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Schools exhibition panels

Five local schools have contributed considerable time and effort to bring you these fabulous panels.  Each school had a field-trip on to Dartmoor with our education team to explore one aspect of climate change or its potential impact on the environment.  A follow up visit by the education team to each school helped students understand some of the science behind climate change giving them the opportunity to develop their ideas and produce the work you see here.

Bovey Tracey Primary School Project, Copyright DNPA

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Bovey Tracey Primary School  
Year 4 and 5

Climates past, present and future

Pupils visited Dartmoor to look for evidence about the way climate has influenced settlement patterns in the past. On a field trip they saw evidence of settlements dating from the Bronze Age and the medieval period. Asking questions about why people didn’t live there now students discovered the important role that climate, along with other factors such as the Black Death, has played in the ability of people to live and work on the higher parts of the moor.

A follow up classroom session encouraged pupils to imagine future scenarios in which the climate became hotter and drier…or colder and wetter. To link this work to the curriculum “literacy” in the form of newspaper headlines and articles was used. The results illustrate both the students’ imaginations and maybe the shape of things to come!

The Daily Express 1 July 2001
Man Attacked by Bear on Dartmoor

Daily Express 10 August 1937
Shock Horror! Hurricane Bill Dusts Bovey!!!!

The Dartmoor News 20 February 3000
Super Sand Storm

Daily Mail 20 July 3012
Water Washes Olympics Away

Dunsford Primary School Project, copyright DNPA

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Dunsford Primary School
“Where have all the flowers gone?”

The starting premise for this investigation was that plant communities will change (over time) as the climate alters – if the climate warms up Britain could end up with weather associated with southern Europe but if the Gulf Stream ‘switches off’ the climate may become more like Scandinavia.

Pupils from Dunsford visited their local woodland with education staff from Dartmoor National Park Authority and Devon Wildlife Trust. There they investigated plant communities by identifying plant species in ‘typical’ pieces of Dunsford woodland using a simple transect and wild flower identification sheets. During the same week comparable transects were carried out in similar woodland in Scotland and southern France to see which plants were present and which were flowering in colder and hotter climes.

The follow up classroom session helped students analyse their data, discuss the scientific methodology, refine the technique to make it a ‘fair test’ and draw some conclusions about what might happen in the future.

Please visit the Devon Wildlife Trust web site www.devonwildlifetrust.org.uk (external link, opens new window) to find out more about the Dunsford Audio Guide, Devon Wildlife Trust produced in parntership with Dunsford Primary School. Each of the audio tracks describes a fun family activity to try at Dunsford or any of DWT's other 40 nature reserves.

Landscove Primary School Project, Copyright DNPA

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Landscove Church of England Primary School
Year 5 and 6
Looking at Birds and Insects in the Dart Valley - Is Climate Change making a difference?

Landscove Church of England Primary School carried out an investigative study of the birds and insects in the Dart Valley. The class visited the Newbridge area with an artist/naturalist.

In the morning, the class used different methods to catch the insects, including sticks, umbrellas, insect nets and bug boxes. The children then drew and painted colourful large pictures of the insects based on observation. The visit was timed to try to catch the oak leaf eating caterpillars, however their peak time was already over, this maybe a sign of climate change. In the afternoon, the class moved to Venford Reservoir for an overview of the Dart Valley along the pipe track. Here the class listened to and observed the bird life of the Dart Valley. The class heard wood warblers, cuckoos, redstarts, pied fly-catchers and many more bird songs. The pied fly-catchers were busy feeding their new fledglings but had missed the peak oak leaf eating caterpillar season, as it had happened before they arrive from Africa. This may effect the success of their breeding season and therefore effect pied fly-catcher numbers. The conclusion was that climate change is effecting the relationship between birds and insects in the Dart Valley.

The class follow up work involved writing up stories about their field trip and creating detailed paintings of the wild birds they encountered, after an inspirational slide show and demonstration by the artist/naturalist, John Walters.

Princetown Primary School Project, Copyright DNPA

To zoom in on image, please open the pdf file here.

Princetown Primary School
Year 5 and 6
Weather Watch

Princetown Primary School carried out an investigative study of Princetown's weather, using a variety of weather measuring instruments including:

  • a maximum/minmum thermometer to work out average daily temperatures;
  • a wet and dry bulb thermometer to work out the humidity;
  • a barometer to measure the air pressure;
  • an anemometer to measure wind strength;
  • a compass and a flag to measure wind direction;
  • and a rain gauge to measure rainfall.

The class used these instruments just outside the school. The class walked up to North Hessary Tor and made the same measurements. The class noticed the difference that few metres in height has on weather measurements. The follow up work involved looking at the weather measurements and comparing them to Princetown's climate data. The class drew up temperature and rainfall graphs of the climate today and past decades and concluded that average temperatures have increased by half a degree centigrade in recent years. This was thought to be due to global warming and climate change.

The class also created poems and artwork inspired by Princetown's notorious weather.

South Tawton Primary School Project, Copyright DNPA

To zoom in on image, please open the pdf file here.

South Tawton Primary School
Year 6
River Taw Expedition

South Tawton Primary School carried out an investigative study of the River Taw. During their study of the River Taw, the class also collected information and made observations of the River Taw and its surroundings. At the far side of Belstone Cleave we stopped at a crossing point and took measurements of the width, dry depth and wet depth of the river. We recorded this information in a table and later used it to draw a cross section of the river.

Next the class timed how long it took an orange to travel 25 metres down the river. They timed this 3 times so they could compare the times and be certain the timings were reasonable. The final part of the investigation was to consider whether climate change was affecting the flow of water in the River Taw. The class compared flow graphs for the years 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2005. Because Dartmoor is composed mainly of granite, rock which doesn't absorb water, when rainfall is heavy it runs straight off the rocks and much of the water travels to the rivers, causing them to flood.  Because of this, when the flow charts were compared, the class was especially interested in the frequency and severity of floods.

The class concluded that the investigation and the evidence they examined didn't support the view that climate change was affecting the flow of the River Taw.

As part of their English work, the class had been looking at poetry and figurative language, so they thought this project would be a good opportunity to use their senses and collect ideas for writing river poems.

Name of Resource

Print Version,
in PDF format

PDF File Size

Bovey Tracey Primary School Project

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(PDF Help 378kb)

Landscove Primary School Project

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(PDF Help 514kb)

Princetown Primary School Project

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(PDF Help 386kb)

South Tawton Primary School Project

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(PDF Help 323kb)

Dunsford Primary School Project

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(PDF Help 244kb)

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Page last updated: 17 Jul 2007