It was the start of the Year Six science project and Mr Gregory was telling the children what they would be doing. Alice was listening intently, using her Yellow Footprints. She loved science.
“Now,” said Mr Gregory in an excited and motivating voice, “this year our science project is going to be on amphibians! Who knows what an amphibian is?”
Alice’s hand shot up. “Is it frogs and toads and things like that?”
“That’s right Alice! Amphibians are an amazing group of animals that can live and breathe in air AND water! Imagine being able to do that yourselves..... Imagine if you could swim down to the bottom of the sea, explore ship wrecks and coral reefs, find pearls and recover treasure and not need to wear a breathing tank and mask! Of course you’d look a bit odd when you came into school with your gills sticking out!”
Alice liked Mr Gregory. His Orange Footprints made everyone feel they could have a go in Science, even if it was hard. He was always there to support you. Mr Gregory explained that they would be working in teams of three to investigate amphibians. He got them working together, using Orange Footprints to share their ideas. He pointed to the Orange Footprints poster.
“So I’ll be looking for you to support each other; encourage and empower each other to do the best you can; make sure everyone is included and involved in decision making.
Alice was put in a team with Bethany and a slightly shy girl called Jasmine. Alice and Bethany both used Green Footprints to throw out all their ideas at record speed. Bethany had a brilliant book on amphibians; Alice wanted to go to the local pond and look for a frog; Bethany would ask her grandad who knew all about animals; Alice wanted to go to the pet shop and talk to the owner.... In fact, they got so caught up thinking about their own ideas, that they didn’t notice Jasmine, sitting quietly at the end of the row, looking rather left out.
“Oh Jasmine, I am so sorry!” cried Alice, using her Yellow Footprints. “Beth and I have been so focused on saying our own ideas that we didn’t notice how little opportunity we gave you to share your ideas. I bet you’ve got some brilliant ideas, don’t you Beth?” Beth nodded supportively.
Before long, Jasmine began to share her ideas. Beth and Alice listened carefully, nodded positively and gave her lots of encouragement to keep her ideas rolling. One idea almost made their eyes pop out...
“I wonder whether I should bring in my pet toad Tilly; she is about to spawn some eggs. Do you think the others would find it interesting?”
“Interesting????!!!!” squealed Beth; “it’s the best idea in the room! Jasmine I’m so glad you’re on our team!”
“But,” said Jasmine in a hesitant voice, “will you stand up in front of everyone and show Tilly? I couldn’t bear to have everyone looking at me. I’d be so nervous and scared.” Green Footprints were really scary for Jasmine to use.
“We could have a practice at my house before hand; we can write down what you want to say on cards and then we will hold them up for you while you show Tilly. We will support you all the way,” said Alice in supportive and encouraging tone of voice.
“Okay, I’ll have a go, but I’ll still be nervous.” Alice and Beth’s Orange Footprints had given Jasmine the courage she needed.
Finally the day came for each team to present what they had discovered. Jake, Sasha and Alex were sitting confidently on the front row, convinced that their project would be the best. Jasmine tried not to catch their eye, knowing the boys might knock her confidence with their smug, self satisfied grins.
When it was Jasmine, Alice and Bethany’s turn, they taught everyone how amphibians have babies, what they eat and where they live.
“And finally,” announced Alice “Jasmine has something extra special to show you!” The whole class craned forward to see as Jasmine lifted her toad out of its box. The toad sat on her hands blinking slowly and then let out a big croak. Everyone laughed, except Jake, Sasha and Alex, who were a bit miffed that the girls’ project was better than theirs.
At that moment the toad decided to do a big jump. It jumped right out of Jasmine’s hand!
“Oh no!” gasped Jasmine, as she watched the animal sail through the air.
“Ooooh!” shrieked the rest of the class as they waited to see where it would land. The toad plopped down..... right on the middle of Alex, Sasha and Jakes’ open project, leaving great, big, toady footprints on the front page!
“Look out!” cried Jake, “That toad’s going to spoil all our hard work!”
“Looks like my toad knows how to leave Footprints too!” said the normally quiet Jasmine. The whole class roared with laughter.
“Well, thank you Jasmine for bringing your bouncing toad in,” said Mr Gregory. “And thank you too, Alice and Bethany for using Orange Footprints to encourage Jasmine to share something which helps us all with our learning. That was the best lesson we have had all term!!”