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Wild things

Yolanda Brooks looks at resources that bring the great outdoors indoors for key stages 1 and 2

The summer term is the ideal time to study living things and life processes and the resources here offer a term's worth of growing, rearing and hands-on learning.

How Does Your Garden Grow? from Class Creations is a multi-faceted key stage 1 resource that provides inventive ways of incorporating gardens and the outdoors into all aspects of the curriculum. The pack is made up of nine subject units: science, geography, history, RE, music, art, design and technology, ICT and PE, and includes a selection of resources that allows teachers to create lessons around individual subject areas.

The science unit, for example, comes with sunflower seeds, a propagator, trowels, watering spouts and the book, Lifecycle of a Sunflower. The art and design unit incorporates a poster of Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" and a canvas board. The design and technology unit includes a template for a bird feeder and the geography unit contains a disposable camera, thermometer, photographic pack, compass and landscape plans. All units include lesson ideas, key skills, curriculum links and photocopiable activity sheets.

Seeds of Learning supplies a range of seed packs for the classroom together with a CD-Rom workbook with pupil activities, teacher notes, cross-curricular ideas and a seed and plant dictionary.

The Seeds of Learning range includes seeds for a butterfly garden, bird garden, wild flowers and herb gardens. The seeds are supplied in seed shakers or seed mats. With the seed shakers, you simply shake seeds out onto prepared ground or indoor pots and trays. The mats are made from biodegradable tissue paper embedded with seeds and you roll out the sheet on a prepared bed, cover with 3mm of soil and keep well watered.

Puss moths have not been blessed with the loveliest of names but they are one of Britain's most attractive moths and, what's more, they're easy to raise in the classroom. The Rear amp; Release Puss Moths classroom kit includes 15 eggs or 10 caterpillars, plastic containers, a rearing cage, cork bark and a photocopiable teachers' booklet setting out curriculum links and CD-Rom with images.

Insect Lore specialises in resources for the study of minibeasts and life cycles and one of its most popular resources is the Butterfly Pavilion School Kit. The kit has been upgraded to include a 630mm pop-up net which allows easy access and the viewing of the painted lady caterpillars as they develop into butterflies. The school kit includes the reusable mesh net, a voucher for 33 live caterpillars, a feeding pipette and food, activity sheets and a booklet.

Keeping bees in school grounds may sound insane but Invicta has taken the sting out of the exercise with Bees' Nest which provides a home for the harmless red mason bee. Replicating the bees' natural nest sites of rock crevices and hollow plant stems, Bees' Nest is made out of a tube about the size of a large can of beer and contains 30 individual nest cells. All you need do is set the nest in a sunny position against a wall or tree and wait for female red masons to take up residence. If they like what they see they will soon lay eggs and you and your class will be able to watch them develop into larvae, cocoons and pupae. The package also includes a book and video on the lifecycle of the bee and a CD-Rom with teachers' notes and student exercises.

If you're still not convinced about the bees, Invicta has also introduced Ladybird House. Measuring 365mm by 217mm and 140mm deep, the plastic box has a flap which opens to reveal a honeycomb structure that provides dozens of roosting perches for the insects. Like Bees' Nest, it comes with a CD-Rom with teachers' notes and a natural history book.

Springtime Activities for the Early Years from Brilliant Publications avoids hands-on contact with dirt and bugs but instead provides activities related to the season of renewal. The pack features photocopiable worksheets covering everything from ducklings, tadpoles and bunnies, to April showers, spring cleaning, Easter bonnets and daffodils. The emphasis is on developing basic communication, language and literacy and encouraging physical, creative, personal, social and emotional development for three to five-year-olds.

The Field Studies Council provides a range of laminated fold-out charts that will aid identification sessions including Funghi Name Trail, Bugs on Bushes and Freshwater Name Trail.

* How Does Your Garden Grow? from Class Creations (pound;300 for the whole pack and pound;24 to pound;45 for individual units)Tel: 01934 740 240 Email:

* Growing kits from Seeds of Learning (pound;4 for seed mats, pound;5 for seed shakers and pound;7.50 for the CD) Tel: 01270 621 858 Email:

* Rear amp; Release Puss Moths from IEM (pound;53 plus pamp;p amp; VAT) Tel: 01327 811122 Email:

* Butterfly Pavilion School Kit from Insect Lore (pound;47.98 plus VAT) Tel: 01908 563 338 Email:

* Bees' Nest from Invicta Education (pound;24); Ladybird House (pound;27) Tel: 0116 272 0555 Email:

* Springtime Activities for the Early Years by Val Edgar, Brilliant Publications (pound;13.95) Tel: 01525 229 720 Email:

* Fold-out charts from the Field Studies Council (pound;3.25 each) Tel: 0845 345 4072 Email:


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