Taking the Exe Estuary into the classroom
Over 50 teachers will be gathering at Courtlands House on the Exe Estuary on May 22 to find out more about how our local coastline is managed and how the estuary can be used to inspire learning in primary school classrooms.
The free teacher training day has been developed and paid for by the Living with a Changing Coast (LiCCo) project, with the involvement of the Environment Agency, the Exe Estuary Management Partnership, the National Trust and the former Devon County Council schools geography advisor.
The storms of this winter highlighted the scale of damage and disruption that can be wreaked on the coastline by nature.
While it was not the first time that the Dawlish railway line was severed (it breached in 1846, 1855 and 1869) scientists predict that climate change will bring more frequent and intense storms as atmosphere warms up and is able to hold more energy.
It has been decided that needs to be done to make coastal communities more aware of how the coast changes naturally and how tidal flood risk may increase as a result of climate change and sea level rise.
By increasing understanding of these issues amongst 7-16 year olds it can help to ensure that the next generation becomes more resilient and better able to cope with extreme weather.
The new schools resources use photos, presentations, film clips, data, old photos and even action songs to provide an inspiring way of learning what makes the Exe Estuary special.
Lesson plans cover the complex natural processes at work, the different habitats found here, why people visit, how flooding is managed and how the coast has changed over time.
Courtlands is also hosting another primary teacher training day on 6 June and a secondary teacher training day on 26 June. Resources are also being developed for GCSE level. The response so far has been staggering with 170 teachers already registered to attend from Devon and Dorset.
The free resources will be available after the training days as booklets, as DVDs or online.