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Great Abington Primary School

Rivers and the Fens - KS2 visit to Ely - June 2010

This trip to Ely was arranged as part of this half term's topic Water Worlds. It was a really busy day where all the children managed to do all these varied activites. The day was split into two; half based on the river and the other half at Ely museum.

At the river we had an opportunity to survey the river looking at the flow rate and the depth of the water as well as the river banks to identify any possible erosion. Another activity was river dipping where all the children had a go at collecting a sample with the nets and then used the identification keys to try to put a name to the creatures they caught. Some groups managed to spot nearly all the species on the key. The highlight of this half of the day was a trip along the river on a little river cruiser. The boat went through Ely and the meadows outside the town where we saw lots of geese with their goslings.

We met the other groups at the cathedral where we sat down for lunch. The walk between the river and the cathedral close was lovely with gardens and fields. The Eel motif was clearly visible in the gardens on the way with an enormous steel eel sculpture and a mosaic.

The museum-based activities were themed around the history of Ely focussing on the changing landscape of the fens. We looked at how the fens were changed by being drained and tried to identify all the foods grown in the rich soil of the fens today. To show what life would have been like for children in the past we did all sorts of different things. We joined in with songs, heard a ghost story and tried on fenland clothes before handling the special tools used in fenland agriculture. We learned about the importance of eels and how they were caught and killed. Finally the children paid a visit to the "Wise Woman" to find what remedies she would have prescribed for their imaginary ailments - mostly very unpleasant!

At the end of the day the museum staff complimented Great Abington children for their keen participation and excellent behaviour - so well done to everyone.

Here are some photos of the day's activities for some of the groups...