Archive for July 2012
On 10th, 12th and 13th July, the Manchester Museum hosted our annual ‘Matrix in the Museum’ events which are run in partnership with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix Research in the Faculty of Life Sciences. This year we had three schools visiting over the week; Stretford High School, Manchester Academy and All Hallows RC High School, all bringing year 8 classes to take part in the days’ activities.
The students were split into 5 teams for the day; Team Mucus, Team DNA, Team Cell, Team Cartilage and Team Matrix, all with a research scientist as their team leader. The day started by having a tour of the research laboratories in the Michael Smith building. The students get to see real scientists at work and find out about the work that they do. It was then over to the Manchester Museum to complete their team challenges!
Each team had a different challenge to do about their respective area of research i.e. team name, from making a model, to writing a song/poem or rap to preparing a presentation to show the rest of the class. The students worked brilliantly to complete these challenges, coming up with some fantastic ideas and creative ways to showcase what they have learnt. After lunch, during their final preparations, two ‘judges’ or Professor and research group leaders came round to talk to the students about what they had been doing over the course of the day.
It was then time to show off the work they had been doing. Each team presented their topic to the judges and the rest of the group and demonstrated their model and song/rap/poem. The judges then had to pick a winner – itwas often a very tough decision with all groups performing really well and showing how much they have leant from the day. A special mention has to go to Team DNA or Team Pro as they were known from Manchester Academy whose constant energy and enthusiasm throughout the whole day was just fantastic! It was a brilliant few days and I hope the students enjoyed as much as we did!
Thank you to all students, researchers and PI’s that took part which made it such a successful event.
Magic Carpet is our monthly storytelling and activity session for under 5’s and their families and carers. Today we explored the theme of Rocks!
This included …..
Visiting the fossils gallery to find some glow in the dark rocks, handling real rocks from the collection, making gemstone pictures and rubbings from dinosaur casts and sensory play for babies
Sessions are on the last Friday of the month at 10.30- 11.30 and 11.30 – 12.30 and are free, but you need to book a place a week before the event by ringing 0161 275 2648
The next Magic Carpet is on Friday 31 August and the theme is West Africa which is part of the We Face forward programme of events linked to the exhibitions at Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth Art Gallery and Platt Hall Gallery of Costume .
For further information about family activities visit Wefaceforward.org
All the way back in January and February of this year the Museum was working with eight Year 8 students from Matthew Moss High School in order to create a Midden – so that we could research the decay and survival of a number of everyday objects. We called it our ‘Experiment in Archaeology’ and installed the midden in our Allotment with plans to excavate just before the opening of the new Ancient Worlds Galleries in late October.
Well, our Year 8′s were welcomed back to the Museum last week and were treated to a tour of the University of Manchester’s Chemistry labratory so that they could use the equipment to test a variety of materials. But first they had to identify the differences between organic and inorganic materials and determine which of these categories each of their samples placed in the midden belonged to. They used the Museum’s collection as a resource for discussion and to help them place their samples.
After examining some of the Museum’s collection they then went across to the meet Kristy Turner, RSC School Teacher Fellow at the School of Chemistry. Here is what she did with the students:
The students used FTIR spectroscopy to look at the materials in the objects they brought with them. This method fires an infrared beam (a bit like that coming from your TV remote) onto the surface of the sample and measures how the beam changes when it is bounced off the sample and returned to the machine. It can show us information about chemical bonds in materials, especially materials made from mainly carbon, like plastics. The students will return in September or October to reanalyse the materials they have dug out from the midden and see if anything has changed. This will let them see if being in the midden has made any changes to the chemical structure of the materials.
Tracey Martin, who accompanied the students on their visit, sent us an email to say: “a BIG thank you! Our Year 8 boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves with you all yesterday“. Below are a few of the photographs of the boys working hard in Chemistry.
They also placed some more items in the midden, mostly organic materials, to see what effect a shorter time period might have on such samples. We can’t wait to welcome them back as Year 9′s in September or October to dig up their midden and retrieve what’s left (if anything) of their objects in preparation for the Ancient Worlds Galleries opening!
On Friday 6th July a wonderful group of very talented Year 5 pupils from Birchfields Primary School were invited to have a go at quite a challenging lable writing task. We asked the group ‘Can you choose one Egyptian Shabti from our wonderful and varied collection here at the Manchester Museum and write a 75 word label for it?’
The answer, quite unanimously, was yes they certainly could!
It was a very busy day, with lots of decision making and editing throughout their work; the group were very hard working! The class worked in small groups working their way through the selection process and then choosing the best descriptions from within their groups. Our curator of Egyptology, Campbell Price, was on hand to offer further insight into what the Shabtis were and explain a little bit about where this label will be displayed in the Museum.
We were all really impressed with the level of descriptive language used. The group produced really thought provoking descriptions that made us here at the Museum think differently about the objects too; they really were offering us fresh insights into these wonderful objects from ancient Egypt.
Why not come and see their label displayed in the new ‘Ancient Worlds‘ galleries opening in October this year!
We are continuing to develop our baby explorer sessions, for babies (who aren’t yet walking) and their carers. We are working with Karl Harris, an early years specialist and Carla Henry, a drama practitioner to provide opportunities for sensory play and for babies to participate in interactive storytelling activities devised around our collections in the Nature discovery gallery on the first floor, which include;
under the sea, meadow and woodland areas.
Carla has been delivering a special under the sea themed story about Phoebe’s flickering fish which includes finger puppets, bubbles and twinkling stars!
The next sessions are on:
July10 & 24
Aug7 & 21
And then every other Tuesday
12.15-1.15pm & 1.45-2.45pm
We are able to provide a safe and comfortable environment for very young children and there is no public access during our sessions.
Our sessions are free and currently on a Drop-in basis