Discovery Days challenge in Steyning

Students show off their printed T-shirt designs
Students show off their printed T-shirt designs

EXTREME weather conditions put year seven students to the test during a series of Discovery Days workshops.

The initiative at Steyning Grammar School saw 150 students aged 11 and 12 take part in a range of activities to develop their learning skills through discovery and inquiry.

Organised in partnership with the Steyning Downland Scheme, the workshops set the students a challenge to find out the significance of the scheme, how it can be used and what makes it so special.

Discovery Days project leader Amanda Duke said: “Students worked in extreme weather conditions. This, in itself, was a learning experience.

“Survival on the downlands in temperatures reaching up to 32 degrees became a real priority. Plenty of sun tan cream, water, umbrellas, suitable footwear, keeping in the shade and moving about slowly and calmly seemed to give us a recipe for success.

“Students rose to the occasion, showing their resilience and their ability to cope.”

Landowner Rick Goring had visited the school in March to launch the project in an assembly, where he explained the aims of the Steyning Downland Scheme.

In June and July, there were lessons in a range of different subjects, where students learned about expectations and their personal options.

During the activity days, students visited the rifle range and chalk downlands, where they learned about the ponds, bees, animals, mountain biking, litter and chalk grassland.

They also researched, planned and worked in teams on their chosen project, such as creating marketing tools like video diaries, leaflets and presentations.

Mrs Duke added: “Some students worked on the Downs to make woodland sculptures and used maths skills to create and work out designs for off-road cycling ramps.

“Back at Church Street, other students made a wall mural, some made an SGS 400 quilted panel and some designed and printed T-shirts to market the downland scheme.”

Now in its third year, the project has grown to better prepare students and help them become more confident in asking questions, investigating and planning.

Matthew Thomas, project manager for the downland scheme, said: “I really was very impressed with the output the students had been able to put together so quickly – and hopefully they will have had positive experiences that will stay with them for many years to come.”