A few weeks ago, an excellent opportunity arose for us to work with North Ridge High School in collaboration with the Manchester Histories Festival. It was one of those interesting occasions when a school with particular needs approached us in the first instance. North Ridge is a school tailored for children with special educational needs and wanted to discuss with us how we could support their topic on the Romans in Britain.
Energised by this prospect, Clare, Cat and Neil met with teachers from the school to thrash out various ideas, links with the Museum’s collection and practicalities of bringing about 60 students for a carousel of learning activities. Clare and Neil also visited the school in advance to meet the pupils.
All this planning culminated in an amazing Super Learning Day, specifically designed to engage North Ridge students in interactive workshops. These, plus exploration of the galleries, helped to develop their understanding of the archaeological process and aspects of Roman life.
The programme of activities involved:
• The Dig – students took on the role of archaeologists investigating a historical site, including digging for artefacts and recording what they found
• Sorting the Finds – students used their own knowledge and ideas to come up with different methods for categorising Roman finds
• Arts and crafts – pupils tried on replica Iron Age clothes and were given the chance to recreate Roman mosaics and thumb pots
• Exploring the Museum – after locating Roman artefacts in the Mediterranean gallery, groups discovered what else interested them in the Museum
One teacher commented that “students were kept entertained and motivated” throughout the day, while all the support staff agreed that the pupils had opportunities to extend their thinking. The three of us were exhausted by the end of the day, but were absolutely delighted by the responses of our visitors and their determined enthusiasm. We hope they enjoyed the day as much as we did!