Volunteer Anna Birt takes us on a whistle-stop tour of learning at The National Waterways Museum, Gloucester.
School children in and around Gloucester are visiting the newly refurbished National Waterways Museum and discovering more about their local history in a new and exciting way. This autumn term, school groups have arrived at the museum to embark on an organised day of events designed to educate and entertain. On their arrival, the Explorers team welcome the children and their teachers and show them where to leave their bags in our secure, dedicated learning area before we take them on a tour outside the enormous warehouse. It is there where we show them how the docks operated in the last century; a thriving, dynamic industry - a far cry from what children witness today. The unusual pieces of machinery, used for hauling cargo or dredging the bottom of the canal, provide a fascinating talking point for children as we discuss the engineering of the time.
Back inside, a science experiment with the children demonstrates how things float using terminology appropriate to their age group. Next, is probably the highlight of the outing - a boat trip along the canal! Children get to see a different aspect of Gloucester from the comfort of the covered boat as they enjoy their pack lunch.
The remainder of the afternoon provides the school group with some free-time to explore the museum; taking part in the various learning activities and looking at original items belonging to the canal people who once lived a very different way of life than we do today.
The Explorers Education team are also able to provide learning sessions for after-school groups such as Brownies, Cubs, Scouts and Rainbows where there is the opportunity for these young adventurers to gain a new badge to add to their collection.
The education team of the Trust has two main learning programmes: ‘Explorers’ and ‘STEM’. ‘Explorers’ is aimed at key stage 2 and provides free, curriculum linked learning resources for teachers and offers a range of outreach sessions to inspire children about our waterways. ‘Canal & River Trust – STEM’ has been developed with support from Rolls-Royce and is targeted at key stage 3. It aims to showcase the STEM learning opportunities along our waterways, and offers free outreach sessions to secondary schools cross England and Wales. Both programmes are delivered with the support of our fantastic education volunteers, who help bring the stories of our waterways to life.
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