Island project

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By Christina Bakerwriter and educational journalist

Discover a hands-on geography series that challenges children to plan and build an island settlement

A beach

What image pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘island’? Whether it’s a tropical paradise, a secret land containing buried treasure or a mysterious place full of unspeakable monsters like Skull Island in King Kong, islands have always held a fascination for many of us. They also provide an ideal stimulus for firing children’s imaginations.

About this series

This engaging new geography series aims to show you how to guide your class through a major project in which they create their own island settlement. While it obviously has a geographical focus, there’s plenty of opportunity for cross-curricular learning. This project is a good practical example of how Sir Jim Rose’s Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum’s proposed area of learning – Historical, geographical and social understanding – can work. The activities in this first article will introduce the children to the concept of settlements and islands, requiring them to research island groups in different parts of the world, looking at the pros and cons of choosing each type of location before voting on where they would want to build their imaginary island settlement – using the Poster , ‘Island project’ as a stimulus. In the subsequent articles in this series, the children will focus on the island settlement itself: its purpose (for example tourism, farming, research, and so on); how they will develop their settlement – what tools and construction techniques they will use, and what features and amenities they’ll want to build. Along the way, there may be ‘unexpected’ challenges that the children have to overcome, such as freak weather conditions that affect part of their island settlement and will encourage problem-solving skills.

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