A year of challenges and opportunities ahead

Though it feels like only yesterday that we waved off our final school visitors of last year, here we are looking forward to another hectic term and the exciting challenges and opportunities it holds. The beginning of the 2014/15 academic year brings with it a new challenge in the form of the revised national curriculum, a fact I’m sure teachers across the country will need no additional reminder of!

Exploring the new curriculum and identifying areas that the museum can best support has been top of the primary learning team’s agenda this year. One area that has stood out as particularly challenging is the KS2 programme’s ‘Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age’ topic, and in March of this year we introduced our brand new session Dig It: the Mystery of the Thunderstone to cater to it. Exploring different aspects of the archaeological record from the Stone Age to the Roman period, this enquiry-based session gives children the opportunity to handle and investigate real Stone Age material, participate in a sandbox excavation and work in groups to discover and present the secrets of the Thunderstone.

Neolithic polished stone axe. Found in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. (25927)

The response to the workshop has been exceptionally positive, and feedback from teachers has helped us further hone the session to ensure it is covering the most relevant curriculum points. Teachers’ input into the development of sessions is absolutely crucial, and we would therefore encourage teachers to get in touch with any queries about the curriculum and how the museum might be able to support their class’ learning.

Finally, in very exciting news, we are pleased to announce that the Manchester Museum is working with the British Museum on their Teaching History in 100 Objects project; a series of online history resources created for use in the classroom. Each of the resources links to a particular object held in a museum collection in the UK, and we are privileged to have our wonderful Roman wordsquare, and Asru, our most famous mummy, included in the series. The diversity of objects is outstanding, ranging from 700,000 year old hand axes to 21st century protest posters, so please do take a look – http://teachinghistory100.org/.

More information on our Dig It: the Mystery of the Thunderstone workshop can be found at https://learningmanchester.wordpress.com/dig-it-thunderstone/, and if you would like to book a session please get in touch with Nora Callaghan on 0161 275 2630 or email school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk.

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