A mill building next to a wide river with a weir in the foreground

Educating Rivers and Canals

On the first Monday of each month, I meet with Tony at Ebbley Mill to do the river fly count. However, the recent rains make this impossible to enter the river. But there was another activity to assist with. He had invited a local primary school Year 4 to spend the morning by the river and canal to supplement their classroom learning for geography.

The children were super excited to be on a school trip, their first this year. They all turned up well shod and wrapped for the morning weather outside.

Tony gave them an intro to safety and we took them first along the canal to look at weirs and barges.

A small peninsula by a bend in a river, surrounded by tall trees.
Place for the children to see a river meander

I ran the drawing task where they had to sketch a dredging boat that was moored opposite. They had some really good ideas about what this machine was used for and produced some great drawings for their school project. Tony took the other half up to the weir to demonstrate how they work with a plastic model.

We then came back to the mill for a creating activity where they had to build a weir and fish pass with a piece of guttering and blue tac which we tested with water and mini boats. Then finally we took them to a corner of the river where they could see what a meander looks like which they had been learning in class.

I gave a five minute talk on river fly – unfortunately we could not demo it live and allow them to identify the different ones. But they had a lot of very good questions and knowledge about river wildlife.

Afterwards I met with Stuart who gave me 80 trees to take for Wild Acres. This didn’t leave me much time to get home and changed, and then out again for Dursley Code Club.

We had a full house again of the usual regulars and they all progressed on their different projects. Of particular note was a nine year old who insisted on learning sockets (which is a horribly complex and deep topic to do with how computers communicate with each other). Anyway, I found him a tutorial and left him to it. About half an hour later he had a working demo of sockets on his computer. A truly remarkable outcome.

Another boy also produced his own website with a single page about games. He was amazed that he has his own site that he can edit on the web. Hopefully this is the start of a creative journey for him.

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