Normanby Hall WW1 Secondary School History project

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Students perform a scene for their short film

We have just completed another successful history workshop working with local secondary schools.

The three-day workshop is based at Normanby Hall and focuses on its role in WW1 as a recuperation hospital for injured troops.

During the workshop the students are taught how to use on-line resources to research the personal and military records of soldiers who were patients at the Hall.

Each school is allocated a soldier to research and creates a presentation summerising what they have discovered. They then use their research along with real and replica objects to create a short film.

Their research is helping the Museum Service to build a more detailed picture of the different soldiers who stayed at the Hall. It is giving the students the opportunity to develop important skills for their future studies.

Bev Oliver, Learning Officer

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New Learning Garden at Normanby

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We have been working to build a new garden for all our learning activities at Normanby. After many months of hard work, it is ready just in time for this beautiful weather!

The new space is designed for groups to learn about gardening through hands on activities, conducting scientific experiments and making observations.

We have developed a new garden workshop  called “Science in the Garden”. It is suitable for KS1 and 2 children. This workshop encourages children to explore the gardens and discover the Normanby Park potting shed. Then conduct scientific experiments to learn about soil, growing conditions and plants. Record observations and use the evidence to present findings to the group. Children will use gardening tools in this hands-on practical workshop.

We will also offer bespoke sessions for groups of older children or adults.  There is lots of evidence that suggests gardening is beneficial to our wellbeing. See our ‘about’ page for contact details to book.

The plants are ready to go in, the new garden is ready now. There is a potting shed, raised beds, poly tunnels and a greenhouse to work in. Your group will also get to do some gardening inside the walled garden and tropical greenhouse.

Rachel Holmes, Learning Officer

Woodland Adventure Learning

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North Lincolnshire Museum Service has branched out this Spring to offer a Forest School themed educational programme to schools, groups and corporate teams.

Forest School is a unique educational experience that offers children the opportunity to develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment. Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers.

Our trained Level 3 Forest School Leader and Learning Officer, Jennifer Wakefield has been putting together an exciting new programme to encourage children to engage with the woodland at Normanby through a variety of workshops themed around the National Curriculum.

Children will have the opportunity to work with tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation whilst developing an understanding of the natural world.

The sessions provided to schools will also be offered to groups and corporate teams wishing to participate in team building activities.

Woodland Adventure Learning is being piloted with 3 schools in February and is set to be offered fully to schools etc. week beginning 14th March. Please contact us for further information.

Jennifer Wakefield, Learning OfficerIMG_5410

Autumn pond-dipping

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This month saw our last school visit for Pond Dipping at Normanby Hall Country Park. With the recent mixed weather we wondered what, if anything, they would find in the lake.The children were excited to find:

· Diving beetles

· Mayfly larvae

· Blood worms

· Freshwater shrimps

· Water fleas (Daphnia)

· Lesser water boatmen

· Flat worms

· A water hog louse

· A large water scorpion

One group were lucky enough to see two herons fly gracefully over the lake in search of some tasty fish for their lunch. All the groups managed to see the fallow, red and albino deer at close quarters.

A successful end to the season for the lake before the pond life hibernates for the winter.

Lisa Howarth, Learning Manager

New Curriculum feedback from teachers

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We had a very successful history coordinators meeting at North Lincolnshire Museum this week. Nine teachers attended the session. We think both the teachers and Museum staff found the meeting very useful.  The teachers updated each other on how they were coping with the new history curriculum changes. One of the main concerns was about Ofsted and showing progression in history lessons. Many schools are topic based so were concerned that it wasn’t always easy to pull out the history from the topic if required. Others were still unsure of the most effective methods to show progression. A few examples were shared including assessment statements with columns to tick for beginning, developing and embedded.

The teachers also gave feedback on Museum workshops that have been developed in line with the new curriculum. The feedback for the ‘Anglo Saxon Lost Kingdom’ workshop was really positive. The teachers liked the new high quality resources including the vellum and dagger.

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The ‘Lindsey goes Beserk’ workshop explores the Anglo Saxon and Viking struggle. Teachers thought the high quality dressing up was a real selling point as they would not be able to source such items themselves. The local history workshop ‘Scunthorpe Town in the Making’ is still being developed so the teachers had a chance to really influence the final product. They came up with some fantastic ideas that the Museum can use to enhance the workshop further.

The next history coordinators meeting is set for Monday 18 May 2015, 2pm or 4pm at Normanby Hall Country Park.

Lisa Howarth, Learning Manager

Thinking about Spring

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Now that we are in to the new year,  it is a good time to start thinking about spring and summer school visits.

Normanby Hall Country Park is the ideal location for science and georgraphy based workshops. We offer a wide range of hands-on workshops for Foundation through to Key Stage Two.

We are currently working on two new workshops to be launched in the spring.

Science in the Garden

Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

An area of Normanby Park will be set aside for classes of children to conduct many interesting scientific experiments to learn about soil, growing conditions and plants. The children will record their observations and use the evidence to present their findings to the rest of the group. This practical workshop is fully hands on; the children will use many gardening tools and scientific instruments and have great fun while learning.

The workshop differs from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 to reflect the learning objectives in the National Curriculum.

Changing Seasons

Foundation and Key Stage 1

Use the beautiful setting of Normanby Hall Country Park for fun activities and songs to teach the children about the seasonal changes in Britain. Children will gain an understanding about plant life cycles including growth and decay, with this hand on workshop.

We also have a limited number of free workshops on offer at Normanby Hall Country Park.

25 Free Environmental Visits

Free visits are available through the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, managed by Natural England. Enhance your curriculum delivery of science and geography through a combination of guided and self-led activities in the parkland.

Choose one of the following guided sessions.

  • Pond Dipping
  • A Bug’s Life / Habitats
  • Woodland Detectives

We will offer you a choice of self led activities when you book. Due to a high demand, there is a limit of two classes per school. We offer these workshops on a first come first serve basis. Book early to avoid disappointment.

To book email museum@northlincs.gov.uk

Visit www.normanbyhall.co.uk to find out more information about Normanby Hall Country Park

Follow up work from schools

At the end of each workshop we ask the children for feedback on what they have learnt and what they enjoyed the most. This is just a quick indication on what they have gained from the workshop. We also ask the teacher to complete a feedback form on whether the learning outcomes have been met and what we can improve for the future.

However, it is really nice when we receive work completed by the children when they return to school. We are able to see what they remember after their visit and what they have really learned from the experience. It also makes our staff feel really special.

These letters were received from Lincoln Gardens Primary School in Scunthorpe. We visited the year one class in November 2014 with our ‘Toy Story’ workshop. During the KS1 workshop the children were able to have a go at playing with toys from the Tudor period to the modern day. They also looked at what they are made of and how they worked.

Thanks to Lincoln Gardens Primary School for sending such lovely letters. We really like the pictures that you have drawn and the neat handwriting. There were so many fantastic examples, it was hard for us to pick out three to include.

First term of the New National Curriculum

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It is nearly the end of the first term implementing the new Primary National Curriculum. We have been apprehensive over the last year wondering what the impact would be. We have spent the last year supporting our local teachers wherever we could. Both the teachers and ourselves have found it useful to network with each other and talk through some of the issues together. We may not have solved all the issues, but at least sharing concerns can make things a little easier. We meet with our primary history co-ordinators once a term.

The impact on our school programme has been quite varied. We haven’t seen a complete drop in our Victorian based workshops, though these are now mainly booked by KS1. Some schools are using the local history element to continue to study things the children love such as Victorian Laundry, Domestic Staff Required and Living on the Land.

Our archaeology based workshops have proven to be quite popular. We introduced the Mystery of Prehistory workshop at the start of this term. We have had excellent feedback for the workshop with many liking the ‘hands-on’ and ‘investigation’ features. One teacher said they liked ‘the quick pace of the activities, they grabbed the children’s attention’. We have also seen an increase in our Anglo Saxon and Viking workshops. Both of these workshops are being redeveloped at the moment and will be enhanced ready for the new term.

The greatest development this term was the development of outdoor workshops at Normanby Hall Country Park with a literacy or science theme. The Storytelling in the Woodland workshop which was introduced during the spring term has been especially popular in the autumn. This is the first time we have delivered an outdoor session outside of spring/summer and it worked really well. The feedback for the workshop has been fantastic with comments such as ‘The workshop was hands on and allowed the children to share ideas. Children were very excited about story writing due to the workshop’. This workshop really is one that can be booked all year around as the woodland environment changes each season so the inspiration for the story telling changes. We are able to adapt the workshop if the weather is so bad that the workshop has to be brought indoors.

We also developed a new workshop at a request from a local school. This is something that we haven’t done much of before, but realise we must do this more as the new curriculum develops. The Autumn Changes workshop was introduced as a teacher had concerns that her foundation class needed a bit more support with understanding seasonal changes. The ‘hands on’ workshop explores the scientific process of changing seasons looking at what happens to the leaves and animals in the woodland. The workshop uses songs and practical activities to help the children explore the changes in the environment for themselves. We can adapt this workshop for any seasonal changes.

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We will continue to respond to the feedback we receive from our local schools and develop the workshops and services that they require. It has been a tiring but exciting term as both the Museum and Schools work through the new curriculum together.

Autumn inspiration

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Since our storytelling area was launched at Normanby Hall Country Park this summer, we have had some fantastic workshops with schools. The workshop can be  delivered to Foundation and Primary key stage one and two. Each workshop is unique to each school, as it is the children that dictate the content. They use the surroundings and their own emotions and experiences to create their own story and share their story with the rest of the class. The workshop is great for literacy as they use different types of words, communicate with others. We encourage them to collect photos and recordings so they can write down the story back at school. We have had such a wide variety of stories including appearances of gruffalos, spaceships, trolls and fairies.

We have especially enjoyed schools booking sessions at our workshop this autumn. All of our other outdoor workshops rely on the spring and summer season, so it is great to be able to offer schools an experience in autumn. The woodland is such an amazing space to spark imagination and ideas and allow those creative juices to flow. It is even better in autumn when it is dry and cool and the leaves are starting to turn colour. The changing season makes the woodland seem more alive and the perfect setting for a magical story.

Being outdoors is also proven to boost children’s feel-good factors and make them feel better about themselves. As long as they are warm and dry, being outdoors can be a great way to inspire them and get them working in a different way.

To find out more about this workshop or any others that we offer visit

First Prehistory workshop

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We had our first pilot last week of our ‘Mystery of Prehistory’ KS2 workshop. The children really enjoyed themselves and learnt a lot about the changes during the prehistoric period.

The workshop includes object handling of real and replica objects. It also includes an interactive archaeological investigation and a chance to explore the archaeology gallery at the Museum.

The feedback from the teachers was very positive and they enjoyed the range of activities. The fact that the children were able to feel and handle the objects made the learning much more fun.

We are booking up fast for workshops in this autumn term, so please contact us if you would like to book this workshop.