Rich Tasks at Crynallt Primary School
Crynallt Primary School is a Curriculum Pioneer School. This means that we are working with the Welsh Assembly Government to explore ways to develop the curriculum in schools. We have tried out many ideas over the past few years and rich tasks have been the most successful to date.
A ‘rich task’ in Crynallt Primary usually lasts for between 1-2 weeks and all our junior classes complete them. They are done at least termly, but short rich task activities may completed more often.
A rich task is a ‘mini’ project that allows the children to use the skills they have been taught previously in exciting, real life contexts. We have found that a well-written rich task will enthuse all the children, regardless of their ability. In fact many pupils who may struggle with reading or writing do very well in rich tasks. Equally, because the children can use their own initiative, our more able pupils also achieve well. In a rich task learners are able to use their own initiative, to work to their own strengths, and to explore a topic in depth.
Rich tasks in school are designed to:
- Use pupils’ previous skills and knowledge;
- Encourage collaborative and team work;
- Encourage problem solving;
- Develop pupils creative skills;
- Allow pupils to have some choice in the way that they approach learning;
- Have a real life context.
The teacher usually ‘stands back’ during the rich task sessions. They only offer support if the children need it and they tend to ask many ‘open ended’ questions to encourage the children to develop their ideas as much as possible.
The end product could be a PowerPoint presentation, an interview, an actual product, written work, a film or an event. Often the children will be given the choice of how they would like to present their work so each team will have a different product.
Examples of Rich Tasks in School
Design, make and market a chocolate bar (Year 6)
Pupils worked collaboratively in teams. They analysed and evaluated popular chocolate, held ‘tasting events’ and presented data. They designed, marketed and made their own chocolate, using Fairtrade ingredients. They presented to Tesco in a ‘mini apprentice’ event. The winning chocolate bar received a small prize.
Examples of completed chocolate bars
Design a Spacesuit and present your design to NASA (Year 4)
Children were sent an email from ‘NASA’. They were asked to look at spacesuit design using the knowledge they had about materials. Children evaluated their work throughout the task and afterwards, they made suggestions for improvement as they worked on their designs. Children took the role of scientists, investigators and reporters. At the end of the task they presented to a NASA employee (actor) to try and sell their ideas.
Plan a Chinese New Year Party (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6)
Children investigated the food traditionally eaten at Chinese New Year. They worked out costs and found out where the best value food could be bought. They researched music, dance and invitations. They made lucky money envelopes, learnt a Chinese dance and drumming. All the junior classes attended the party they had planned.
Other examples of Rich Tasks
Design and make death masks during a topic on Ancient Egypt
Decide on a country that could host the World Cup/Olympics. Use written and maths skills to ‘sell’ your country, plan facilities, advertise etc.
Plan a trip to the beach. Decide how you want to spend the day and what you will learn
Using your choice of media, design a marketing campaign for space tourism
Make a propelled rocket that you can launch from the school playground!