Bonsais, Rattlin’ Bogs & Beetroot Paint || South Wellfield

By Megan Savage


We always love visiting South Wellfield First School. Without fail, the TICE team always enter a classroom full of enthusiastic, creative young people and this time was no exception. Musician, Sam Burt and textiles designer, Charlotte Liddle teamed up to bring a unique spin on their learnings in Horticulture. We know what you’re thinking – what do music and textiles have to do with plants? Well, you’d be surprised.

Sam kicked off the morning by introducing his very own (and very beautiful) bonsai tree. The students were in awe and used their foundation of knowledge in horticulture to describe its foundation and structure. Then Charly and Sam tested their knowledge on horticulture and the food cycle. It’s fair to say that they had already had an impressive amount of knowledge which, in true TICE style, was used for a sing-song…

So, Sam invited the class to stand up and gather up to learn the famous Irish Folk song, Rattlin’ Bog. As you can see in the video below, their memory and vocal cords were truly put to the test. We must say, however; the dancing was our favourite part.

Once the students were familiarised with the tune, it was their turn to put a creative spin on it. In small teams, they were given the task to replace some of the words in the song with their own, to illustrate in song form how food chains work. They not only used their scientific knowledge, but they were unwarily improving their songwriting skills too by creating some catchy tunes. Check out one of the team performances here:

Then it was time to get the paint brushes out…or should we say tree branches! Yes, Charly turned up with a selection of little tree sticks that were going to be used as the paint brushes. Instead of paint, Charly brought along some homemade ink made from beetroot and turmeric. Even though they were supposed to use the colours separately, the students suggested to Charly that the colours should mix too in a separate pot so they had three colours. Now that shows some imagination!

Their task was to use their nature-themed tools to create illustrations based on horticultural imagery such as the sun, rain, seasonal flowers and garden critters. The results were absolutely stunning.

From that point, it was then just the case of making them even better. They were next challenged to use their drawings as inspiration for a print design, where they’d reproduce it by scratching it into a piece of polystyrene block using a sharp pencil. They then rolled acrylic paint over the block using a roller and placed it face down onto a piece of natural cotton fabric, whilst learning some fun facts about cotton in the process.

South Wellfield First School, thank you for such a wonderful day. Who knew that a dash of creativity enhances understanding in horticulture!? We look forward to working with you again soon.