Wow! And double wow. And general comments which make me sound more like an excitable child (second childhood perhaps?)
I’m talking about the TSI: Time Scene Investigation project I’ve been privileged to organise and be part of with St James Primary School in Rusholme. It’s not quite over yet – and there’s still some reflection for us all to do, but I admit to having been blown away by what’s happened so far.
The project, as I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, centred around these aims:
- how children act as researchers
- how working in a museum and with museum professionals can influence and give context to writing
- gathering children’s impressions and ideas of archaeological display as part of the Museum’s Archaeology/Egypt re-display consultation process
We’ve explored these aims and much more over the last few weeks.
We started our learning journey together with me visiting the school to begin explore the idea of archaeologists as ‘time detectives’, through gathering evidence from modern rubbish and mind-mapping things our cultures would leave behind for future archaeologists, under the headings:
- Clothes, Shoes and Jewellery
- Food and drink
- A Typical Day (work/school/spare time)
We also began to explore some of the issues surrounding the human remains debate in a ‘mind game’ which looked at the imaginary death of a member of the class, what grave goods we would send him on his way with and how we would feel if, in eighty years time, his body was dug up and it was suggested he be displayed in the Museum.
This lead into a very interesting ‘polarisation debate’ (where participants move to the side they agree with and each side attempts to persuade the other of their point of view). This, in its turn was a great way into encouraging the children to make notes in their project notebooks and then draft a balanced argument. Challenging stuff – and I was very impressed with the maturity of the arguments both sides expressed.
The following week the class made its first visit to The Manchester Museum. In a busy, thoughtful day, we first visited the Egypt afterlife gallery to explore how the people there had once been like us and to offer them grave goods from the collection. A visit to the money gallery, helped explore another type of object sometimes found at archaeological digs (and I still love the coin which doubles as a knife) before using chosen coins to help us understand stratification and how money can help us date other archaeological finds. The morning concluded with a full-on sand dig (complete with appropriate Health and Safety instructions!).
The Egypt daily life gallery helped us consider how labels in museums can deal with both fact and opinion, before we moved to the ‘finds shed’ to record some detailed information: facts and opinions about our finds, along with careful, labelled drawings – recording the ‘evidence’ from the ‘time scene’.
The following day, I visited the school to work with the class on how to write up a report on their find for the TSI chief inspector. The children again enjoyed creating writing with a real context to it.
The next week was when the project began to really fly. But that’s for another blog entry…
Related Learning Team posts:
- TSI: Time Scene Investigation
- TSI Part 3 (or this is where things *really* took off!)
- TSI Part 4 – The Museum of Me
- Helena’s visit to the Museum of Me
- My visit to the Museum of Me
- Learning & Lindow Man