Monday, 15 December 2008

Earth's Treasury

Day Out Day was Friday last week and we ventured up to the Natural History Museum again. Although we've been there ever so many times, the children are still eager to go again. Following a question from my middle son, 'Where do rocks come from?' and my quick and thin explanation of the rock cycle earlier in the week, I had a renewed vision for visiting this old favourite and finding the answers to his question.
On arrival we bought worksheets, not something we do often and the children weren't too impressed but I was determined to do something structured and useful. We headed off to the Earth's Treasury gallery to complete our 'Explore and Discover ... Materials: Unearth the treasure game' sheets:
I enjoyed having these and I think the children did too. It felt to me that we were taking time to look at one or two things more carefully, noticing detail where we normally only see the bigger picture. With this done, I felt more free to amble around another gallery or two before heading home.
However, I think the two things that most caught their attention were not those things I had planned on.
Firstly, outside the museum is a Christmas Fair and Ice Rink. On arrival the free hot chocolate stand (a promotional give-away) was up and running and the children were delighted to be given little cups of mint-flavour hot chocolate. We got chatting to the guy and learned two pieces of information which kept the children in conversation around the museum most of the day. Firstly, that he works a twelve hour shift, not finishing until it is way past the chilren's bed-time and is very dark and cold. Secondly, that there was also orange-flavour hot chocolate as well as just chocolate flavour. Of course, we had to drop by on our way out to collect some more.
Secondly, in the Materials gallery were some bubble tubes. I think they were demonstrating the different viscosities of the products of crude oil, but they were pretty and endlessly fascinating.

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