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: . 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 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!



Tiger shadow puppet made of donkey hide. Made in Hubei province, China, between 1850 and 1950. © The Trustees of the British Museum

As Cat mentioned in her last post, the start of the academic year brings a new and exciting exhibition to The Manchester Museum. CHINA: JOURNEY TO THE EAST, a British Museum Touring Exhibition, opens in the Museum on 25 September 2010. The exhibition will be accompanied by a varied and stimulating learning programme, which ranges from Early Years to Post 16.

On Wednesday 29 September 2010 from 5.30-7.30pm, the Learning Team will be hosting a special after hours event for teachers. This event will offer teachers at all key stages a chance to see the learning opportunities available for your students accompanying the exhibition. You will be able to preview the new exhibition with Curators and members of the Learning Team will be on hand to answer your questions.  Of course, there will also be the all important refreshments!

If you would like to join us at the teacher preview then please RSVP to me by email: or by phone on 0161 275 2631.

I hope we will see lots of you on the 29th September!

New Resources

Image, Rocks Revealed Front page

Hi Everyone,

it’s been a busy time but I’m pleased to be able to report that we have some new additions to our resources for teachers. As mentioned by Neil, the new ‘Myths and Monsters’ literacy-based self-guide resource for KS2 pupils is now ready. In addition to this self-guide resource, we also have a new teacher resource pack for the ‘Rocks Revealed’ Discovery session for those who have booked our KS2 Museum session and a spruced up version of the ‘Dinosaur Detective’ pack.

We also have a new ‘Charles Darwin: evolution of a scientist’ KS4 and 5 self guided resource that highlights important themes and facts to help you explore and make the most of our current ‘Charles Darwin: evolution of a scientist’ exhibition.

All of these resources can be found on the Resources page of our website.

Literacy in the Museum

The Museum environment is such a rich and stimulating one for encouraging discussion and debate, and it can be so much more.

In the Primary programme, we’re very aware that the primary curriculum is increasingly holistic and cross-curricular. We’ve always tried to take that view when developing our workshops, but we’re increasingly recognising how we can support teachers and children with literacy work through their Museum visit.

Working on the Arts and Humanities side of our programme, I’ve always been keen to include opportunities for speaking, listening and responding, group discussion and interaction, and drama within our workshops.

Now we’re exploring further ways to develop not only these skills, but inspiration for writing. For instance, our popular ‘Travellers and Traders‘ session around the Ancient Greek includes some persuasive writing and the TSI: Time Scene Investigation session creates some fantastic inspiration for persuasive and/or balanced argument writing, as well as non-chronological reports.

Image, jug with scene from the 'Odysseus and the Cyclops' story

Image, jug with scene from the 'Odysseus and the Cyclops' story

New additions to the family this year are our newly revamped ‘Tall Tales‘ workshop which now lasts a full day (contact our bookings adminstrator Nora to find out on which Mondays it is available) and which includes opportunities to collect ideas for creating a new myth and uses drama, discussion and elements of Talk for Writing as well as handling and close observation of artefacts.

For those who would like resources to support their own teaching of literacy within the Museum, we have just developed our ‘Myths and Monsters’ resource. This is closely tied to parts of the Primary National Framework relating to myths and legends and aims to support children to collect ideas to create a hero, decide which ancient artefact has been lost by Zeus (giving the impetus for a ‘quest’ type story) and creating a minotaur-style monster from animals in our Mammals gallery. This resource has already gone down really well with teachers who have used it. It is currently in draft form and not yet on our learning resources page, but is available either when you book a ‘Travellers and Traders’ session (as a follow-on piece of work) or by contacting Nora to arrange your own self-guided visit.

As the year continues, we are planning to provide more self-guided resources which will support cross-curricular teaching, but with a very definite literacy element. Watch this space!

Darwin Primary Science

Darwin Extravaganza

Image, Darwin extravaganza

As mentioned by Cat in a previous post, the Museum’s Darwin extravaganza is now in full swing. The new Nature Discovery area is now open, as well as the photographic exhibition ‘In Darwin’s Footsteps’. Our graphic novel style exhibition ‘Charles Darwin: evolution of a scientist’ is also due to open on 3 October 2009 and will run until 30 August 2010.

For the past few weeks, Hannah and I have been busy thinking up what exciting activities we could put together for the Darwin extravaganza and are delighted to be able to offer a package of Darwin related programming for Primary groups.

Darwin Kit

Image, Darwin Explorer Kit

For groups wanting a self-programmed visit we are offering ‘Darwin Explorer Kits’, which give you the opportunity to explore Nature Discovery in depth. The kits contain important scientific equipment such as magnifying glasses and binoculars as well as activity plans that cover topics such as habitats, adaptation and food chains. The activities also encourage children to develop  important explorer skills of close observation and scientific drawing. We are offering 5 groups the opportunity to borrow a Darwin Explorer Kit for free and from then on kits can be borrowed for just £10.  To book a self programming session and borrow a kit please contact Nora on 0161 275 2630 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm).

As well as Darwin Explorer Kits we are also offering a limited number of Darwin Super Learning Days for teachers wanting  to bring large groups for a whole day. These Super Learning Days give pupils the opportunity to explore Darwin’s big ideas through object handling,  tours and creative activities. Only 3 dates are available: Friday 27 November, Friday 4 December and Friday 11 December 2009. Contact Nora on 0161 275 2630 for more information.

Do check out the primary science learning pages on the Museum website for more information on available sessions. We’re really excited about the Darwin extravaganza and what we can offer primary groups – so do get in touch and we look forward to seeing you soon!