The Educational Value

The education potential of The FUTURE is WILD is limitless. Any episode offers opportunities to teach about human impact on the environment, survival, habitats, food chains, adaptation, climate change and much more. In primary and secondary schools around the world, children and young people have created their own future worlds completed with plants and animals. The Education Department has worked with print and software publishers to produce rich and supportive learning materials, welcomed in schools and colleges.

The FUTURE is WILD can be used in schools and colleges worldwide as a resource material for teaching science and geography in particular, but also opportunities for creative work, for debate and informed discussion. The FUTURE is WILD allows to use the tools of science in an imaginative way retaining scientific authenticity, it helps to explain the highly topical issue of climate change and provides an imaginative scientific counter to creationism and ID – Intelligent Design.

The FUTURE is WILD is used in varying ways by UK and international schools and colleges. Children of all ages and all abilities, their teachers and their parents have all been excited by the possibilities that come from using The FUTURE is WILD, with proven success, in traditional schools, special needs establishments and home learning.

Primary Education (for children from age 5 to 11)

Animals and plants always hold a special fascination for younger children, who are excited and engaged by learning about living things. The FUTURE is WILD offers younger children a unique opportunity to learn how creatures in a dozen different habitats survive and interact. Children aged between 5 and 11 can imagine their own creatures, ingeniously adapted to harsh environments. They become more aware of how familiar plants and animals around them survive in their habitat. Teachers have used The Future is Wild across many different subject areas with great success. The following are the experiences of some UK schools:

The Whyteleafe School spent every week of the summer term working on The FUTURE is WILD to meet the curriculum targets in science, literacy and geography.

The Long Itchington School runs regular FIW workshops and projects focussing on art work, literacy work and lots of science.

The competition award winning children at Telford School runs a The FUTURE is WILD Science Club every week.

“The children were instantly captivated by the materials and the quality of the Science work that followed was outstanding. The week-long activities allowed for great cross curricular work and the children benefited from exciting and engaging learning experiences.”, Matthew Watson, Science Curriculum Leader, Junior School

Secondary Education (for children from ages 11 to 18)

Students first encounter evolution and natural selection at secondary or high school. The FUTURE is WILD asks students to imagine evolutionary pressures, and their impact on life today and in the future. Students create their own organisms to match challenging circumstances. They justify them scientifically, drawing on their understanding. Students have devised, modelled, and animated their creations – and put them to music. In trial schools, the geography and biology curricula have come alive, finding natural links to the other sciences and to the arts. Schools run after-school clubs, use the project for transition days welcoming new students or to achieve curriculum excellence in geography. The FUTURE is WILD is a perfect cross-curricular project. Schools have suspended the curriculum so that different departments can work together, culminating in a celebratory evening. ”Science Across the World“ ran a successful international competition with entries from many different countries. The following are the experiences of some UK schools:

The Crypt School runs regular two week cross-curricular projects based on FIW. Children design their own future creatures and environments which they set to stories (Creative Writing), bring to life as physical models (Art, Design & Technology), develop board games etc. At the weekly FIW Science Club they are creating magazines and much more.

The Rednock School runs a compulsory three week project for all its first year pupils through the following disciplines: Geography (tectonic plates & global change), Biology (creating & proving of creatures and plants), Creative Writing, Art and Design (building of sets, creatures & plants), Animated film-making (stop-frame animation), Music (musical scores), Confidence Building and Team Building.

“The two weeks of The FUTURE is WILD was a major school event, in which science was a framework for teaching and learning across the curriculum – just what a Science College should be doing.”, Dr. Tim Willmott, Head of Science, Secondary Science College

Colleges and Universities

Anybody can imagine a fantasy creature; but it takes a scientist to create an authentic animal. The FUTURE is WILD scientists are the world leaders in their field; and their creations are backed by physiology, by biomechanics and by mathematics. In devising the plants and animals in The FUTURE is WILD, the science team drew on their considerable experience and on their deep understanding of evolutionary pressures. The FUTURE is WILD is a unique and limitless context for ”blue skies“ thinking in science. Schools and colleges from Warwickshire, England to Idaho in the USA have enjoyed this unique approach to education.

Under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Brady, the division of Natural Sciences of the Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston, Idaho has run a semester long project on future evolution, which he presented to the National Science Teachers Association Area Convention in Seattle. Dr. Brady then applied a grading system to the various tasks. Sophomore Zoology students work in pairs to the following brief:

  • Choose a present day taxon.
  • Pick a time period and habitat from the FIW future worlds of 5m, 100m and 200m years from now.
  • Design the creature, taking into account its evolutionary path and environmental changes.
  • Create a physical representation of the creature, a model if possible rather than just drawings.
  • Write a creature profile, quoting reference sources.

“The FUTURE is WILD project has been very beneficial in aiding me in educating my college students to the evolutionary processes that go into adaptation and eventually speciation. It gave me a compelling and engaging means of introducing my students to the thought process of evolutionary ‘what if.’ They came away with a deeper understanding of evolutionary constraints – that novel traits do not just appear – and gained a better perspective on the mechanisms driving these changes.”, Matthew J. Brady, Ph.D.

Special Needs Teaching

Many children present educational challenges, often because they do not respond to conventional teaching methods. The FUTURE is WILD has had exceptional success in engaging these students. They respond to the unusual worlds imagined by the scientific team in extraordinary ways. Its blending of science and imagination provides:

  • The background for an experience individually tailored to fit the circumstances.
  • Sense of individual achievement as all participants can create something unique of their own.
  • A fully immersive experience which makes it easy to cross to other disciplines and open doors previously thought closed.
  • An outlet for imagination, self expression and frequently as a way of communicating to others.
  • A concept equally as effective in the home as in the classroom.

The following are some of the experiences:

A speech and language Pathologist working with Aspergers and Autism at a school in New York said that many of her children have become interested in our programmes. She uses them to help the children practice their listening skills, strike up conversations and expand their language. She is using the pictures to create card games in order for the children to play during their free time at recess and lunch.

A 9-year old autistic boy home-schooled in Vancouver, Canada is a regular correspondent with FIW. He has a credible adaptation of a future moose & a stop-frame animated film.

A mother home-schooling two dyslexic children in the American mid-west wrote: 
“A great learning adventure for us and a great way for my kids to broaden their imaginations, strengthen their comprehension skills, and learn in a way that is fun and educational.”