Topic: Resources for Schools


I was hoping to touch on the importance of wildlife recording and the roles of LRCs and the NBN with some A-level students in the spring of next year.  It might fit in well with fieldwork studies, and has a good wider context regarding climate change, landuse changes etc.
Are there any resources or templates available that I could use to show the concept and walk-through the data-flow / validation processes etc?  Also any example results (showing how it *ought* to work) would be very useful for planning the project, as I'm much more at the bug-hunting end of the scale than the number-crunching.

Thanks,  dave


Re: Resources for Schools

Ummm, I can't help wondering why there is such a lack of resources available for schools through the NBN and related organisations?

Almost every natural history meeting I go to seems to end up deploring the lack of young recorders - 'where are our next generation of recorders going to come from?' and 'why are younger people so disinterested in the environment?'.  I've seen whole sessions devoted to this topic.

Apart from the Merseyside BioBank resources pointed out to me by BDeed (thank you very much), I haven't come across any useful documents that describe how biodiversity recording and mapping ahve progressed in recent years (and its been a big change from societies and field notebooks).

When I was at school there was no national scheme to coordinate and collate records, it was every society for itself.  Why is there no attempt at engaging, or even explaining, the shift in recording to secondary students?  I feel that its short-sighted to the point of blindness.


Re: Resources for Schools

Simple answer - there is no time in the secondary National Science curriculum for this.  At GCSE and A/S levels the teachers need to complete the syllabus and there is no "spare" time for digressions along the lines you suggest.  The same goes for all the "educational resources" produced by so many companies and organisations.  Particularly at A/S and A level, unless a a particular workbook or project fits exactly into the particular syllabus being followed and can replace exactly one or two lessons so the "learning outcomes" are the same, there is no space for it and the teachers cannot make use of it. 

While I am sure the NBN could produce massive amounts of resources along these lines for schools, for 99% of the schools the resources would essentially be a waste of time as they could not be used.  If biological recording is not part of a syllabus or module being studied, any resources will just stay on the shelf.  Lots of organisations produce reams of "add on" material for schools will happily point to the fact in their glossy reports, but I wonder how much of this effort is worthwhile as most of it is unuseable by schools.  My wife used to teach secondary science and would often bemoan the fact that wonderful free resources that were available could not actually be used in the classroom.    I'm not happy with this, but this is the way things are in most secondary schools at present.


Re: Resources for Schools

Have you seen the NBN's The Darwin Guide to Recording Wildlife guide - whilst not aimed at that age group specifically it is a good general introduction worth sharing.
http://www.nbn.org.uk/Tools-Resources/N … ments.aspx

Other local resources for schools like Biobank's depend on there having been a project usually to develop them - e.g from a few years ago Kent's lesson plans etc http://www.kmbrc.org.uk/information/com … dwatch.php I think FSC are trying to incorporate education about recording more into their work now, but I don't know if that includes secondary school age.

Matt's point on the problem with schools is inescapable but up-to-date resources for extra-curricular children's activities will never hurt IMO - there have been a couple of eco summer holiday "camps" locally for example that we have helped put a bit about recording in by running sessions, but we don't have any specific materials to share (or use) I'm afraid.

Teresa Frost | Wetland Bird Survey National Organiser | BTO
Other hat  | National Forum for Biological Recording Council
(Old hats  | NBN Board, ALERC Board, CBDC, KMBRC)


Re: Resources for Schools

As a teacher,  I'd say these are very circular arguments - there is no time to teach biodiversity and recording at school, therefore we won't provide any resources to do it.

Teaching is generally acknowledged as one of the most over-stretched professions around today - if someone came up with some ready-made resources, I for one would be delighted to use them.  And I'm not the only one who thinks like that.

The National curriculum disappeared last year.  To quote: "In science, there will be a shift towards teaching hard facts and scientific knowledge."   Carpe deum