Thursday was supposed to be a washout as bad weather was due to hit us at some point during the day. However, thanks to the attitude of the pupils and staff at Berrycoombe Primary School in Bodmin, we had a fantastic day of workshops, despite being subjected to heavy and persistent rain for the outdoor activities in the afternoon.
The day began by slipping back in time to 1941 with the pupils helping to create a human timeline of the war so far, Wearing hats and holding props to illustrate each key event, the children were keen to be a part of setting the context for the day.
The second activity saw the children work in teams to identify artefacts around the room. They demonstrated excellent investigative skills, thinking about the shape, colours, markings and even possible trends of the era, to help them to try to answer the three questions they had been set for each object.
After break, it was time to score the Object Handling activity before moving on to the rationing workshop. At this point the competitive element of the day was introduced. The teams were now going to compete against each other to try to gain the most points by the end of the day.
Their first task was to try to work out a ration for a set period of time. This involved discussion and cooperation, and all teams did very well in getting close to the correct answer. The teams were allowed to keep the number of items they had answered correctly to start them off on their overall total for the day.
This was followed by a general knowledge WW2 quiz and the friendly competitiveness increased in the room! The team quickest to raise their hand to answer each question won a rationed food item (to be chosen as a team). They were then offered something on the Black Market. They could either choose to accept the item or not. If they chose to accept, it involved a gamble. If the gamble paid off, the extra item/s were theirs. If not, it would come at a cost!
With the clouds hanging low outside and rain promised, the chance of an accurate air raid during the rest of the day looked unlikely. Still, we set about preparing the classroom for that eventuality. Each team was responsible for preparing certain windows for a blast and Morrison Shelters were readied for use if the Warning Siren went off. With the air raid drills complete, shelters and classroom prepared, we were ready if the Luftwaffe were to drop their bombs on the area.
At lunchtime, the wet weather we had expected started to set in. By the time the children had returned from their lunch, the rain was persistent. However, the war-time spirit had also set in and after donning their waterproofs and wellies, the children were ready to face the elements.
In the middle of the school field with potatoes in hand, the children were put through their Home Guard Grenade training. Once again, all of the children showed great determination and an eagerness to succeed in their task. One member of the class raised a large cheer when he managed to score a direct hit on a challenging target that had been set for each group.
When we returned to the classroom, it wasn’t long before the children were forced into their Morrison Shelters as the Warning Siren signalled an incoming air raid. Once the All Clear had sounded, the children headed back out into the rain to carry out their duties to assist in the aftermath. Wardens went out to file reports of damage, casualties, fires and bombs, Medics administered First Aid to the wounded, another group dealt with Incendiary bombs, whilst the final group was tasked with looking for and sealing off any unexploded bombs.
Each group carried out their duties brilliantly in the pouring rain, not stopping until the job was done.
We then dripped back into the classroom to tally up the final scores and conclude what had been a really enjoyable day.
Thank you to all the children and staff in Year 6 at Berrycoombe School for a fantastic day!
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