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Site Visits — A Guide for Activities

Students with a spirit level

National Curriculum

It is important that the site visit is relevant to the national curriculum. To assist both parties (teachers and site staff) in discussions regarding what the children could do whilst on site, the most relevant areas of the curriculum that apply to the house-building industry are set out on activity planner sheet one. It is intended that this be used as a checklist before devising specific activities (identified on activity planner sheet two) to be carried out on the day of the visit.
Teachers will be familiar with preparing a lesson plan and relating it to particular subjects and specific knowledge areas within each subject. Use the checklist to identify and focus upon key elements identified in the purpose of the visit on the site visit arrangements sheet. There needs to be a balance between narrowing down the activity, to ensure adequate learning outcomes and at the same time putting it into the context of the house-building industry in general.

Preparation

Whilst most site managers will not have detailed knowledge of what is taught in schools it should be possible for them to carry out some pre- preparation thinking about suitable and practical activities associated with the particular site that is going to be visited. There is no harm in the site manager 'having a go' at completing activity planner sheet one before making the visit to school for the preliminary discussions.
Some house builders have standard on- site exercises for children of various ages. Others can be obtained from organisations or websites listed at the back of this guide. Some suggestions and ideas are listed here but do not be afraid of making up your own! The important thing to remember is it should be relevant to the curriculum and the actual site, be achievable in the time allocated and be safely enjoyed by all involved.
The following examples can be used as possible activities during an on-site visit:

  • How many different materials are used?
  • What plant and equipment is used?
  • Sketch or draw plans, elevations, layouts etc.
  • Find out as much as possible about how long it takes to build a house
  • In what order do tasks have to be carried out?
  • How much water is used?
  • What is the environmental effect of waste?
  • Interview a site manager, bricklayer, carpenter etc.
  • How many things are made from wood, concrete, steel etc?
  • Count the number of bricks, tiles, window frames etc.
  • Calculate the quantity of bricks, blocks, skirting board, pipework, scaffolding etc.

Preparation is the key to a successful activity during a site visit, so time spent beforehand will pay off!
It is desirable for the planned activity to be introduced to the children as early as possible (depending on age) to create interest and a sense of looking forward to the visit. It may be possible to do this at the end of the pre-visit safety activity held in the classroom.

Resources

Physical resources for the activity should be identified. They may include samples of materials used on site (for observation and handling only or for the teacher or children to take away afterwards) or handouts to be used during and/or after the visit.