The Trust is able to support learning and education in a number of ways. Natural History, ecology and the life of the river are a key interest, and many of the RWT friends are able to support events or projects, as well as offering places in the Trust work parties, or nature walks.
Wider opportunities exist to support interest and education around many water related topics - the topography and impact of water; understanding watersheds and our part in maintaining the environments they sustain; the structure of a river and its development; flooding and its impact; and industrial development with water - transport, canals and locks. Much of this can be demonstrated 'hands on' with the "Augmented Reality Sandbox" which offers the opportunity to model cause and effect .. as well as being great fun for all ages. There is also an opportunity to have a speaker from the Trust to talk about topics including the work of the Trust, River conservation, the Impact of Planning on the Riparian Environment or a number of other subjects.
One of 500 registered AR sandbox builds worldwide, the Augmented Reality Sandbox uses colour and interpolated line drawing to model landscape - as on a topographic map. The display dynamically adapts to the model, allowing demonstration of contour lines - which join points which are all the same height, and the distance between the contour lines shows the gradient (steepness) of the slope. Using the hills and valleys you make in the sand, the model can show what happens when it ‘rains’ – where the water goes and how if flows until it gathers in a marsh area, pond, sea or lake. This is used as a way to demonstrate topography, Watershed and Catchment areas, allowing changes in shape or volume to be seen in action. Some notes linking this to the study of topographic maps and the hydrological cycle are available here in a PDF file. The notes follow some of the guidance available for KS1 and 2 learning, but the opportunities are not restricted to specific age groups. The Sandbox can be used at many levels of education across geography, physics, and STEM subjects... and is an attraction to all ages at public events.
These pieces were developed to help explain how a canal or waterway lock works, and are used alongside the Augmented Reality Sandbox to allow exploring landscape, seeing how water works in that landscape, and understanding why and how to add locks to aid transport.
1: How a Lock Works
The PowerPoint slide show to step through the operation of a lock. No notes accompany this slide pack as it is fairly simple and allows discussion.
It is created in Microsoft Powerpoint - some of the animation doesn't translate to other slideshow tools (eg Keynote or Libre Office) without a bit of tweaking.
2: Create the model of a Canal Lock.
This is a card cut out showing the basic principles of a mitre lock.
The angle of the gates - approx 18deg pointing upstream to use the weight of the water to keep the lock gates shut. The Paddles are used to allow gradual release of water to the next chamber of the lock.
The model in this file (download here) should be printed on thin card, cutting out on the BLACK lines and folding on the GREEN lines. The text in BLUE indicates where glue is applied - Pritt stick or similar is probably easiest to use...
A sequence of images to show the work progressing..
Click to see a larger image