Avian sat nav

27th June 2008 at 01:00
How far is it from Arras in northern France to your school? The answer depends on whether you ask a car satellite navigation system or a racing pigeon, as children at St Agnes Primary in Gateshead have been learning since they adopted a team of racing pigeons as part of their geography studies
How far is it from Arras in northern France to your school? The answer depends on whether you ask a car satellite navigation system or a racing pigeon, as children at St Agnes Primary in Gateshead have been learning since they adopted a team of racing pigeons as part of their geography studies.

Pupils as young as five have been poring over maps to work out flight paths, while older pupils have been looking at wind speeds and studying the birds' destinations.

The pigeons, brought into the school by local retired headteacher and pigeon fancier Derek Graham, have been competing every weekend since the racing season began in April. Every Monday morning, Mr Graham emails the school with the weekend's results. The class whose pigeon was the fastest gets to keep a trophy for a week.

In science, pupils have been learning about the birds, what they eat and how their body structure enables them to fly.

The heroic role of carrier pigeons in the Second World War has been the focus of history studies. For design and technology, pupils have been designing pigeon lofts. They have also written about their experiences in English lessons.

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