Museums give children experiences above and beyond the everyday which is why a group of Year 7 pupils, members of the thriving Science Club at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe, recently visited the Manchester Museum. They were able to explore the Museum’s outstanding natural history collection and see a wide array of archaeology, anthropology and natural history exhibits. The museum activities followed the theme of ‘Open door, explore’. Initially the students were able to explore the themes and ideas presented in the Living Worlds Gallery, while relating it to their own experiences and knowledge. They then created their own unique tour of the atmospheric Living Worlds Gallery. This allowed them to focus on the themes addressed in the gallery and make their own connections and opinions based on the display. They then presented them to the class.
The pupils then moved to the Living Cultures Gallery where they activity used observational enquiry skills to identify and record religious artifacts from around the world. This gallery explores the anthropological material culture from around the world. The collection is mainly from areas outside Europe. The next stop was the Fossils Gallery where the pupils carried out a ‘Fossils Gallery Trail’ and a ‘Create a Pre-historic monster’ task. Observational drawing was used as a means to explore the gallery specimens. This simple technique involved the collaborative effort of every student to design a number of animal-based ‘characters’ for them to create a series of stories in order to encourage creative thinking.
Mrs Karen Grix from Saint Paul’s said: “Taking pupils to a museum instantly changes the dynamics of the usual learning environment and enabled us to reach and engage with pupils in new and different ways. As the pupils are in a different setting, there is a greater sense of adventure and freedom to explore.” “Visits such as this give children a new perspective and understanding of their own potential to learn and discover, making them more motivated when they get back to school.”
“Good school trips stay with you for a long time so this visit followed the ethos of the Science Club that science should be entertaining as well as being educational,” explained Mr Nick White, Science teacher. “We hope that the visit to the museum will expand their minds and imagination even further!”
“Experiences such as this enrich and build upon classroom teaching and learning, they provide many positive and lasting benefits,” said Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “This was an enjoyable day for our pupils and enabled them to expand their understanding of the historic and natural world. The pupils were able to see a huge variety of exhibits from dinosaurs to mummies and live animals from every continent”.
More photos can be found in the gallery section of the website.