At Penrhos College in Perth, Australia there is some big learning happening. We’ve been lucky enough to take part in it, too. With the help of the Essential Fluencies and the 10 Shifts of Practice, young students at Penrhos are taking charge of learning and solving problems that make a difference. If you follow our blog, you’ve already met one group of girls from Penrhos who brought kindness to others. Through caring and empathy, they bonded with the residents of a senior’s home in their area and made some remarkable friends.
However, the innovative learning happening at this college doesn’t extend just to community levels. In fact, the students are thinking big—big as the world and all life upon it. So what happens when the most unlikely of creatures steals their hearts and motivates them to fight for our diverse animal kingdom?
This is the story of a group of Penrhos College Year 1 girls and their pal Rocky, a turtle that inspired them to speak out for endangered native animals.
The Little Turtle That Could
Rocky was a long-neck turtle that was rescued by the side of the road as a hatchling. She was introduced to the Year 1 girls by a local zoologist named Mandy Bamford. “Having a live animal in the classroom personalizes the experience for the students and increases their engagement in the project,” she says. The girls began a beautiful relationship with her as they cared for her daily using detailed checklists and observation sheets.
As they became closer to Rocky through her daily journey, the girls started thinking bigger. Their enthusiasm for their newfound friend led them to the larger question that would take their learning even higher: How best can we help long-necked turtles survive?
The girls had gained an appreciation for animals in their natural habitats while caring for Rocky. However, their resolve to find an ideal solution doubled when they learned that many other species besides the long-necked turtle were under threat. A proposal was shared with members of Penrhos administration that detailed their final idea: create and market reusable bags featuring messages that encouraged people to do their part to protect native animals.
In addition to designing their bags, the girls wrote songs and developed short message videos to help promote their project. All sales profits were then donated to the Perth Zoo for preserving local native turtle species. As for Rocky, she’ll be released back into the wild once she’s big and strong enough to thrive on her own. In the meantime, she’ll be safe in the care of her newfound friends at Penrhos College.
Read All About It
You can read the full story of Rocky and her Penrhos College Year 1 buds in the full case study published on Wabisabi Learning. While you’re visiting, become inspired by the work of other great students using the Essential Fluencies for building real-world skills and understanding.