Arizona Hendry grabs the booty after raid on Temple of Doom

9th July 2010 at 01:00
World-famous, intrepid explorer Arizona Hendry is on the hunt for brave souls to join her on an Amazonian adventure.

She is looking for journalists, archaeologists, builders, computer programmers and artists to form a multi-talented team, capable of returning home with the ultimate prize: the King's Treasure.

Who wouldn't be inspired to apply? P6 pupils at Mid Calder Primary in West Lothian certainly were. The children wrote to Arizona (who bore a striking resemblance to their class teacher, Moira Hendry), specifying their skills and interests and what would make them suitable for employment. Arizona then assigned them jobs and put them in teams based on their skills.

Travelling through the rainforest, they encountered wild animals and ancient civilisations, eventually reaching their destination, the Temple of Doom.

There they were faced with a series of challenges that would test their mettle and their technological skills for, being a sensible bunch, rather than braving the temple's booby-trapped corridors themselves, they sent in robots.

The project - entitled The King's Treasure - won this year's "learning through technology" award at the Scottish Education Awards.

The pupils' first challenge was to navigate a maze and hit the pressure pad which opened the temple's first room - the Secret Chamber. The pupils had to analyse the challenge, create a written solution, build and programme a Lego NXT robot, test their plan and evaluate the result.

"Each day, they were reporting on how they had progressed, making presentations about what they were finding out about the Amazon and talking about their teams' strengths," Ms Hendry said.

The pupils kept journals, recording their activities throughout the project; wrote reports, for example, on the ancient civilisations of Peru; investigated angles; applied logic; and learnt to work methodically.

Back in the Temple of Doom, the pupils' final challenge was in the King's Chamber, where noxious gases belched up through holes in the floor. The robots had to be programmed to plug the holes and stop the fumes from poisoning the atmosphere.

This was 11-year-old Jordan Drummond's favourite challenge because it was the most difficult.

She said of the project: "It made everything we did in class more fun because we did maths and writing using robots."

Elizabeth Buie elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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