Yahl is 10 kms away from Mount Gambier
Mount Gambier's famous Blue Lake

Yahl Primary School, located near Mount Gambier, in South Australia

I introduced the project to my 4/5 class by visiting the Save Our Rhinos website and explaining about the five toy rhinos that travel the world to raise awareness about rhino poaching. The kids thought the project was a splendid idea, and were actively commenting on the issue. I then surprised them by producing Lesedi out of a bag I had been hiding under my desk! They were so surprised and quite ecstatic that we would get to keep Lesedi with us for a few weeks.

I must say I was amazed at the intensity and the consistency of the interest displayed by the kids over the course of this project. The children were keen to take Lesedi home at night for "sleepovers" and immediately started researching facts in their own time about rhinos and poaching. One of the children was so impressed by one of her classmates' efforts, that she designed a "Rhino Medal" at home, and brought it to school to bestow upon the industrious rhino researcher!

But having Lesedi meant more than fun and games. By signing up to this project, we were undertaking to raise our local community awareness about the plight of wild rhinos. As a whole class, we brainstormed ways to achieve this goal. Someone suggested the local library in Mount Gambier. I contacted them by email, and they agreed to give us some display space for the first half of the school holidays.

Part of our rhino display at the Mount Gambier Library

Lesedi and rhinos in general became the theme of our learning over the next few weeks: we researched poaching statistics and produced graphs about them in Maths; we learnt about infographics, and how to present factual information in a visually attractive way in literacy; our geographical knowledge expanded; we produced some artwork for the library display; we designed a range of simple computer games using Scratch; and finally, we learnt first-hand about being active citizens and using our voice to talk about an issue we cared about.

One of the infographics designed by the students

The local paper were fantastic in their support and published not one, but two articles about the project. The library display looked incredible, and the staff reported that the display was visually very appealing in the library and was well received by the visiting public.

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Our first article in The Border Watch

Click on the photo below to access our Travelling Rhino Scratch Studio, where you can play the awesome Scratch games designed by our students:

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Click on this picture to be taken to our addictive Scratch games!

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Karen Stadler for this excellent project. I believe that she is helping not only the cause of rhinos, but also that of this generation of global citizens, by supporting their development of crucial problem-solving and leadership skills. I will no doubt sign up again for this project in a couple of years' time - I certainly hope it will still be running then!

Emmanuelle Pratt