Chillingham Park Cow
at The Great North Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne. Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
National Curriculum: Primary Science. This exercise reinforces the second of the three aims of the Primary Science curriculum; “to ensure that all pupils:
develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries...” and helps broaden their understanding of the curriculum’s key strand of ‘working scientifically’..
Pupils will work scientifically by planning a scientific enquiry and presenting their findings in research paper format.
Suggested Classroom Activity
Show the pupils the film ‘Stories from a Stuffed Cow’. The film presents a brief explanation of why the Chillingham Herd is of such scientific significance and mentions a couple of recent scientific papers.
Talk through the film to ensure the pupils have grasped the way that scientists are helped by the work of their predecessors.
Task the pupils with devising a scientific enquiry on a topic you are currently studying and writing up their results in the format referred to above.
Added value can be gained by the pupils working with another group from your upper KS2 or from a partner school, to ‘peer review’ each others’ papers. This is essentially a role-play version of good ‘assessment for learning’ practice. They can be given a check-list of what to consider when peer-reviewing, then feed back their conclusions to the partner group. You may find that your nearest University has outreach staff who work with Primary schools and may be willing to support.
Research papers cited: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01865.x/abstract http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1567724912000669
The reason the herd is so healthy, despite being inbred virtually to the state of being clones, seems to be that they inherit from their mothers a group of variant genes that helps them synthesise a substance that moves energy around cells.
Great website on Thomas Bewick: http://www.bewicksociety.org/ High res version of the Chillingham Bull print http://www.southwestern.edu/infoservices/departments/specialcollections/exhibits/chillinghambull/
Visit the star of ‘Stories from a Stuffed Cow.’ - http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/great-north-museum.html See the real thing - http://www.chillinghamwildcattle.com/