Subject area: Health and wellbeing, social studies, sciences
Experiences and outcomes: HWB 3-30a, SOC 3-08a, SCN 3-01a
The aim of this lesson is for your class to plan and then embark on their own mini journeys of discovery (as a school trip or during their holidays), along a suitable path in your locality. Their journeys should include some or all of the following:
- a local wood
- a coastal route
- a local path
- a long-distance path
Before you begin, ask your class to look through the John Muir graphic novel and read the I Will Walk One Thousand Miles section, up to page 69, where John Muir describes himself as follows:
‘I was like a man lost in the desert who finds an oasis and must drink. But I was thirsty for the whole world! I wanted to jump into it and immerse myself in its wonders. So I went on a thousand-mile walk to drink in the grand show of nature.
John Muir: I’ll follow my nose. The wind is full of haunting, unknown scents. . . strange animal cries. . . beautiful new plants and flowers. . .’
Explain to your class that in Scotland, in April 2014, as part of the centenary of John Muir's death, and in order to celebrate his life, the John Muir Way was extended. This long-distance path was especially created to encourage young and old to not only recognise and appreciate John Muir but also the native land he loved, by journeying across it in the same way as John Muir did, during his life.
Print the From Here to There worksheet for your class to complete.
The information on the worksheet covers some of the places in Scotland that link to John Muir when he was a boy and/or when he returned to Scotland as an adult. This should provide ideas as to where your pupils' own mini journey might take place, including:
- John Muir Way
- West Highland Way
- Southern Upland Way
- Around Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
- Ayrshire and Arran
- Dumfries and Galloway
- The Scottish Borders
- Loch Lomond and The Trossachs
- The Highlands
If the above locations are not near your school then the Paths for All(this will open in a new window) website should enable your pupils to do additional research in your locality.
Once you have discussed and agreed with your pupils where their individual mini journeys will start and finish (during their holidays) or you have agreed where you will all go collectively as a school trip, begin the second part of this activity. Your pupils should make a list of 'preparations' for their journey (refer to the From Here to There worksheet).
Preparations should include:
- research notes
- suitable clothing/equipment
- paper and a pencil
During the journey your class should create an annotated map of the path they are following and write down, photograph or draw symbols to represent what they see on their journey, including the following:
- Water – rivers, ponds, lakes, sea
Once the journeys have finished, provide your class access to the following web links.
- Discover the type of rock the school is built on(this will open in a new window)
- Find out what types of trees grow in the school grounds(this will open in a new window)
- Learn the names of any insects your class find(this will open in a new window)
- Identify any birds your class can spot(this will open in a new window)
Reflecting on learning
Did learners know that, traditionally, maps included symbols for trees, bridges, houses, parkland, rivers, etc., rather than just roads, which is commonplace today?
- Make all the necessary safety preparations for a long-distance walk
- Research and plan a mini journey and create an annotated map of the route and/or a podcast capturing the natural world experienced during the excursion
To expand this activity get your pupils to create a podcast of their walk describing what someone listening to their podcast and completing their mini journey should look out for, see and hear along the route.
For other additional activity ideas that would complement this work go to Paths for All(this will open in a new window).