Digging deeper to commemorate World War One

Workshops taking place Image copyright BBC SCHOOL REPORT
Image caption The students attended a variety of workshops given by guest speakers

Wildern School has recently held three 'Digging Deeper Days' to commemorate the centenary of World War 1.

Years 7, 8 and 9 were each handed a day off normal timetable to take part in different and uniquely themed workshops to learn and remember The Great War.

Digging Deeper is a school-wide programme that teaches different themed sessions to encourage pupils to dig deeper within themselves and be as productive a learner as they can be.

Soldiers 'survived on very little'

Throughout the days, Wildern pupils learnt about the sacrifices made by everyone who was a part of the war and how it influenced our modern-day lives.

For all the year groups involved, the days began with an assembly, led by well-known and very experienced historian Jeremy Banning.

He set the day's theme as he relayed his detailed battlefield and trench understandings to give everybody a taster of what it was like to be a soldier in World War One.

Assembly proceedings were then handed over to speakers from Royal Armouries Fort Nelson, who showcased some real World War One weapons to the 370 pupils in the school hall.

The history and firing process of the weapons was spoken about in detail before the severity of the Battle of the Somme was shown.

To demonstrate the severity within the Pals Battalions, 11 people from the Year group were asked to stand up. To illustrate the amount of deaths per team, nine of the 11 standing were asked to sit down.

This put facts that were often passed through students as a set of numbers into real perspective and had a resounding impact on Wildern's students.

One student said that they "didn't realise how significant the first day of the Somme was" while another student felt the assembly was "interesting" and that they were looking forward to the rest of the day.

It was then time for the students to attend the exciting and innovative workshops.

Image copyright BBC SCHOOL REPORT
Image caption Some students were given the chance to try on some World War One attire

Various subjects have offered a different experience from the usual curriculum over these days and taken the opportunity to have a taster of different aspects of life during the war.

This included medical and assault training in PE, which was designed to test the students' ability to transport cargo across a war zone under strict conditions that soldiers would have had to train under.

Wildern PE teacher Mr Grant said: "Without trench training new soldiers would not have the required physical, fitness or physiological attributes."

In maths, students had to use more techniques that would have been vital to destroying artillery in the enemy trenches.

The activity involved designing trenches in teams and trying to find the most useful point of fire over a set distance to bomb the opposition trenches.

Another one of the subjects providing a different approach to learning about WW1 was food technology.

The sessions explored how and what soldiers were fed whilst they were in trenches as well as what food they started the War with and what they ended it with.

All three Year groups thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of activities they took part in, most students felt that this was the most interesting and informative Digging Deeper Day yet.

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