From Yr 6 to Yr 7 at the Museum

On Friday 7th June we were lucky enough to have Cheadle Hulme High School visit us with a group of their forthcoming Year 7 students for September. These current Year 6 pupils were just a selection of the cohort from the Primary Feeder schools for Cheadle Hulme High School, who visited a number of Manchester venues as part of the day.

As part of their visit to the Museum the pupils spent the morning creating masks inspired by our Living Cultures collection and competing for prizes in our fast-paced Money Game.

Then, after lunch, they took part in our very popular ArteFACT session, creating their own mini-displays with a story that linked their objects together using their creative thinking and team-working skills.

We’ve got a couple more Enrichment Days coming up before the end of term – and hopefully they’ll all be as fun and interactive as the one future Cheadle Hulme students enjoyed!

Thank you to those who took part: we hope to see you back in the Museum over the summer and hopefully as part of future school trips.

Have a look at their fantastic efforts from ArteFACT  in the images below.




Poll results

Results of the poll that I posted last month are below. As you can see, they are rather inconclusive (interesting nonetheless!).

why take a class to visit a museum

Note: The following responses were entered as ‘other’:

  • Inspiring staff, chance to share experiences and stories, bringing subject matter to the real world/ life connections, gaining empathy, enquiry and new experiences, creativity, museums aim to be fun, welcoming and enjoyed by all
  • To show them that the museum can be for them, and have something to offer them.
  • A comment that I’ve had from teachers is about relative sizes of things. e.g. how a sparrow is smaller than a crow – not obvious from watching a film or even from observing live birds as they move about & are at a distance.
  • It’s a good way to build relationships with students in a different environment.
  • Bringing the past to life – cliché but true. A shop with items from 50p upwards. What they choose might make them think about a return family visit.
  • Artefacts visually bring to life the learning & can introduce/ demonstrate so much more than a terms worth of lessons (I’m specifically thinking of Ancient Egypt & the British Museum).
  • Knowledge that the teachers don’t have or can obtain easily.
  • I work in an area of high unemployment and the chances of our children visiting a real museum without us taking them are quite slim so sometimes we try to find one that compliments our learning.
  • I take students to the museum which reflect aspects of our specification at A level. – Dinosaurs/strat/local geology etc. Also primary children for the wow factor
  • Handling real objects. Learning in a way that cannot be achieved in the classroom.

However, and as the responses to the ‘What is your role?’ question illustrate, only 7 teachers participated in the poll.

What is your role

This is not surprising, particularly considering my rather unscientific approach and the limited period over which the poll was open! I do intend to recirculate this poll again (or some version thereof) but I would really appreciate any suggestions regarding the matter of targeting teachers.

Intrepid school restore Dino Egg to Museum

Recently Boothstown Methodist Primary school came to the Museum on a visit and brought with them a very valuable find!

Kayleigh with the safely rescued Dinosaur Egg

Kayleigh with the safely rescued Dinosaur Egg

They presented to us a T.rex egg, over 65 million years old, that was originally from the USA. According to the pupils the egg had mysteriously dropped from the sky and landed in their classroom.

However, using their skills of deduction they were able to reason that the egg had most likely fallen from an overhead plane on its way to Manchester so that it could be safely deposited in our collection.

Therefore, they kept it safe and returned it to us in perfect condition. Our thanks goes out to the school for rescuing this very important find and delivering it to our door!

Primary Students Dig their way to Success!

Oswald Rd Arch pilot 010These past few weeks we have been really excited at the museum to begin the pilot sessions for our new Archaeology primary school session, ‘Dig Stories; Bringing the Past to Life’

This session explores the hands on practical skills of what it’s like being an archaeologist by way of a sand box dig, unearthing real objects!

The group then identifies their finds and graduates to handling real objects from our collection and debating methods of conservation.

At the end of the session children create their own ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ filled with objects they choose themselves for a particular theme of cabinet.

Oswald Rd Arch pilot 012We have been really impressed by the groups that have tasted this session so far, they have all passed their archaeological training and we can’t wait to see them in the future as experts of archaeology themselves!

If you are interested in booking a school group on to our new Archaeology session, ‘Dig Stories; Bringing the Past to Life’  please don’t hesitate to contact

Students have their say about our Workshops

Here at the Manchester Museum we are always looking to develop and improve our practice and part of this includes asking students that visit what THEY think of any workshops they have participated in.

In November we had a two week hot-spot for evaluation where we asked for student feedback on any sessions that took place during that time. Within the Humanities and Arts programme we had a number of different workshops take place – ArteFACT, Patterns in Nature and our brand NEW session Empire Explained.

Here’s  a snapshot of what particpating students had to say about their experiences at the Museum:

ArteFACT session – Trinity High School, Year 7 pupils

When they were asked which part of the session they enjoyed the most, their responses were:

“I enjoyed writing labels for each of the objects”

I enjoyed classifying the objects because it was fun”

I enjoyed seeing interesting things and working together as a team”

I enjoyed labelling the objects and creating a history for it!”

When they were asked what they would tell friends and family about their expeience at the Museum they said:

“How to organise a part of a museum and how to investigate what an object is by looking at it”

“I would tell my family that I enjoyed the trip and I got a chance to enhance my knowledge in History”

“I really enjoyed looking at the different items and artefacts about history. I will be telling loads fo people about this memorable experience at the Manchester Museum”

Patterns in Nature Session – Sidall Moor Sports College, Yr 10 students

For this art session in observation drawing students were asked what they would take away from the workshop. Here are some of their quick-fire responses:

“Don’t use lines as much”

“Use different pens, pencils and other things like that differently”

“Using different types of shade”

“You can use tone instead of line”

Empire Explained – Trial Sessions with Yr 7, Newall Green High School students and the Home Educators Network

Here are some things that the groups said they learned about Egyptian, Roman and British Empire:

They all had armies and military awards

The Empire increased trade opportunities

They had different titles for their ruler – Pharaoh, Emperor and King/Queen

They all became expensive to defend and relied upon different technologies to expand

Things they said they really liked about the workshop included:

– The use of I-pads

– Interaction with objects

– Lots of different activites

– Comparison of the empires

Overall we collected a huge range of evaluative material that allows us a glimpse into understanding what it is that students get from participating in a museum session as part of their education. We’ll be examining all of our material over the coming weeks and have planned in more hotspots weeks over the year so that we can ensure that all students attending our workshops get a quality, educational and fun visit.

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

Enriching Experiences

On Monday 26th March The Manchester Museum hosted a fun-tastic Enrichment day for Kearsley Academy students. These days are intended to challenge students, build on their skills and intoduce them to the fascinating  topics and possibilities that cultural instituions like The Manchester Museum can offer.

As part of their Enrichment Day experience Key Stage 3 and 4 students took part in a carousel of workshops that included:

  • Minerals and Me – An interactive activity investigating our use of minerals in everyday life.
  • Living Worlds Performance – In partnership with the University of Manchester. Interact with a Theatre Studies student as she presents a short piece on our relationship to nature.
  • Money Game – A fast-paced game in which teams race against the clock to discover facts about currency.
  • Creative Thinking –  Create masks for significant events like the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee, using our Living Cultures Gallery as inspiration.

The day started at 10am and time sped by to the conclusion at 2.30pm. Students and teachers alike enjoyed the day, and we received some excellent feedback:

“It was a fun and educational day out with school!” – Student

“I enjoyed the visit. I learnt a lot of different information which I did not know and there were a lot of fascinating things to look at” – Student

“I like museums now and think they are interesting” – Student

“I now don’t think that history or modern facts are boring” – Student

“Throughout the Day the Educational package was great and the amount of time allocated each workshop was enough to keep the pupils on task” – Teacher

We’ll be offering more Enrichment Days throughout the Summer Term, so keep up to date with our offer through the website.

We would like to thank the following Schools for visiting The Manchester Museum between 8th & 12th November 2010

Abbey Hey Primary, Gorton

Image, The entrance to The Manchester Museum

Birchfields Primary, Manchester

Feniscowlers Primary, Blackburn

Heybrook Primary

Manchester College

Martenscroft Children’s Centre

Matthew Moss High, Rochdale

Mid Cheshire College, Northwich

Old Moat Primary, Withington

Partington Primary

Salford College

St John Ossley Primary, Crewe

St Kentigerns Primary, Fallowfield

St Lukes CE Primary, Longsight

St Luke’s Primary, Bury

St Luke’s Primary, Warrington

St Margaret’s Church of England High School

Stretford High School

Tarvin School

Victoria Park Junior, Stretford

Wellfield Junior, Sale

We thank the following Schools for visiting Manchester Museum between 12th and 22nd July

Wistaston Primary in Crewe

South Walney Junior in Barrow in Furness

Miles Platting Childrens Centre in Manchester

St Edwards RC Primary in Oldham

Minsterley Primary in Shropshire

St Georges Primary in New Mills

Wennington Hall in Lancs

St Edmonds RC School in Little Houlton

Our Ladies RC Primary in Stockport

St Mary Magdalene in Burnley

Lancaster High in Lancs

Ravenfield Primary in Dukinfield

Moston Childrens Centre in Manchester

Clifton Primary in Lytham St Annes

Milnrow Parish Primary in Rochdale

Altrincham College of Art

Barnoldswick Primary in Lancs

Middleton Parish Primary in Middleton

Bradwell CP School in Newcastle under Lyne Staffs

Brabyns Prep School in Marple

St Teresa’s Primary in Stretford

We thank the following schools for visiting The Manchester Museum between 5th July & 9th July 2010

Image, The entrance to The Manchester Museum

Baines End Primary

Greenhills Pre-School

Harphur Mount Primary

Hollin Primary

Holy Rosary Primary

International Study Group

Kings School 

Lindon Road Primary

Lady Mount RC Primary

Manchester Academy English School

Mary Hill High

Peak School Lyndhurst Primary

Sacred Heart

Smithills School 

St Christophers Primary

St Margaret Mary Primary

St Patricks Primary

St Wilfrids Primary

St Wilibrods Primary

Walney School

Warrick Road Primary