Trees and our shared natural environment

Age: 8,9,10
Project Year: 2012-13

Aim: To research, discuss and investigate the nature of trees in our locality and the wider world.


  • To research, discuss and investigate the nature of trees in our locality and the wider world.
  • To use an online format to develop group work skills, both between the schools, and in the classes themselves, through mixed ability grouping.
  • To develop the children's ICT skills, individually and in groups.
  • To develop an appreciation and understanding of the similarities and differences in some of the aspects of the children's lives and interests.
Online Collaboration/ Activities and Work Completed:
Stage one: Online use of forums, wikis, databases and blogs to talk about themselves and to introduce themselves to each other in an informal way. Children talked about their mutual interests and set up links to other pages/wikis of interest.
Stage two: Live online use of forum to discuss Christmas tree building traditions. Some images of trees liked by the children were uploaded and commented upon by the children. Similarities and differences at Christmas time were also discussed and commented upon.
Stage three: Researched projects on trees in pairs. Trees such as The Dogwood, The Cherry Blossom and The Oak among many others were studied and written about online by the children. They wrote between 6 and 10 lines per pair on each tree.
Stage five: Elluminate introduction of children in each group to their linked group members. The children spoke about themselves in turn to their group members in the other school. The children also told a few jokes, played some music and we had a chat about the upcoming National League Final between Dublin and Tyrone, the native counties of both schools.
Stage six: Team building activities at the Cavan Crystal Maze. The children were placed in mixed school groups where they engaged in skill, mental and physical tasks over the course of 4 hours and the activities were based largely in nature. They had lunch together and the winning team were a mix of St Mary's and MDG.

Face-to-face meeting

Venue: The Crystal Maze, Wednesday 5th June 2013.
The venue was chosen as it was highly recommended and involved a very active day with plenty of outdoor activities including physical, mental and skill challenges which focused on teamwork and communication. The teams navigated around Ireland's largest hedge maze attempting to win crystals. The team with the most crystals won a beautiful crystal trophy. Groups were formed using children from both schools and due to the team orientated games the children mixed very well, and because there were three schools involved, each school received a trophy. As well as St Mary's Ballygawley, St Anne's PS in Strabane joined us on the day, bringing the three schools together. Two classes taking part in DB in Mother of Divine Grace, joined with their two respective partner schools.


We used videoconference several times this year. We introduced ourselves, and participated in quizzes based on trees, having pre-discussed certain trees to be studied. The children told jokes, spoke about their interests, and the things they had in common. Videoconferencing was an excellent tool to see each other and communicate virtually. The children enjoyed the opportunity to see the similarities and differences in each other's class room through the videoconferencing, and the opportunities to hear each other speak and to interact in a live format enhanced the children's interactions on the children's blog sections.

Schools Involved

Media Gallery

For Dissolving Boundaries Day 2014 we invited schools to send us short video recordings that show what DB means to them. We've pieced these together into a movie!

A documentary about linking schools through ICT; case studies of cross-border links between Northern Ireland and Ireland in the Dissolving Boundaries programme and in Israel through the TEC program.


School Participation

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