Saturday, 10 October 2015

Learning Beyond the Classroom: Oxford Brookes Education Students at the Pitt

During the week 5th-10th October 2015, the Pitt Rivers Museum extended an opportunity to four Oxford Brookes students to come and observe practices and activities within the Museum. Here we hear from those four students: Jack Harford, Katie Bragg, Becca Copas and Kat King.

Brookes Students with objects from Extreme Environments © Pitt Rivers Museum

"We are writing this blog post to share with you the activities and experiences we observed and participated in within the Museum this week. But first, we should probably share some information about ourselves. The four of us are students at Oxford Brookes University and are in the final year of a Primary Education course. The four of us attended this week at the Museum in order to observe and develop our understanding of the exciting and engaging learning opportunities that children (and adults) can experience outside their usual classroom environment. 

"Day 1: We were introduced to Becca McVean, the Primary Education Officer at the Museum.  We then attended an introductory lecture on Anthropology to give us little bit more insight and information about the Museum and the collections within.  Becca met us again to discuss initial perceptions of the Museum and how we as primary school teachers could use the Museum to enhance children's learning.

Pitt Rivers Museum © Kat King

"Day 2: We had the opportunity to observe Becca in action with a class of Year 6 pupils who had come to visit the Museum. The children were looking at Extreme Environments. Becca began by introducing the children to four very extreme environments and encouraging them to consider how the animals and humans who lived in this area had adapted to their environment. The children then had an opportunity to handle objects and decide which environment they thought the object came from. It was great to see children using their senses, exploring the objects, discussing with one another and forming and justifying their ideas. The children were then given a trail to go on around the Museum to find different objects from each environment. Whilst the children were fascinated by the objects around them, the trail kept them focussed and on task. The group were engaged and given an opportunity that they perhaps may not have received in the classroom.

 Activities for Extreme Environments © Kat King

"Day 3: We were introduced to Chris Jarvis, the Primary School Education Officer at the Museum of Natural History. To begin with we explored the Museums independently to consider the ways in which schools can interlink the learning between the two Museums.  We then regrouped to discuss the similarities and differences between the Museums and how we can teach children collaboratively using the resources and artefacts throughout them. 

"Day 4: Our final day. We observed an Ancient Egyptian trail with a class of Year 3 pupils. Children were made detectives and it was their job to find Egyptian artefacts focussing on different characteristics of Egyptian culture. The children also had the chance to handle various artefacts and explore the Museum independently to identify other artefacts from Ancient Egypt not previously shown. 
The Egyptian Mummy © Katie Bragg

"Our week at the Pitt Rivers Museum has demonstrated to us the importance of allowing children to handle objects and artefacts to support their learning outside the classroom. It is also important to consider the layout of various museums as some museums are presented in different ways which allows visitors to see the progression through time. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Pitt Rivers Museum and have gained a new perspective of learning beyond the classroom environment."


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