‘Extinction or Survival?’ – new video resource for schools

We have a new and exciting resource to share with you today, created by 60 Year 3 children from Crab Lane Community Primary School in Crumpsall.

This short video is designed to be used inside the  fabulous ‘Extinction or Survival?’ exhibition, at Manchester Museum until 20 April 2017.

The exhibition contains some difficult stories about the many species that are no longer with us, from the dodo to the Tasmanian tiger. But it also tells a story of hope: what can we do to help endangered species?

It will be of special interest to KS2 teachers who are working on ‘Living Things and their Habitats’.

To use the video, we recommend bringing tablets to the Museum and sharing them between small groups of children with an adult. You can load the video via this page, and pause it each time you see the name of a species to allow you time to find it in the exhibition. You can also pause at the ‘Over to you’ questions, as a chance to get the children thinking more deeply about the exhibition’s themes. The video can also be used outside the Museum if needed.

The children of Crab Lane would love to know what you think of their video! Let us know  by adding a comment below.

If you would like to visit ‘Extinction or Survival?’ you can do so for free, but please let us know you are coming by completing the booking enquiry form on our website. This helps ensure a great experience for you and for the other schools visiting our (very busy!) museum that day. You might also want to consider our popular KS2 session ‘Habitats and You’.

The story behind the video …

Every year, Kids in Museums ‘Takeover Day’ invites children into meaningful roles in museums and galleries. As our ‘Extinction or Survival?’ exhibition was due to open in September 2016, we thought it would be great if some children could create a really useful resource for other schools visiting the exhibition.

Using  contacts through the wonderful Schools Network Choir, we found two Year 3 teachers from Crab Lane who were really excited to do something a bit different with their classes that term.

We met up and planned an amazing series of activities for the kids: first, both classes came separately to visit the museum, to research the exhibition and to learn what makes a great tour. We all practised saying in big loud voices, “WELCOME TO MANCHESTER MUSEUM!!!”

Then, back in school, the children worked in small groups with their teachers to devise their own tours. This means that the tours are all the children’s own words – amazing.

In the meantime, staff at the Museum were busy arranging loads of great activities for Takeover Day itself. Almost every department was involved, from conservation and collections to marketing, volunteers and even the Vivarium team!

368c259d-4466-4d5e-ad31-f54c4674b335On 18 November – a cold and snowy day – all 60 kids descended on the Museum for a pretty full-on day! All the children gave their tours LIVE for members of the  public. This was incredibly brave but they had lovely clear voices and even took questions from the audience! They were also total pros being filmed by Steve from the Museum.

As well as their tours, the kids made a giant rainforest collage, helped clean objects in the conservation studios, went behind the scenes in the Entomology stores, and welcomed visitors.

At the very end of the day, all the children said they would love to work in a museum when they grow up. We can’t wait!

Manchester Museum would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the children, teachers and other staff involved in making the project such a success. We hope you enjoy their video!


Ancient Egypt visits Artscool

Picture 032

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Manchester Museum took a selection of ancient Egyptian objects out to Artscool, an arts festival for primary school children at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire Campus in Crew. The week-long arts festival has aimed to raise the level of arts engagement in the area, and focused on the Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Over 2 days, the museum ran 6 workshops, each for 20 primary pupils, in conjunction with Emma Thackham. While one half of the group developed their investigative skills by interpreting a selection of ancient Egyptian artefacts related to the theme of language and learning, the other half of the group worked with the artist to incorporate modern equivalents of these objects into an art installation.

Some images of the results can be found below…

A barrel of heads!

A barrel of heads!

What can I say?!

What can I say?!

A colourful arrangement

A colourful arrangement…

Be a climate researcher – Citizen Science – Make a rain gauge!

Here at the Manchester Museum we absolutely love projects that get pupils involved in real life science that matters – they are, after all, the researchers of tomorrow.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

How much rain falls in Manchester?

So we were really pleased to get information on the ‘Crowdsourcing4Climate: Community Rainfalls Collections’ pilot project, which hopes to get the public and schools collecting rainfall data to add to the data we can use in all sorts of scientific research. It’s simple but could be a brilliant and effective school project and will support research at Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester Universities.

We’ve attached some information on how you can get involved and would love to see local schools contributing – so do take a look and let us know if you need any further information C4C_TeacherGuide-1.

The Manchester Museum Comes To You

Pupils from Wilbraham Primary School get hands on with Ancient Egyptian objects.

The Manchester Museum’s redeveloped ‘Museum  Comes To You’ schools outreach offer is coming soon!

We have a brand new Egypt exploration session where you can help to solve the mystery of a raided tomb, learn about and handle ancient Egyptian objects and have a go at making your own scarab beetle or Egyptian headdress!
We have been super impressed by the love and knowledge that primary schools from far and wide have for all things Egyptian and can’t wait to visit more and more amazing schools. Watch this space for more information…

Matthew Moss: What is Archaeology?

Recently, Bryan Sitch, our wonderful Curator of Archaeology visited Matthew Moss High School as part of an ‘Archaeology Day’ they had planned. He provided some of their Year 8 students with a talk on ‘What is Archaeology’ in order to inspire and inform them on this fascinating subject. He took along some basic finds from our collection and engaged the students in exploring what they thing archaeology is and how it is a destructive, but potentially very informative, process. According to the teachers, this really helped in increasing students’ understanding of the subject.

We;re really lucky that we have great curators who work with us in the Learning Team to make our programme successful and although we  don’t currently offer Outreach Curator talks on a regular basis, sometimes we can organise the occasional visit here and there on special request. If this is something you might be interested in, please contact me: catherine.lumb@manchester.ac.uk

Happy New Year!

So the festivities are over and after a quiet spell on the Learning Blog we are all back at the Museum and Art Gallery ready to enthuse students and make learning outside the classroom a fun and engaging activity for all.

Image, heads down - planning how to display things in the museum

We will be blogging about our new projects and workshops soon, but in the meantime why not check out the Learning Pages for The Manchester Museum and The Whitworth Art Gallery to see what we have to offer. If you don’t find what you are looking for, get in touch and we will be happy to help if we can!

We would like to thank the following schools for visiting The Manchester Museum between 18th & 22nd Oct 2010

Barton Moss Primary, Eccles

Image, The entrance to The Manchester Museum

Brookburn Primary, Chorlton

Ermysted Grammar, Skipton

Great Marsden St Johns Primary, Nelson

Halifax High

Heathland Primary, Sandilane

Holy Family Primary, Salemoor

Loreto College

Lyndhurst Primary, Oldham

Martenscroft Children’s Centre

North Reddish Junior, Stockport

St Barnabas Primary, Openshaw

St Christopher’s Primary, Ashton Under Lyne

St Helens Primary, Barnsley

St Thomas Primary, West Houghton

Victoria Junior, Cumbria

Webster Primary, Moss Side

Wilmslow Prep School

China: Journey to the East Teacher Preview

On Wednesday 29th September The Manchester Museum hosted a preview evening for teachers in order to allow educational professsionals to see the new China: Journey to the East exhibition, view our ideas for the associated learning programme and talk to the learning team at the Musuem.

It was a fantastic evening, and seemed to be a great success. We had over fifty teachers attend to explore and investigate the variety of programming that The Museum is offering in conjunciton to the exhibition and it was amazing to be able to get input and feedback for the workshops and sessions at such an early stage.

Throughout the school year, as the exhibition is with us until June 2011, we are offering workshops and resources at all stages, from Early Years to Post-16. If you missed the preview, or even just want to find out more about the China: Journey to the East Learning Programme visit our website or get in touch.

You mean Archaeology isn’t about cavemen and dinosaurs?!

We’re very lucky at The Manchester Museum to have some really enthusiastic curators who enjoy working with the public and teaching young people about their specialist subjects. In light of that, here is a special ‘guest’ blog post by Bryan, our Curator of Archaeology, and his experience of working with a Primary school gorup.

People often think that collections curators spend all their time in the store looking at objects. In fact there are opportunities to go out and visit schools as I found earlier this week when I was invited back to Flixton Junior School to talk to some Year 3 children about archaeology. Janice East is one of the teachers there and she has asked me to talk to the children several times over the last couple of years.

Pupil from Flixton examining an archaeological flint tool

So it was that last Monday morning I found myself in the school hall standing in front of two classes of 7-8 year olds. We talked about what archaeology is and after fending off the common misunderstanding that archaeology is in some way related to dinosaurs we looked at some prehistoric flint tools from The Manchester Museum collection. We divided the children into smaller groups and asked them to come up with a story to account for the flint artefacts I had put out on the tables for them.  

I encouraged the children to think of themselves as detectives looking at clues and to try and come up with a story to account for the finds that they had before them. The children quickly grasped the idea that the flint arrowhead and the flint axehead were all that remained of a bow-and-arrow and an axe and that the organic materials had rotted away in the ground.  

It was interesting that the children thought the flint scrapers were buttons even though they didn’t have holes in the middle. What was even more fascinating was the way the children talked about the artefacts as having been used by cavemen. It just shows how pervasive is the association between prehistoric stone tools and caves amongst the public even in the minds of quite young schoolchildren. It’s always great to work with the school because the children’s enthusiasm is infectious.   

I believe Janice brought in some broken pottery from home and seeded the school flower beds before asking the children to search for ‘archaeology’.  This turned the soil over a treat ready for the autumn. Now I wonder if I could try that in my own garden at home?

Bryan Sitch, Curator of Archaeology

Calling all Eco Schools….

We are delighted to be able to offer four primary schools the unique opportunity to be part of an exciting and innovative partnership project beginning in autumn 2010 involving The Manchester Museum, the BBC 21st Century Classroom and the University of Salford.

Taking inspiration from the Manchester Museum’s forthcoming Living Planet gallery the ‘On My Doorstep’ project will encourage Year 5 pupils to engage with their local environment, and to consider issues related to biodiversity, ecology and sustainability.  The project aims to provide pupils with the knowledge, skills and inspiration required to produce a short film about nature on their doorsteps.  All four films will be shown on the BBC 21CC website and will provide a comparative resource for exploration of local environments in four contrasting areas of the North West.

The project not only supports the Eco Schools Framework (particularly the Biodiversity topic) and also offers an array of cross curricular learning opportunities in Science, History, Citizenship, Geography and ICT. Groups will get to grips with multi-media and learn a broad range of film making skills.  Under the guidance of BBC staff and professional camera crew they will have the opportunity to use industry standard equipment and software.

The project will last for three weeks and each participating class will complete four activity days during this time.

Activity days include:

  1. Initial Museum visit – pupils will discover more about the project and take part in a number of special workshops to develop their skills as naturalists.
  2. Museum Comes to School – the Museum will visit school to help the class develop their ideas for creating their film.
  3. BBC 21st Century Classroom visits School –   working with BBC 21st CC staff, professional cameramen and student mentors from the MA in Wildlife Documentary Production course at the University of Salford, groups will learn how to storyboard their ideas and film on location.
  4. Visit to the 21st Century Classroom – the class will work with 21CC staff to edit their films.

The project will end in April 2011 with a sharing event in which all participants will be invited to a film launch at the Museum.

Only four places available.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity!

For further information contact:

School Outreach – The Manchester Museum

Tel: 0161 306 1779

Email: schooloutreach@manchester.ac.uk