Year 4 take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef

It was a special day today (22 February 2017) at Cottingley Primary Academy as Google brought virtual reality headsets into school.

I sat in with Year 4 as they spent 30 minutes exploring Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with their teacher. They had studied the reef in class, but now had the chance to explore it – corals, sharks, shipwrecks and all. They saw Manta Rays and learned that their markings are unique, like fingerprints. They visited the wreck of SS Yongala which sank in 1911 and wasn’t discovered until 1958.

Elicia, Isobel and Freddie were very impressed.

“It was cool. It made you feel a bit sick it was so real. You felt you were in the water and you were going to fall.”

“It really helped us learn a lot.”

“It much better than TV, you can’t see the room you’re in.”

All three agreed that they would like more lessons like this one.

Year 6 teacher and science lead at Cottingley, Hannah Marshall, came across Google Expeditions on Twitter and made contact. When they came to Leeds she snapped up the opportunity to bring them to Cottingley.

Every class had an opportunity to try the virtual reality experience. Each teacher selected an expedition, such as the Seven Wonders of the World, Meet the Dinosaurs and Explore the Great Barrier Reef, linked to the topics they are learning about in class and the children’s interests. It linked with a range of subjects- including science, history and, of course, computing.

“It has been a really exciting opportunity to engage their children with their learning and help them to see things they otherwise might not be able to. Whilst we have a broad range of enrichment opportunities- a school trip to the Great Barrier Reef isn’t quite within our budget!“ she said.