Launch of ‘Beyond the Panda’

21 September 2013

Beyond-the-Panda-1-300w.jpg'The conservation of the wild panda is about much more than the animal, even more than the thousands of other endangered animals. The conservation of the wild panda has become a test of ourselves.' From 'The Way of the Panda' by Henry Nicholls.

The words of Henry Nicholls could not be more appropriate to the work which RZSS is involved in with its Giant Panda Project. Those words also inspired the title 'Beyond the Panda' for the new RZSS outreach. Initially aimed at Primary 5 to Primary 7 level, the programme is in three parts:

  1. The Panda-Learning about the giant panda
  2. China-Discovering China - past and present
  3. Our World-Taking action in our world

We have partnered with the Scotland China Education Network, the Confucius Institute for Scotland, the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools and Confucius Hubs. RZSS's Discovery and Learning provide the panda outreach to schools across Scotland along with a resource pack. The partners provide the expertise in learning about China and Chinese language. Part 3 of the project is looking for ideas from the children on how they can take action in our world and RZSS will fund and create a pathway for these ideas to happen from selected schools.

We plan to deliver 50 of the panda outreach sessions throughout Scotland, 41 of which are already booked and 14 which have been successfully completed.

In the outreach session, the children make up a large scale jigsaw which shows a habitat map of China, including the current distribution of the giant panda. An overlay then shows the historic distribution and this is a very effective method for the children to realise the massive habitat loss.

Following this, they work in small teams on interactive stations with activities on the panda life-cycle, the panda's 'thumb', skulls, teeth and diet, classification, other wildlife of China, bamboo, the silkworm and the geography of China.

Already sessions have taken place in a number of schools in Aberdeenshire and a school in Edinburgh. Bookings are in place for more in the Edinburgh area, Glasgow, Angus, Argyll & Bute and the Shetland Islands.

Feedback From Teachers


14 sessions -

  1. The aims of the 'Beyond the Panda' programme were made clear - all 14 totally agree
  2. The panda outreach was in line with the aims - all 14 totally agree
  3. I am able to connect the panda outreach to leaning outcomes in the Curriculum for Excellence - all 14 totally agree
  4. The resources used were appropriate for the level of the pupils - 12 totally agree; 2 agreed.
  5. I feel that the pupils participated actively in the outreach - 13 totally agree; 1 agreed.
  6. I would recommend the programme to others - all 14 totally agree.Walking-Panda.jpg

Teachers comments:

  • "the presenter was clear and concise"
  • "Excellent active learning activities"
  • "Everything made very clear. Language used was appropriate"
  • "the size of the groups was right for involvement"
  • "the resources were appropriate for the level for most but support was available for others"
  • "Great variation of resources and activities"
  • "Some activities would sustain attention longer than others and could possibly produce deeper discussion during plenary sessions afterwards. A lot of information discussed throughout the session. Info heavy."
  • "The booklet was very clear and helped me create lessons before"
  • "Some did not cope with the length of the session but on the whole it was appropriate"
  • "was very active and got the children moving and involved"
  • "It was incredible. Both the class and myself are inspired to carry on. Have already decided to make it a more in depth topic"
  • "very informative. Linked well with China topic"
  • "some reading cards were a little tricky for EAC pupils. However the group task set up was erect to support those who needed extra support from peers"Sitting-Panda.jpg
  • "the aims were clear and each area was well presented"
  • "This was very well linked to E&O's"
  • "They all enjoyed the on hands items"
  • "Fantastic! The pupils learnt a lot and so did I"