Exhibition title: The Galileo Trust Museum
Schools: St Peter’s C of E Primary, Brotton, Westgarth Primary, Greengates Primary, New Marske Primary, Wheatlands Primary, Coatham C of E Primary, Galley Hill Primary.
Year Groups: Children from Year 2 to Year 6 were involved.
Topics/themes: A wide range including: World War II; Australia; Egyptians; Mayans; Vikings; Queen Elizabeth II / Jubilee. When was the best time to be a Londoner?
Curriculum areas covered: PSHE, History, Geography, Design & Technology, Art, English, Maths, Computing, Music.
What we did to create our exhibition: as a Trust
As a History Network, we were asked by the Trust to work collaboratively on some type of project. MIYC seemed the perfect opportunity to share children’s knowledge and support subject leads to have the confidence to either deliver or support other colleagues to hold a MIYC in their own schools. As a network, we held several meetings to think about how this would work and to share ideas. Seven out of the ten trust schools decided to take part. Each school had autonomy in deciding their topic and the year group/s to be involved. Learning staff from Kirkleatham Museum and the Ironstone Mining Museum (Land of Iron) met with us to offer support and to direct teachers to the ‘Toolkit’ for ideas. Once schools had decided on taking part, we agreed a date and location. From this time, communication was done mainly through email, with the History Lead and museum supporting where necessary. St Peter’s Sports Hall was prepared the night before and teachers from the other schools came to set up. We arranged coaches to pick the children up from each school, with funding support from Tees Valley Museums. Parent sessions were organised, giving all the opportunity to visit. We used school minibus to pick up and drop off some parents who otherwise would not have had been able to attend due to lack of transport.
What we did to create our exhibition: as teachers
Some of the History Leads decided that it would be their own class/ group of children who would be involved. Others decided for another teacher/ class to be involved. As the museum had been planned for some time, teachers knew that the summer term topic would be the focus of their museum. They were able to plan their teaching carefully, integrating creating things for the museum into classroom work. Some schools had the opportunity prior to the exhibition to visit a museum or hold a theme day, which helped massively with ideas and focusing the children on what a museum should look like and the importance of incorporating interactive activities for the visitors. Teachers supported the children to think about how they could showcase their learning in creative ways and gave them the time and resources to design and make their ideas, ensuring they were heavily involved in the planning of the exhibition. Teachers also involved as many children as possible with most schools bringing a different group of children each day.
Our exhibition included:
- Quizzes: A Royal Family Quiz, The Plaque quiz and an Egyptian quiz on an iPad
- Games: Guess the correct rationing amounts Then & Now – food from 1950s and 2022, Order the Kings and Queens, Viking games, Australia jigsaw
- Things to do: Play a digeridoo, Locate Australia on the globe
- Children’s writing: Write a letter home as an evacuee, Make an evacuee label, Mayan facts/ artefacts, Read about ‘The Plague’, Viking Gods information and a wonderful green screen version of ‘letters from evacuees’
- Models and art work: A display of Royal Portraits, a model street- Fire of London, models of James Cook’s ship and Viking shields
We even had a museum cafe!
How our students benefited from taking this approach
Visiting children were excited to come to a different school and this alone had a positive impact on their desire to be part of the museum. As the children had ownership of their learning and the museum ‘belonged to them’, their enthusiasm to share their understanding of the topics was evident across both days. They used the resources and displays to explain, in unbelievable detail, the knowledge they had gained. The confidence of the children shone through as they chatted to parents, teachers, governors and visiting children. Despite the mix of age and backgrounds of the children, they could articulate their learning with confidence, using key vocabulary and demonstrating a real sense of pride. Several staff and governors especially commented on this. Teachers also noted that some of the quieter children had ‘come out of their shells’ and were enthusiastic to relay their learning to others. The children were able to enjoy some free time with children from other schools and also visited each other’s exhibitions, developing their social skills and learning about other aspects of history. It is without doubt, that the children had a deep understanding of the topics and had embedded knowledge which they will take forward with them in future learning.
How we used the toolkit
The MiyC toolkit was great for supporting teachers who hadn’t previously taken part in a museum, to see what it could look like. We used it to find:
- How other schools had displayed their exhibitions
- Ideas for activities (which could be adapted for chosen topic)
- Support available from museums
- Teachers’ viewpoints
- Scope for cross curricular learning
- Planning checklist
Top tips for other teachers (or multi-academy trusts)
- Arrange the timing of the museum towards the end of a topic
- Think ahead when teaching the topic and think about how some of the work/ activities can be used in the museum
- Make it interactive
- Guide the children to be independent learners
- Give children the time and freedom to work together to share their ideas and make their resources- you will need to go ‘off timetable’
- Any year group can be part of a Museum in the Classroom
- Visit a museum prior to your exhibition
- Invite parents, governors, teachers and other children