A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

March 17, 2015
by Jean
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20th March – Solar Eclipse!

On Friday March 20th (if it is not too cloudy) we will be able to view a solar eclipse. An solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the earth and the sun blocking the sun’s light from reaching the earth. This is the only total solar eclipse of 2015 and the last total solar eclipse on the March equinox occurred  in 1662 on March 20th

solar eclipse

Meteorwatch 2015a

The picture on the right shows what a total solar eclipse looks like. This will be visible in the North Atlantic. In the UK we could see a partial solar eclipse similar to the picture below.

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Meteorwatch 2015b

A partial solar eclipse is when the sun, moon and earth don’t quite line up from the observer’s location.

The timing of the eclipse over the UK is around 9.30 to 9.35am on Friday 20th March. You can read more about the timings and see the progress over the UK on a map at this link.

This week, starting on Wednesday 18th March, on BBC 2 the Stargazing programme is focusing on the eclipse and includes a live broadcast on Friday morning from 9am.

If you are going to observe the eclipse it is important to do some research and make sure that you are properly prepared. There are some useful resources and activities at the Stargazing website that can be used at school or at home.

It is most important that we do not look directly at the sun, but rather use special glasses, a pinhole camera or other projection devices. Below is an idea from the Radip Times Magazine website for viewing the eclipse through a colander.

Projection through a colander

Simply hold up a kitchen colander during an eclipse and you will see that myriad small crescents – corresponding to the eclipsed phase of the Sun – are cast in the shadow. Each hole acts in the same way as a pinhole camera, projecting an inverted image of the Sun, and this works even if the holes are not round. This effect can also be seen when sunlight shines through leaves on a tree or other foliage, with the gaps between leaves acting as pinholes and creating crescents of light in the shade on the ground.

Casting the image onto a white piece of card held about 50cm away will increase the contrast, making the event easier to see, however any light-coloured surface will work. Try varying this distance to find the sharpest image, as the size of the holes in different colanders will affect the view. This method is the cheapest and easiest way for a group of people to simultaneously view the eclipse and its progress with no risk to either eyesight or equipment.

The results can be easily photographed using any conventional camera. The only downside is the size of the crescents are quite small. Increasing the distance between the colander and the projection screen will make the crescents larger, but also less defined. As such, other than the crescent itself, no details such as sunspots can be seen.

Pros: Cheap and easy, great for large groups of people

Cons: Views are quite small, no detail can be seen apart from the crescents (Radio Times staff, 2015)

If you or your school are doing anything special for the eclipse do let us know by posting in the comments below.

Reference list:

MeteorWatch (2015a) Total solar eclipse. [online] Available from: http://www.meteorwatch.org/solar-eclipse-march-20th-2015-easy-guide/#more-5998 {accessed: 17/03/15]

MeteorWatch (2015b) Partial solar eclipse. [online] Available from: http://www.meteorwatch.org/solar-eclipse-march-20th-2015-easy-guide/#more-5998 {accessed: 17/03/15]

Radio Times Staff (2015) Experience the Eclipse. [online] Available from: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-03-09/how-to-watch-the-solar-eclipse [Accessed: 17/03/15]

March 9, 2015
by Jean
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Graduation 2015

I was so pleased to be sent this photo of some of our FDLT graduates from last month.

tracey

The photo shows Jo, Tracey, Karen and Victoria, who are all now on the BALT course.

Tracey called this photo ‘Look how far we’ve come’!

 

February 9, 2015
by Jean
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TV recommendation – The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds

On Tuesday evening (10th February) at 8pm on Channel 4 there is an interesting TV programme – The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds.

secret lifwe

 

It is an observational documentary that follows ten four-year-old children at nursery – the nursery is rigged with cameras and microphones to capture all their play and interactions. You can read an interview neuroscientist Dr Paul Howard-Jones about the programme here.

You can also see some clips from the programme here – clips. (teaching a song, the chocolate cake test and den building)

I’m sure this will be an interesting to watch for all of us involved in education, whether in early years or in other age phases.

June 7, 2014
by Jean
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FDLT Y1 exploring learning outdoors!

This week each FDLT Y1 group spent a day at an outdoor location to explore the potential for learning outside the classroom. The Oadby and UN groups visited Newton Field Centre near Kettering and the MK group visited Green Park near Aylesbury.

Oadby Y1 2014

Oadby Y1 2014

 

On Monday the Oadby group were lucky to have warm and sunny weather for their day at the Field Centre. Have a look on the Oadby Y1 1014 page for more details.

On Wednesday the UN group arrived amidst pouring rain but we did the river geography activities regardless! More details on the the Oadby Y1 2014 page of this blog.

UNY14.jpg

UN Y1 4th June 2014

The MK Y1 group went to Green park, Aylesbury for their outdoor experience.

MK Y1 June 5th 2014

MK Y1 June 5th 201

To follow up the experience I have made a ThingLink for students to explore. This poses some key questions and recommends some useful reading and websites.

Click here to access it:

ThingLink

 

 

March 5, 2014
by Jean
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We are showing Project Wild Thing!

Have you heard or read about the film by David Bond called ‘Project Wild Thing’?

pwt

 

 

 

You can read more about Project Wild Thing on the website where it is explained that “Project Wild Thing is a film led movement to get more kids (and their folks!) outside and reconnecting with nature. The film is an ambitious, feature-length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly disparate connection between children and nature. ”

If you are involved in or interested in outdoor learning this film and the discussion around it is relevant to you.

On Tuesday March 25th 2014 the Early Years Partnership are showing the film in Holdenby Lecture  Theatre 1, Park Campus at 6pm. Refreshements available from 5.30pm.

To book a place email earlyinspirations@northampton.ac.uk or ring 01604 893606.

November 1, 2013
by Jean
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Learning outside

Over the last few years the importance of giving children learning opportunities outside has become increasingly highlighted. There is a post on this blog made in July that refers to this aspect of learning. In Northamptonshire there are a number of places and organisations seeking to provide learning that focuses on being outside.

The blog for Children and Nature Network Northampton shares activities and ideas – you can follow and subscribe to this blog to receive regular updates of ideas and share your own ideas and photographs.

Eco Kids also organise and promote opportunities for learning – the Abington Park Outdoor Classroom Project has been developing a wide range of activities for families and schools such as a Wild Food Survey, tree identification trails using QR codes, nature workshops for children and supporting resources to use. You can explore their website for other information, projects and resources based around the environment and nature.

Delapre Abbey is another great Northampton location where the outdoors is used to learn and play. You can explore the various activities offered here – Friends of Delapre Abbey

Further afield Newton Field Centre is often used for visits to explore science, geography, art and other areas of the school curriculum as well as a base for family learning and other activities. The website for  Newton Field Centre gives you contact details and other information.

Finally you may be aware of the recent report published by the RSPB ‘State of Nature’ that explored the significance of the education of children and young people for the future of conservation and nature.

Many of you will be visiting outdoor locations and participating or leading activities and events with your schools and families – my examples are from Northamptonshire but you will be aware of places around Leciester and MK. Let me know about these places and events so I can share them with the group.

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