Lovely to meet you!

Campbell and Amy

Amy meeting Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum

My name is Amy and I’m the new Primary Learning Coordinator here at Manchester Museum. I have so far spent two weeks getting to know the building, the collection, the fantastic team here and – mostly importantly – the awesome schools programme! It’s a great time of year to start as we are all gearing up ready for the return of schools in September.

You’ll hear more from me in the coming weeks, but for now I thought I’d share the top 5 things I’ve learnt about Manchester Museum so far …

  • It’s a very smiley place!! Everyone here clearly loves their jobs and is delighted to work in such an inspiring place. Even the frogs seem to grin!

lemur image

  • There’s LOADS going on here – far too much for one blog post! To give you a flavour, in the next year the Learning Team will be consulting with schools on our planned building extension; taking part in activities relating to the UK/India Year of Culture; planning TeachMeets and CPD for teachers … the list goes on!

 

  • Ancient Egypt is REALLY popular! Asru, one of the ancient Egyptian mummies on display in our Ancient Worlds gallery, is the star of our most popular primary school session, ‘Egyptian Worlds’. And rightly so – she gives kids a fascinating insight into a key feature of this amazing civilisation. (However, if any schools out there cover the Indus Valley as their ancient civilisation in KS2 History, instead of Egypt, we would love to hear from you!)
  • This team is pretty good at what it does: the stack of letters we receive from inspired children really shows how memorable museum learning can be, and last year well over 90% of our visiting teachers rated us as having “excellent” quality of delivery. Not bad across 30,000 annual school visitors!

 

  • The Museum is a BIG building with LOTS of stairs – wish me luck in finding my way around!!

That’s all from me for now. If you’d like to get in touch to discuss any aspect of our primary schools programme, please do so on 0161 275 7357 or amy.mcdowall@manchester.ac.uk. I look forward to meeting lots of you soon!

 

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Evolution Solutions: Primary Science CPD event at Manchester Museum

stoatCalling all primary science teachers! 

Evolution and inheritance will be entering the primary science curriculum for the first time in September 2014. Join us for a day of inspiring hands-on activities, talks and ideas for teaching evolution in your classroom. This CPD event aims to:

  • Equip teachers with the skills and knowledge that they will need to teach evolution in the primary classroom with confidence
  • Provide teachers with ideas for hands on activities and resources, both in and beyond the museum
  • Generate a digital resource that compiles the activities included in the Manchester and Oxford CPD events, along with useful resources and links

animalWhen: Thursday 21st November 2013

Where: Manchester Museum

How much: £50 per person, including lunch

Bookings: If you would like to book a place, please email: school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk.

Queries: For enquiries or further details, please contact: Hannah-lee.chalk@manchester.ac.uk / Emily.robinson@manchester.ac.uk

Download the CPD flier (pdf)

New school year – thinking about a trip?

Somewhat unbelievably (at least we think so – the year is flying by!), it’s September and the start of another school year. We’ve been gearing up to the 2013-14 academic year with a refurbishment and refreshment of our school programme from Early Years to Post 16 and a new look to the Learning Pages on Manchester Museuslothm website: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/museum/learning . You’ll still find many of the ever popular sessions like Egyptian Worlds (KS2), Dinosaur Detectives (KS2), Forensic Science: A Bog Body Mystery (KS3/4 Science) and Citizen of the City (KS3 Citizenship) but also a few new ones and some like Dinosaur Challenge for KS1 pupils that are coming soon.

Do take a look and let us know what you think. If you are starting your planning for the year ahead then take a look at the website and see what takes your fancy for you and your class. If you need more information on anything then either email us at school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk or give us a call on 0161 275 2630 – we start taking bookings on 5th September.

We’re really looking forward to a jam packed year of school visits (there’s nothing we like more) and to seeing many of you and your classes in the Museum. That’s the programme spruced up – now just the office to go!

New Adventures for our Science Co-ordinator Alexa!

Good Bye and Good Luck  Alexa!We’re very sad happy to report that our Secondary and Post-16 Science Co-ordinator, Alexa Jeanes, will be leaving us for exciting new adventures in the New Year.  She started working at the Museum over five years ago when she was delivering on our Real World Science programme as a PhD demonstrator. Then, in June 2009, she became our Secondary and Post-16 co-ordinator and the rest is, as they say, history!

Since she’s been at the Museum she’s developed so many popular, fun and educational experiences that thousands of students across Manchester (and beyond) have participated in: from examining colour throughout the natural world in Nature’s Palette, to debating on stem cell research in The Hard Cell Study Day.

She’s been such a great work colleague and all of us at the Museum are sad that she is leaving the team because she contributes so much. We have no doubt that our Science contacts – teachers, academics and students alike – will also miss her and wish her well on her next adventure: which starts with a trip to Central and South America!

Here’s what Alexa had to say about her time here:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working at the Manchester Museum over the past 5 (!) years and have seen it develop and change in many ways.  It has been such fun to translate my passion for science into workshops for students and show them how interesting and fun science can be.  It is always special to work in an amazing environment such as this and with such incredible objects.  The thrill of holding a fossil that is 300 milion years old or seeing a beautiful insect never changes. It has also been a pleasure working with enthusuiatic and knowlegable academics from the Univesity of Manchester and the Museum and bringing their fascinating research and collections to life. I will miss everyone I have worked with over the years, my colleagues, teachers and students and thank you for making my time at Manchester Museum so enjoyable!”

Ancient Worlds Teacher Preview

With the opening of our new Ancient World Galleries the Museum’s Learning Team are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Teacher Preview event to introduce teacher’s to our brand new galleries and associated learning programmes across the Key Stages.

This event will take place on Wednesday 14th November between 4.30 and 6.30pm. There will be a short introduction by our Learning Manager, followed by optional tours of the gallery spaces with our Curators. In addition our entire team will be present, allowing teachers to ask questions, learn about our new sessions and even register their interest in booking workshops on offer.

View_our_invitation

Our temporary exhibition, Breed:The British and their Dogs, will also be open and our Resources and Secondary workshop for this gallery will also be on show.

To book your space on the Preview Event email our bookings co-ordinator on school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk or call 0161 3052630.

Ancient Worlds and Current Programmes

Most of my time this month has been spent on reviewing our Secondary workshops in order to make the most of our upcoming Ancient Worlds development and the fantastic opportunities for Key Stage Three and Four students to engage with the collection here.  Topics to explore include Archaeology, Empire and Identity with the chance to develop student’s interpretation and enquiry skills as well as utilising critical thinking whilst investigating objects as direct evidence of the past.

The new galleries are going to give visitors a great overview of Archaeology and the contributions that our diverse collection of objects can make to our understanding of the past, in addition to analysing the different techniques used to explore this past. We’ve also got a spotlight on ancient Egypt as an Empire with a focus on examining the daily lives of specific individuals such as pyramid builders and will even include Asru, our temple priestess. There will be a very different approach to interpreting Egypt presented in this gallery, with the museum exploring how the ancient Egyptians themselves viewed their country and also how Egypt is an African civilisation influenced by surrounding cultures. The final gallery, upstairs, will be possibly the most visually stunning and potentially the most likely to adapt over the coming years: visible storage areas will be created, current research will be presented and themes will be explored in addition to object biographies to make sense of various parts of  the collection.

To follow the progress, or find out more, check out the Ancient Worlds blog for more details.

Right now, having worked through some of the workshops and identified the potential links for the Secondary sessions, I’m really excited about the possibilities and opportunities the Ancient Worlds galleries will present for students and their teachers. The galleries will, in conjuction with the other permenant exhibitions here at the Museum, engage students with their curriculum subjects and hopefully provide them with a memorable experience to help them learn about the past, the present and even influence their own future.

Early Years programmes

We are in the process of updating the early years page on our website and thought it would be useful to highlight our current programmes led by museum staff …

Sessions for Nursery and Reception
For up to 15 children (90 minutes)
£3.50 per child (minimum charge £50)

Animal Explorers – Polar Bear Polar Bear (New)

Polar Bear has a problem, some of his animal and bird friends have gone missing! Can you help him to find them? Come and explore our Living Worlds, bird gallery and vivarium as you embark on this exciting mission to find his missing friends.
At the end of the session there is an opportunity to meet one of our live animals from the vivarium!
You might be interested in looking at our Frog Blog

Dinosaur Explorers
Say hello to Stan the T.rex and become dinosaur hunters whilst following the footprints around the Fossils gallery. What will you uncover on our dinosaur dig?

Unearthed! Big Dig
Join us to explore the Unearthed : Ancient Egypt exhibition to find treasures of the Egyptian world! What exciting things will you discover?

For details of how to book, have a look at our early years page and information for teachers.
We are also able to book self programmed visits and offer resources for teachers.
To make a booking please ring our booking line on 0161 275 2630

Alan Turing and Life’s Enigma Exhibition

Our latest exhibition ‘Alan Turing and Life’s Enigma’ opened at the end of March.   The exhibition coincides with 2012 Turing Centenary Year, celebrating 100 years since Turings birth. Alan Turing is known to most people as a mathematician and pioneer of computing, as well as being a significant part in the solving of the Enigma code at Bletchley Park during WW2.  However the main focus of this exhibition is his work relating to biology, specifically to his fascination of how pattern, shape and form appear in nature, in a process known as morphogenesis.  In 1952, Turing published this work in a paper (The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis) describing a model showing how these patterns could develop from the interactions of two chemicals. The new exhibition combines material used by Turing during his research time in Manchester with objects from the Museum’s extensive natural science collection.  The exhibition is in our 3rd floor exhibition space and runs until 18 November 2012.

As with all our exhibitions, we are developing a learning offer to allow students to explore further the ideas in the display.  Due to the high level content, we are planning a KS4 workshop and a series of Turing related A-Level Study Days, during the summer and autumn term.  Initial details of the workshops are below:

Maths/Science Turing workshop for KS4 – 2 hours, £75

This hands- on, interactive workshop will allow students to explore the scientific contribution of Alan Turings work.  Students will investigate how codes were used in early computing, the numerical patterns found in nature, and how it links to the Fibonacci sequence.  Though facilitated  learning on the new ‘Alan Turing and Life’s Enigma’ exhibition and getting up close to the museums collection, this session shows applications of maths to the natural world and cleverly links both science and maths curriculum.

Turing A-Level Study day, part of Engage with the Experts series (Full day) £150

Through a series of talks by University of Manchester Academics, hands – on activities and debates, your students will discover how their A-Level studies relates the last work of the famous scientist Alan Turing.  They will find out more about embryonic development, morphogenesis and pattern formation in living things and the Maths behind ‘Patterns in Nature’. 

We will be offering a few sessions free of charge during the trial phase (May/June/July), so if you are interested in this offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can get involved with your own Turing experiment, by growing a Turing Sunflower

Summer progress

The summer break is officially here and well underway. As a learning team we are concentrating on redeveloping some of our programme to ensure teachers and students get the best possible experience during their visit here at the Museum next year. This new look programme will be launched in September 2011. 

Creative Work in progress for the Museum's Learning Team

It will contain updated and improved versions of existing popular workshops as well as some new additions – not least an exciting Primary session to accompany our new Egypt exhibition: Unearthed during the redevelopment of our Egypt and Archeaology galleries.

The programme will take the best features of our sessions, such as object based enquiry skills, practical science investigation, hands-on exploration of history and the use of our amazing collection in an innovative and exciting way to ensure that students continue to be engaged and inspired by their visit to The Manchester Museum. 

Keep up to date with these changes by checking back periodically: as we will be updating the blog with our ideas, progress and upcoming offer over the course of the summer. We can’t wait for the new term ro start!

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!