Desert Island survival tips for pupils

Young pupils, 10 – 12 years old, from Gosforth have no fear of being shipwrecked on a desert island with their new lifesaving skills learnt in a practical science lesson on Cullercoats beach, North Tyneside.

The lessons, part of Newcastle Science City’s education work, taught the 10 – 12 year olds from Gosforth East Middle and Gosforth Central Middle Schools how to find food on a beach and get drinking water from sea water.

Devised by Newcastle University’s Dove Marine Laboratory the practical science lessons have been designed to inspire pupils to study science through real-life examples of theoretical aspects of the National Curriculum.

Peter Arnold, chief executive, Newcastle Science City said: “These Inspiring Seas sessions are a perfect example of how dynamic and inspiring science can be when it is taught with creativity. The coastline here is a fantastic natural resource and this project makes great use of it, helping to ensure our next generation of scientists are enthusiastic and raring to go.”

Called ‘Inspiring Seas’, the desert island sessions started with the students digging a large pit on the beach and using their physics knowledge to decide how deep the pit needed to be for effective water evaporation so they could collect salt-free water.

The beach-based lesson then turned to food and biology, with meals for these islanders coming from rock pools. They were taught the different components of a healthy diet and which plants and animals they could eat if stranded.

Pupils had to think about how the animals they found had adapted to live in that rock pool and then identify which part of their own diet the animals would supplement, eg fish for protein.

They then go back to dry land and draw up a recipe guide including some of the organisms they found on the shore and a diary log, considering which designs for a desalination pit worked best.

The Inspiring Seas education enhancement lessons are a joint initiative run between Newcastle University and NYK Group Europe. Their website; www.inspiringseas.co.uk will be launched late September 2008 and hold a suite of similar marine-themed teaching resources which teachers can freely download and use within the classroom environment.