsun Term, started with a fantastic virtual visit from Amie the Archaeologist.

Pupils had pre-prepared some excellent questions to ask Amie about archaeology and she was able to give lots of brilliant information about this fascinating career. Highlights of the session included seeing real archaeological artefacts and learning about LIDAR technology which is used to identify possible dig sites.

Led by Reverend Tom Handy, pupils in Years 3, 4 and 6 enjoyed a fantastic historical tour of Wells Cathedral and Vicars’ Close on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st May. Year 5 pupils also toured the Cathedral, led by the brilliant Learning Officers. As well as discovering lots of new facts, pupils were able to spot their own creations in the Peace Dove exhibition!

On Tuesday 21st May, The Education Group ran a fantastic series of VR workshops for pupils from Reception to Year 6. They donned their VR headsets and travelled to the following virtual worlds:

– Reception and Year 1 – Under the Sea
– Year 2, 3 and 4 – Indigenous Australia
– Year 5 and 6 – Ancient China

Mr Kershaw, the Senior School Head of Outdoor Learning, took the Geographers in Years 3-6 on a map-reading adventure around the School site throughout the week. Pupils enjoyed developing their orienteering skills, as well as working on their resourcefulness, resilience and collaborative skills.

Pupils in Years 3-6 also visited the Wells & Mendip Museum and had the opportunity to explore what life would have been like for soldiers in WWI trenches. Thank you to Mrs Warner and the wonderful volunteers at the Museum who opened their eyes to this fascinating period in history.

Clare, the Learning Officer from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, led two fascinating online sessions for our Prep School pupils. Years 3 and 4 travelled back in time to the Shang Dynasty! After exploring various museum artefacts, they had the chance to test their calligraphy skills by using paint and brushes to write the ancient Chinese characters for ‘China’.
In Years 5 and 6, the learning focused on the Museum’s extensive array of Ancient Greek artefacts. Inspired by the stories of Greek heroes such as Heracles, pupils then created shadow puppets to act out the stories.

Mrs Coling linked the week’s Art lessons to a Geography theme. Each class was given a continent and created a beautiful piece of Art:

– Year 3 drew the Discovery Centre found in Antarctica. They used watercolours and pencil, then created a large collaborative collage of the same image.
– 4W had the continent of Europe and 4L had the continent of South America. Pupils used Geli prints to create their background and then printed on top of images that represented their continents. They used complementary colours to help make the images stand out.
– 5C had the continent of Asia and painted the Taj Mahal in the style of Monet. 5G had the image of the Egyptian pyramids to represent the continent of Africa. They created this image in the style of Van Gogh.
– 6W represented North America by creating a mixed media image in the style of Sue Johnstone. They layered images and painted different textures on top of the abstract artwork. 6B created a collage of Sydney Opera House to represent Oceania.

Trips to the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury were a highlight of the week. Years 3 and 4 thoroughly enjoyed a historical workshop about “Somerset Celebrations” where they made “Friendly Society” banners, made and tried mulled apple juice, learnt maypole dancing and “wassailed” around the orchard! Years 5 and 6 explored our local area through a geographical lens in the “Somerset Geography Detectives” workshop where they looked at a number of historical maps and made willow stars.

Learning Officers from the South West Heritage Trust ran two engaging workshops for our pupils on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th May. Years 3 and 4 became Egyptologists and explored the time of the pharaohs. They dug through the sand and found artefacts, painted beautiful scarab beetles and made Egyptian date bread. Years 5 and 6 delved into the history of Somerset in Wartime by exploring ration packs, artefacts, fire hoses and pumps and morse code machines.

The week finished with a brilliant live online session with artist and environmentalist, John Dyer. As well as asking John some brilliant questions about his expeditions to the Amazon, Borneo and Kenya, pupils enjoyed learning watercolour techniques and painting a beautiful Amazon-inspired scene.

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