After months in lockdown, a return to school and the chance to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors has been welcomed by students at Futures Institute and led to a collaboration with Compton Verney.

The art gallery and park in Warwickshire hosted the Museum of the Moon, a spectacular touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram.

The moon sculpture, measuring a massive seven metres in diameter, is suspended in the park’s avenue of Wellingtonia trees.

To complement this stunning piece of art, Year 7 students at Futures Institute were asked to make 60 lanterns. They were displayed, lining paths and hung from the trees to help to illuminate the Museum of the Moon event which took place from Thursday 29th November to Sunday 1st November.

The lanterns have a dual purpose, in addition to gracing the display at Compton Verney, they were also produced as part of an Applied Transdisciplinary Learning (ATL) project at Futures Institute.

This is the first year that Year 7 students have been admitted to the school and ATL has been used to help the young pupils’ transition from Primary through to Secondary school.

It involves students applying what they have learnt in the classroom to real-world projects that cross subject disciplines. Teamwork and exhibitions are key aspects of ATL.

The theme of this year’s ATL project is Life, Love and Loss and saw the students focus on the book Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane. It focuses on words that are moving to the margins of many children’s lives and stories – bluebell, dandelion, otter, kingfisher, acorn, and presents them as both challenge and celebration.

Year 7 at Compton Verney

Year 7 at Compton Verney

The students observed trees around the school and collected leaves to decorate their lanterns. On a whole day off timetable with their class mentor and English teacher Jonathan Medwin they worked in teams to create shelters, make lanterns out of withies and cook marshmallows under the willow tree.

The next day Year 7s created a moving anthology of poems about their feelings associated with the willow tree.

Explaining the significance of the Life, Love and Loss project and the link to the Compton Verney exhibition, Dr Catherine Pickup, Director of Project Based Learning at Futures Institute, said: ‘’Nature is the perfect setting to discuss the themes of our ATL project due to the life cycle of the trees, plants and flowers that surround us.

‘’Leaves lose their trees during the autumn and there are also examples of trees being cut down around us in this area due to HS2.

‘’Overall the students realised how important it is to spend time appreciating and understanding the environment that surrounds them – they’ve seen the benefits of being outdoors.’’

The decision to host the Museum of the Moon artwork at Compton Verney was prompted by the Chinese collection at the park and the Chinese Moon Festival earlier in October.

Museum of the Moon measures seven metres in diameter and features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000 each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.

The installation is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by the BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones.

 

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