We Make a Difference

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Jack with his certificate at the Making a Difference Awards Ceremony.

Last night at the University’s Making a Difference Award Ceremony our Inflatable Museum Coordinator, Jack Ridley, won the ‘Outstanding professional support services, library and cultural institution’s support for social responsibility’ award for his fantastic work on the Inflatable Museum.

The Inflatable Museum is our pop-up (literally) portable learning space that takes immersive, inspirational learning experiences into primary schools: watch a short film about Jack’s award-winning work.

In line with the University’s Widening Participation and Social Responsibility agendas, the project has overcome some of the barriers that otherwise prevent young people from engaging with Manchester’s cultural venues and universities.

We also got a chance to watch the new Measuring the Difference  impact film* which showcases some of the ways in which the University works to ‘make a difference’ to the social and environmental wellbeing of our communities and wider society.

It is really great to see the Museum’s work in this area is being recognised, so well done Jack!

*can you spot the Learning Team member? [hint: look for the smile!]

After the Bees: Post-apocolyptic Games Design

We were really proud to work with Preston College again this year, with further development on the brief for the BTEC Level 3 Games Development module. Their tutor, Chris, worked up this fantastic scenario for them (see below) and all the students visited the Museum in November to gather research and preliminary sketches.

Project Brief
A games developer has an idea for a post-apocalyptic game, set 100 years in the future – taking cues from games such as ‘The Last of Us’. The developer is working from a story based around the global extinction of bees and the hugely negative impact this could have on humanity.

Students are required to come up with three designs, which explore different story possibilities:

1) Design for an autonomous machine that pollinates flowers, taking over the job that the bees previously had
Image to be produced as a digital Photoshop painting.

2) Costume/character design – another direction the story may take is that the extinct bee population will be replaced with a much more aggressive species that can withstand mites and changes in climate. Unfortunately, they also kill indiscriminately to claim more territory and multiply at an alarming rate. As the governments are reeling from the financial meltdown caused by the collapse of the farming industry, only the very rich and privileged can afford protection from these killers. You must produce a costume/suit that keeps the bees from doing harm to the wearer, but also acts as a desirable status symbol.
Image to be produced in pen and ink.

3) Design for shady black-market area – As plants and crops cannot be pollinated, many ‘luxuries’ are now a rarity. The developer would like to see an illegal market, with store people selling coffee and fruit, amongst the poor surroundings.
Image to be produced in Pencil/charcoal, with emphasis on atmosphere.

The students had two months to develop their Project pieces and then, on 23rd January they returned to the Museum to present their final work. Listening to their presentations were Megan Powell – Artist behind Manchester Museum’s After the Bees exhibition; Cat Lumb – Secondary and Post-16 Humanities & Arts Co-ordinator; Leila Nicholson – bee expert from Manchester Metropolitan Univeristy; and Eve Bokor – a placement student with the Learning Team from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Here’s what Megan had to say about the students’ work:

“The students from Preston College presented an impressive project about bees, each created a world that was both imaginative and practically considered. It was evident that each student had extensively researched the bees and I was particularly inspired by the highly creative ‘pollinating machine’ designs.”

We were all really impressed by the thought that went into the game elements and how confidently the students presented their ideas on the day. It was fantastic to see the brief come to life in their work and every student demonstrated a creative angle of their own.

Take a look at the work they produced below:

Pollination Machines

 

Costume/Character Design

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Black Market Area

Spectacular Science: Manchester Museum Takeover!

Free event on Saturday, 29 October 2016 (10am-4pm) at the Manchester Museum

sci-spec-bThe University of Manchester will be running its Spectacular Science event on Saturday 29th October, offering a fun-filled family day of science challenges, live experiments, and hands-on demonstrations to delight children and adults alike.

Help us create a superhero, become a cell explorer, or build a world of fungus. Investigate our universe, make a mini robot dance, explore new wonder materials, and much, much more.

At the same time, our science buskers will be lining Oxford Road dishing out dazzling displays of scientific wizardry. So bring your mum and dad, your kids, and your friends to this free event.

Sheena Cruickshank, University of Manchester’s Academic Lead for Public Engagement with Research said: “this award winning event is a treasure of delights showcasing the variety of amazing and excellent science at The University of Manchester.”

What you have said:

“The whole event was such good fun and the hands on stuff was great. We all want to be scientists now!”

“I left having really enjoyed the day. I would definitely recommend others taking part.”

 

Manchester has a proud history of scientific discovery and by coming to the Science Spectacular you’ll be able to make some discoveries of your own!

So come on down to the Manchester Museum for some Spectacular Science!

Further information:

See our 2015 video

This event is part of the Manchester Science Festival (MSF). Part laboratory, part playground, MSF is a showcase for the most creative, surprising and hands-on science for people of all ages.

Half Term Activities at Manchester Museum

img_3226Join us at Manchester Museum for lots of family friendly fun this half term.

 

October is an exciting month across the City with lots of family friendly events as part of Manchester Science Festival and the Family Arts Festival.

 

When the half term holidays arrive, the learning opportunities continue at Manchester Museum.  October half term is the perfect opportunity to visit and delve into the many hands on, fun and awe inspiring activities that we have taking place.

 

All week long you can drop in between 11am-4pm and create a print inspired by the objects you can see in our new ‘Extinct or Survival?’ exhibition which opened on Friday 21st October.

 

Discover more about the Solar System, speak to experts and see objects from space, on Tuesday 25th October with students and colleagues from the University of Manchester at the ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Solar System’ event.

 

 

On Thursday 27th October we will be joined by Stanley Grove’s Creative Crew who will be encouraging our family visitors to join in with their Big Draw project and create paper moths to share or keep and treasure.

 

Don’t miss our ‘Science Spectacular’ event on Saturday 29th October for a fun filled day of science challenges, live experiments, and interactive demonstrations and much, much more.

I Spy Nature at Manchester Museum

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During the summer holidays we were able to run an additional programme for under 5’s and their families (alongside our core family programme) with funding from The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust . This allowed us to offer FREE  drop–in activities and  small group bookable activities both inside the Museum and outside on The Museum Allotment.

We had already raised this funding for the development of a Nature Discovery garden, to sit alongside our Nature Discovery gallery. This will now be developed as part of our major capital redevelopment at the museum over the next few years, during which time we will have a new South Asia gallery and a new temporary exhibition gallery.

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We worked in partnership with Hulme Community Garden Centre, RSPB, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Groundwork, Barrow-in-Furness Owl Sanctuary, 24/7 Theatre Company and De Capo Duo to pilot new practice which will inform future developments at the Museum. This…

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A Placement Hello

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Me saying hello to Stan the T-Rex

Hello, my name is Luke and I’ve just started my placement year with the Learning Team at the Museum. When I am not on my placement year I study Animal Behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University, which believe me is more than watching cat videos. Having just finished my second year I thought it would be a great time to go on placement and get experience in the real world.

I have been really looking forward to starting this placement and now that I am here, I haven’t been  disappointed. So I thought I would share with you my top 3 favourite things about the Museum from my first week of working here.

The fact that I’ve learnt a lot about ancient Egypt has been great. This is from being an extra pair of hands during the Egyptian Worlds primary school session, which was on the second day of term! I wish my school did field trips that early after school started. I was especially jealous of the children as I never got to study ancient Egypt at school, let alone go to a museum and have a private lesson on it! It was obivious from how much the children enjoyed it that I clearly missed out of something.

The Vivarium has to be my favourite place in the Museum so far, as it is home to the Museum’s live animals! I will say I spent too much time in there on my first day just looking at all the different animals. My personal favourite (at the moment) is the Golden poison dart frog, as they are so beautiful but also so dangerous.

Lastly my third favourite thing about the Museum is that I get to work in a place full of passionate people and I get to help to educate and inspire people who are younger then me to take up science and history and discover all the amazing things that both science and history have to offer.

That is all I can fit in to one blog post, but this won’t be the last you will hear from me as I am at the Museum for the next 9 months. So don’t worry you will get an update on how I am getting on throughout the year.

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The baby sperm whale wishing me luck

 

Creating a School-Museum Comic

During the end of the Summer Term we were delighted to work with Cedar Mount Academy on a HEFCE National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) Funded project. This funding allowed us to engage with a new, external partner to work with. We decided to embed the project within the Literacy framework by teaching pupils about story structure so we approached The Society of Authors Children and Illustrators Group who were able to recommend one of their amazing Writers and Illustrators: Shoo Rayner.

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Shoo Rayner sharing a story with Cedar Mount pupils

Shoo has written and illustrated hundreds of children’s books and when we told him that we wanted to create a collaborative pupil-led comic  strip he was more than up for the challenge. With Shoo on board we then organised a planning day with Cedar Mount Academy’s tutors to decide on how best to prepare the chosen pupils for their task.

It was important for us to try and find a technique of sharing the basics of story structure across multiple levels, as we wanted to involve a cross section of pupils from the whole of Year 7. This is because one of our legacy aims is to create a teacher resource to demonstrate how this approach could be utilised in the classroom, using museum collections as a prompt.

With 20 pupils identified we spent a day planning an action-packed visit to the Museum that would see them learn about story structure (using Romeo & Juliet and Harry Potter as examples), explore the collection, choose potential characters for their stories and, finally, work closely with Shoo to produce two short comic strip stories that he could then illustrate over the summer.

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Cedar Mount Academy pupils with Stan the T-Rex

The pupils visited the Museum on Friday 8th July and had a lot of fun coming up with a whole series of fantastic ideas for what our Museum specimens could get up to! To say they only spent four hours with us they were brilliantly creative and having Shoo facilitate their ideas in preparation to illustrate them was a great motivator. As a thank you for all their hard work each pupil was gifted a book to read over the summer to encourage them to read outside of school.

The final illustrated stories will be printed up and create a pocket-sized comic that we hope to share with other school children that visit the Museum in 2016. In September we’ll also be asking the pupils about the stories in the books they were gifted in the hopes that learning about story structure has given them a means to summarise stories and potentially given them a scaffold to create their own stories too.

Watch this space for our reveal of the final comic book!
In the meantime, have a look at this video from Shoo’s YouTube page to hear more about the project and see one of the stories he’s been working on…

 

The Inflatable Museum pops up in Manchester Cathedral for Tiny Science

Earlier this week the Inflatable Museum popped up in Manchester Cathedral for Tiny Science, a citywide festival specifically designed to help young children get involved in Manchester’s European City of Science celebrations.

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One of the joys of working with the Inflatable Museum is seeing it spring up in so many weird and wonderful locations, and the Cathedral provided a stunning environment to set up in for the day. It was so nice to see so many children and families head down to explore and get hands-on with our collection, and it was an amazing start to our I Spy Nature summer activity programme. From our brand new Wildlife Wednesdays, to our much loved Magic Carpet story making sessions, there’s so much to get involved with in the Museum over the next couple of months. Head to our website for more information about everything that’s going on.

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Great Science Share for European City of Science

Posted on behalf of The Great Science Share Team:

ECS16_1200x627_10Great Science Share Takeover

Wednesday 6th July, 18.00 – 20.00 at the Museum of Science and Industry

Young people from secondary schools and colleges are invited to take over the Museum of Science & Industry for a unique evening as part of the Great Science Share. Students will host a science stall and share their STEM activities and experiments to the whole city in an inspirational environment. If you would like your school to be a part of this, please register here to express your interest in hosting a stall and see full details of how to apply.

Your students can be as imaginative and creative as they like with their activities for the Great Science Share. They may want to showcase exciting experiments, a project or competition entry they’ve been working on in school or some new technology they have created.

Closing date for applications is extended to the 30th June.

If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch info@manchestersciencecity.com.

With best wishes

The Great Science Share Team

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