Introducing the Time Machine
Source:Second Nature - Environmental Studies Pack (5-14), by SNH & RSPB - available from the RSPB.
Inspired by an outdoor programme 'Woodland Ways' developed by English Nature at Lathkill Dale NNR.
- To use storytelling to describe how people lived and used the resources around them in the past.
- To show how people impact on nature and the landscape and to develop a sense of stewardship for local resources
You will need
- Blindfolds - one for each child (optional)
- Time machine story (choose 1 or more from those listed in Suggested Follow up)
Did you know?
Many nature reserves are also places of great historical significance, due to landscape, archaeology and the biological resources exploited there by people in the past. Some National Nature Reserves, such as The Moine Mhor, Tentsmuir and the Isle of May have educational packs that will give background information on how people have made use of the resources of the reserve in the past and the present land use today.
Before the ActivityDecide how many time machine stories you are going to tell and where you will be on your site when they are told. For example, if you are visiting a site with ancient oak woodland, you might start off with the Hunter Gatherer's story, then move to the archaeological remains of an iron age settlement to tell the Farmer's story. Then move to an area of coppiced woodland to tell the the Tanner's and the Charcoal Burner's story etc. Or you may chose to use a sheltered spot in the forest to tell all the stories in sequence. There are six timeline stories given here, which go forward in time from The Huntergatherer (5,000 years ago), the iron-age farmer (1,500 years ago), the boat builder (1,000 years ago), the charcoal burner (200-300 years ago), the tanner (200-300 years ago), the ranger (today). The local ranger service may be able to help you adapt stories or plan a route around the site to bring in the time machine stories and activities at the most appropriate places. They may also be able to help with stories for other interesting historical sites (such as lime kilns, burial cairns, salmon netting stations etc.). See the activity Time Team, in this section, for more story suggestions.
Discuss time lines with your class or group. See the Taynish Timeline (downloads) and the activity Timelinesin the School Grounds section for further inspiration. Prepare blind folds and costumes if required. If possible learn the basic content of the stories so that you avoid reading from a script and thus can use gestures and eye contact to make the story come alive.
The activityTell a time machine story by explaining to the children that you want them to imagine that they are going to travel back in time. Use blindfolds or ask the children to cover their eyes, then all count back, 100 years at a time, until you reach your chosen year. On an agreed signal they uncover their eyes and meet the inhabitant of the time, such as the Hunter-gatherer, for example. Once the story is told, the children then re-cover their eyes and count forwards in intervals of 100 years to the present day. Once they have returned to the present, you could use the discussion points given with the stories to reinforce what has been said in the story.
Suggested Follow up
If you started with the Hunter-gatherer, continue with another Time machine story:
- The Iron-age Farmer
- The Boat builder
- The Charcoal burner
- The Tanner
- The Ranger
- The Taynish Timeline
- Timelines in the School Grounds section
- Time Team see this activity for further stories from characters in the past.
The resource pack 'Telling Stories' is available from the
Scottish Storytelling Centre.
- Language - main
- Social studies - main
- Technologies - associated
- Expressive Arts - associated
Age Range2. Primary
3. Lower Secondary