Bairbre Mulvany: I am a Primary School Teacher and I have been on lots of great school tours. I feel there is a huge opportunity to combine physical activity with learning on a school tour. Huddle Up are bringing you a tour with a difference-our History n’ Mystery School Tour. We see this day as a living history tour for children. It is a physically active tour that combines learning through a series of challenges that target the body and the mind.
Our tours are based on the format of a treasure hunt which has the children solving a series of challenges and clues that will ultimately break the code to open the treasure. It is a walk/run through an area steeped in history and it can be hosted at any time throughout the school year or it can be seen the be the traditional ‘school tour’.
At present, our living history tour is based in and around the historical town of Trim, Co. Meath. This scenic town is steeped in historical ruins and with the River Boyne running through it, it lends itself to many strands of both the history and geography curriculum from 3rd-6th class. The treasure hunt starts at the entrance to Trim Castle and brings the children all the way to Newtown and back again- approximately 5kms.
Two weeks prior to the date you are travelling, Huddle UP! will send an information pack with a presentation about Trim and The Normans. There will also be a story to read about some characters who lived in Trim in Norman times and lesson plans, pictures, artefacts and worksheets for the class to work on prior to the tour. The tour will become alive for them as they will be so familiar with the area even before they go on tour. Having taught the curriculum for 12 years, I have devised an information pack based on the key objectives and strands of the curriculum and have made it as teacher and child friendly as possible!
If the children are seen to be carrying out a project on Trim Castle or The Normans, then they are entitled to a free tour of Trim Castle itself. This can be arranged in advance and this makes up half the day. The other half of the day will be spent carrying out the History n’ Mystery Treasure Hunt around Trim Castle and all the way down to Newtown beside Marcie Regan’s Pub and back to the castle again. The tour will be based on the characters that the children have been learning about in the weeks building up to the tour.
The distance is approx. 5kms so children and teachers/supervisors would have to be prepared for this. The treasure hunt and clues takes approximately 2 hours to complete. The children have to solve the clues, follow the map and crack the code in order to win the treasure. It will be a living history tour and the children will have prior knowledge about all the stops they will make from the information pack sent to the school in advance.
In a group of 30 children there would be approximately 5 groups of 6 children. Each child would have a particular role to play in the group. There would need to be an adult with each group. The adults will have all the answers and a map with the actual route marked out on it to help any struggling groups along. There are roads to cross and some narrow parts of the footpath so children would have to act responsibly at all times. Huddle Up will provide high viz jackets for all participants.
It is a cross curricular tour. There is lots of history, map reading, orienteering, creative writing, problem solving, Gaeilge and Music! It is challenging but lots of fun and a great way for the children to learn about history and the local area while working in a team.
Children would bring a packed lunch and if it’s a nice day can have a picnic beside the castle where there is also a huge green area for running around. Trim also boasts a super playground that can be easily accessed. There are public toilets beside the castle. As with all outdoor events in Ireland you would have to come prepared for the rain.