A Child's Christmas in Wales - Family Christmas Holiday Workshops at National Museum, Cardiff
Inspired by the amazing Peter Blake exhibition 'Llareggub' (Peter Blake illustrates Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas) we are going to be enjoying extracts from Dylan Thomas' 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' in the Clore Discovery Centre and making lovely bags to store our own festive treasures.
As can be seen from the photograph of our prepartations the activity will involve lots of ribbon, shiny bells, the wonderful words of Dylan Thomas and a chance for you to share your favourite Christmas memories.
Nadolig Llawen / Happy Christmas
One recording week til Christmas!
Merry Christmas Bulb Buddies!
I can't believe this is the last recording week of 2013! Congratulations on keeping weather records for the last six weeks! You don't need to keep anymore records now until the week beginning the 2nd of January 2014. You can leave your bulbs in school over Christmas and relax until the New Year. I hope you have a fantastic Christmas after working so hard this term!
We've had some terrible weather this week so I do hope you didn't have any storm damage or flooding in your local area. The weather has caused some terrible problems for people across the UK - see the weather in pictures http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/feeds/25232374
Manor Primary School (Oxfordshire) reported:We are very sad to say that all the plant pots blew over. As a result the bulbs and compost came out the pots. I just wondered what you would like us to do and whether we can re pot and carry on?
With the recent weather, I'm sure many pots blew over and many bulbs will need re-potting. Don't worry your baby bulbs are fairly tough and will be fine if they are quickly tucked safely back into their pots.
Merry Christmas from Professor Plant and Baby Bulb!
St. Mary's Catholic Primary School, Leyland: Dear Professor Plant. On Tuesday and Friday this week, we think our temperature was so high because the sun was shining right on our thermometer. It felt so much colder - our teacher’s car thermometer showed 3 degrees. Next week, we are going to move our thermometer to a different place where the sun will not shine directly onto it. Love from Mrs Thompson's Year 1 Class. Prof:P: You've done the right thing here, it's important that thermometers are not placed in direct sunlight or they will show higher temperatures.
Raglan VC Primary: Rainfall on Mon included the weekend rainfall. A crocus bulb was starting to shoot (20/11/13), we covered it with a handful of compost. Prof.P: This is a good idea to keep the bulb warm but as long as the crocus bulb was planted 10cm beneath the soil then you shouldn't need to cover over any shoots in future.
Ysgol Bro Eirwg: Cwestiwn oddi wrth Rhys: Pam mae angen dwr ar y bylbiau? Prof.P: You only need to water your bulbs if the soil in the pots becomes dry to touch. At this time of year there should be plenty of water from the rain but it's important to check your pots when you make your weather records. Bulbs need water which they absorb through their roots. The water helps the plant grow shoots and prepare to flower in the spring.
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): It's been a blustery but fairly dry week here in Lancashire. Our bulb labels have suffered in the winds but hopefully the bulbs will be snug in their pots! Prof.P: Sorry your labels are ruined but glad your bulbs are safe :-)
Burscough Bridge Methodist School: Tuesday there was a small layering of snow. Prof.P: How exciting! Also bulbs need cold weather to trigger their growth at this time of year - so all good for the bulbs.
Ysgol Rhys Prichard: Tuesday rainfall fell as sleet. Thursday was the first real frost this winter. Prof.P: Again, this is great for the bulbs to trigger their growth.
Arkholme CE Primary School: There are some difficulties on a Monday morning because sometimes it might have rained over the weekend. Prof.P: Don't worry Arkholme - we expect all the schools taking part to have a higher reading on a Monday so this is not a problem.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: hi our bulbs are doing fine and the leaves on the trees in the school garden have fallen. The Scots Pine still has its needles. From Airlie and Athen. Prof.P: Yes the Scots pine is one of our few native plants to remain green in the winter. Can you think of anymore? These plants are often mentioned in carols.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: The weather is very varied each day; sunshine, cloud, breeze. On Sunday night it froze hard so even though the temperature was high in the sunshine, the compost in the pots was frozen. Prof.P: this is good for the bulbs at this time of year it tells them that it is winter now and that spring is on its way in a few months.
St. Ignatius Primary School: Again the bulbs have been vandalised over the weekend. The pots have been moved or tipped over. Our janitor is out at the moment trying to fix them and get everything back to normal. We are very upset and disappointed by this but we will continue to look after our plants as best we can. Prof.P: Very sorry to hear that this has happened again but delighted to hear that you are determined to continue. Is there anywhere else in the school that is safer to keep them?
Glyncollen Primary School: We are getting really good at recording our weather data. This week has been very cold. We hope the bulbs are warm in the earth. Prof.P: Don't worry the bulbs will be fine - they like it cold at this time of year. Glad to hear that you are getting good at keeping your weather records it's a very useful skill that you are learning.
Raglan VC Primary: 10% of pots are showing growth of bulbs. Prof.P: I like how you are reporting this. Good use of numeracy!
Burscough Bridge Methodist School: Thursday night seen the area hit by storms. Prof.P: Glad the school is safe.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: A terrible storm on Tuesday night which continued with a wet and windy Wednesday. The pots keep filling up with leaves as fast as we can clear them but no need to water yet. The children are enjoying looking at the scales on the rain gauge and thermometer and comparing them to the rulers we are using in maths. Prof.P: Great to hear you are enjoying comparing this will make you super at science. Don’t worry about the leaves too much the bulbs will find their way through the leaves without any problems.
Wow the trees are beautiful at St Fagans: National History Museum this week! I love the autumn colours.
What colour are the leaves where you live, brown red, yellow or all gone? The trees like the spring bulbs are finely tuned into our temperatures. Not been too cold in Cardiff yet, so in places we still do have some green leaves. But if it's been cold where you live the leaves may have already dropped.
85 records in this week - thanks to all of you who are getting out each day to keep your weather records!
The coldest temperature recorded so far is -1 degree Celsius recorded by St. Blanes Primary School in Scotland. St. Blanes: "It's soooooooo cold today Professor Plant today! We had to wear our hats, scarves & gloves when we went outside to take our weather readings. We discovered that all the water had frozen and turned into ice - WOW! Room 3 in St Blanes are LOVING this project, even though our teeth are chattering!" Take a look at where they are on the map or view their temperatures.
The most rain was recorded in Ysgol Bro Eirwg this week 140mm! Bro Eirwg: "We've enjoyed collecting data this week. When will the bulbs start to grow?" They will be growing beneath the soil already but shoots should appear above the soil from January onwards.
Your questions - my answers:
- Culross Primary School. Very cold week - children enjoyed measuring rainfall and looking at temperatures. We also discussed the importance of trying to record results at the same time each day. Prof.P: Very good - this is important for ensuring a fair test!
- St. Blanes Primary School. We are excited to go out into the school garden everyday to check our rain gauge and thermometer! Ysgol Sychdyn: We have enjoyed recording the weather data. Prof.P: Fantastic - you'll be weather experts soon!
- Cawthorne's Endowed Primary School. Hello Professor Plant this is a very good idea. Prof.P: thanks you very much!
- St. Mary's Catholic Primary School. Thank you Professor Plant for sending us the bulbs. We enjoyed planting them and can't wait to see what they look like when they grow. From Year 1 children at St Mary's in Leyland. Prof.P: I'm sure the flowers will be beautiful Year 1!
Kids take-over National Museum Cardiff!
Last Thursday 14th November Year 6 pupils from Trelai Primary School took part in National Taking Over Museums Day - a celebration of children and young people’s contribution to museums, galleries and heritage sites across the UK.
The pupils worked with Learning Staff and Natural Science Curators at the National Museum Cardiff to help develop content for a new family science exhibition, which is due to open in July 2014.
Pupils gave us feedback on existing science galleries, chose objects for the exhibition and tested some potential activities for this hands-on exhibition.
It was a really successful day and the feedback from the children was so insightful, with lots of really useful ideas that will help inform our planning of the exhibition.
We’re really looking forward to inviting them back to the exhibition launch in July.
More information on Kids in Museums can be found here:
Planting and measuring
All the bulbs are now tucked safely into the soil! Over 6,000 in total were planted across the UK by the Super Scientists that have begun keeping weather records to investigate climate change.
The weather on the week of planting was very wet but despite this the pupils got outside and enjoyed gardening. The pupils created labels for their plants and adopted them and will care for them until they flower next spring. See some of the pictures sent in from schools.
Last week schools began keeping weather records. They are learning how to record temperatures and measure rainfall. They then upload these records to our website using their ICT skills. So far, I’ve received fifty four records - which is amazing! Keep up the good work bulb buddies!
I'd like to say a special hello to Isaac from Lancashire who visited Cardiff Museum over half term and popped in to say hello. Unfortunately, I was working planting our new Urban Meadow and so missed Isaac but I did get the lovely note. Sorry I missed you Isaac - hope you enjoyed your visit to Cardiff.
Your comments - my answers:
SS Philip and James CE Primary School: We're not sure our laminated labels will survive the winter so we wrote our names on the lollypop sticks and on the side of the pots in case the pictures fall off. Any other advice welcome! Here are some comments from the children: "I really liked comparing the size of the bulbs." "I enjoyed seeing the pointy part of the daffodil peeping through the compost." "Putting the soil in and getting my hands messy was the best bit". "It was really cool." Prof.P: Glad you enjoyed planting. Keeping the tags on the labels is tricky. I think what you have done is great. Some schools use a permanent white marker pen to write on the pots.
Kilmaron Special School: This year we have planted our bulbs in 4 different places to see if they grow better at the front of the school or at the back. We have planted some in the bulbs in a new bed and some in old beds to see if the soil makes a difference. Prof P: Great investigative skills Kilmaron - please let us know if you see any changes and if they are as you predict?
Glyncollen Primary School: Our bulbs are in good condition. We enjoyed planting them and can't wait to see them grow. Prof.P: Glad the bulbs are doing well and that you are enjoying the project again at Glyncollen.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: I am really enjoying it thank you for last year. I'm loving the bulbs mine are called Earl and Willum. Prof.P: I'm delighted to hear you enjoyed and are continuing to this year at Greyfriars.
Ladywell Primary School: We are really enjoying looking after the bulbs. We will be a few days behind everyone else as unfortunately they were knocked down and we had to replant the bulbs. We are thankful that you gave us more bulbs because they were destroyed. We are also thankful for including us in the project. Prof.P: Glad you got the bulbs and more importantly that you haven't given up!
Bleasdale CE Primary School: We have been scaring away the slugs! Prof.P: Many gardeners will be very interested to know how you are doing this Bleasdale. Let me know.
Raglan VC Primary: We removed lots of fallen leaves from the top of the pots. No watering required this week.
Ysgol Bro Eirwg: Ar ddydd Mercher cafon ni 19cm o law, sef 190mm - mae'r siart dim ond yn mynd i 100mm! Hefyd ar ddydd Gwener cafon ni 11cm o law, sef 110mm, yr un broblem gyda'r siart! Diolch Athro.Ardd: Llawer iawn o glaw! Wnai newid y furflen we - diolch.
Woodplumpton St. Anne's Primary School: It's interesting to see the difference between the highest and the lowest temperatures in one week. We are very excited to be taking part in the project. We want to know what will happen. Prof.P: Hopefully in the spring you will have some beautiful flowers!
Culross Primary School: We are going to send our weather reports on Monday’s. On Friday the rainfall was 10 mm because it was hailstones on Thursday evening. Prof.P: Wow hailstones already! We had some in Cardiff too - I got soaked!
Burscough Bridge Methodist School: There was a high amount of rainfall this week and due to the weather conditions over Wednesday night the gauges tipped and lost the contents. Prof.P: I use a big lump of clay to help keep my rain gauge in place but most days it should be fine in the soil.
On Wednesday 30th October, National Museum Cardiff came alive for a haunting day of Halloween fun. Curators (and witches!) from the Natural History department filled the main hall with spooky specimens from our collections to share with the public on a busy half term day.
The botanists made a real impression by opening up the Herbarium and creating a spooky graveyard of deadly plants. This was a real hit with the children who left repeating some of the delightfully ghoulish names to their parents such as “Stinking Hellebore!” and “Bloody Cranesbill!”
The Fungus table had a case of wonderful wax models where you could match each fungus with its creepy name, such as the Trumpet of Death, Scaly Tooth and Witch Heart. Children, and adults, could make their own fungus with the colourful modelling clay provided, creating some amazing new species!
Two witches stirred their potion in a cauldron alongside an eerie ‘Herbs in Medicine and Magic’ display. All Harry Potter fans would have immediately recognised the famous Mandrake, a plant often used in magic rituals due to its hallucinogenic properties, but there was no need for ear muffs as the real plant does not let out a fatal scream!
Marine and Mollusc curators put out an array of Halloween treats from ghost slugs and dead man’s fingers to blood cockles and pumpkin snails. Visitors enjoyed being able to touch sea urchins, spiny oysters and star fish. The pickled cuttlefish and squid were a real treat and produced a great mixed response, from awe to disgust, from children and adults alike.
The giant bloodsucking mosquito model dominated the Entomology stand whilst a witch displayed a table of British bats, from the largest Noctule to the smallest Pipistrelle.
Geologists enticed visitors with ‘fossils in folklore’, including echinoderms that were thought to be ‘fairy loaves’, and ‘dragon claws’ that come from dinosaurs. Those brave enough stayed to see the ‘Hell, Fire and Brimestone!’ stand which revealed specimens of larva, ash and volcanic rocks.
The Open Day was underpinned with an educational trail provided by the Education department. The trail took children around all of the displays, answering questions on blood stained petals and thunder stones, fungal fingers and tails of worms, to name a few. It was an excellent way to get families involved and encouraged children to interact with the curators. The trail proved to be extremely popular with 170 families taking part.
For those who wanted to know more, there was a scary ‘Dragons’ tour in the Evolution of Wales gallery and two behind the scenes tours of the Biology and Geology collections.
The day was a real success with 3127 members of the public coming through the museum doors. So, if you didn’t make it this time keep your eyes peeled on the ‘What’s On’ guide for more upcoming Natural History Open Days throughout the year.
Blog by Harriet Wood
The big plant
Just five days now until the big planting week which will take place all over the UK as part of the Spring Bulbs for Schools investigation! I do hope the weather is kind to us!
Six and a half thousand pupils will plant bulbs as the 1st step in this exciting climate investigation.
English and Welsh schools will be planting on the 21st of October and Scottish schools on the 25th.
To all of you planting:
- Remember to make your labels before you plant!
- Please read this before Planting your bulbs to ensure a fair-test!
- Please send me or Tweet me pictures of your class planting to use in this blog.
My Twitter account is www.twitter.com/professor_plant
Good luck bulb buddies!
Things I've been doing part two...
So part one of my epic sharing of photos with you looked at our summer art and craft activities. Part two is all about the food festival and a couple of craftivist sessions.
On a lovely sunny day up in the Italian gardens we had a picnic and took part in the Craftivist Collective project all about fashion. The project is all about how we love fashion and hate sweatshops, and as part of our event we talked about where we buy our clothes and what we can do to help the situation. It definitely made us all think more about ethical fashion and sustainability!
Another Craftivist project we've been a part of this year is the #imapiece jigsaw project. Earlier in the year we had a session where we made fabric jigsaw pieces embroidered with messages about global hunger and sent them to the craftivist collective to be a part of a huge installation. Just a couple of weeks ago we got a part of the installation back (300 pieces out of a whopping 700 or so) and exhibited it in St Fagans: National History Museum. We have also been adding to the installation ourselves, it will be up for a few days yet, so come and see it and let me know if you would like to add your own message.
For the food festival this year, myself and genius gardener Bernice made herbal teabags! Bernice picked and dried mint, lemon balm, fennel seeds and Elderflower from the gardens here in the museum and then we bought some teabags to fill and made little envelopes to put the teabags in for safe keeping, or as a sweet gift. We also made sure we had a pot of tea on the go all day and almost everyone liked our blend!
The last thing I wanted to tell you about is the Wedding Fayre that was held here a couple of weeks ago. You probably already know that you can get married here in St Fagans, either in the castle or in Oakdale. Well, now you can also have a hen afternoon tea party as well! as part of this tea party you can learn to dance, have hair and make-up done (vintage style), or get all crafy with me! The photos show what kind of things we could make... tissue pom-poms, name places, bunting... it will be lovely and I can't wait to take part!
That's all for today, but I do have some knit and sew group photos to share next time, and look out for half term halloween arts and crafts and quilt club on the 2nd and november. Happy Autumn!
Things I've been doing part one....
I've been taking photographs of all the activities I've been a part of, but keep forgetting to update the blog with them. Therefore this is going to have to be a two-parter as I have so much stuff to update you all with.
Ok. Let's go:
Our summer art cart activities included the super successful Iron Age shield making workshop. Ian (the celtic guy) and I spent two days running the workshop and we were really lucky to have volunteers on hand too as with all the glue, paint and celtic pattern designing it was pretty crazy. As you can see from the pictures, the finished results were just beautiful. I love the one that looks like maybe Chagall had a hand in it.
Artist Tracey Williams made the most wonderful house out of cardboard with visitors over the summer, inspired by our buildings on site. It was a lovely community project which I stupidly don't have any photos of!
I spent the rest of august doing a variety of art and craft workshops - we did some sketching of nature in the bird hide, made dragonflies out of wooden pegs and did gorgeous drawings and collages of the lily pads in the Italian Gardens with a bit of inspiration from Monet. We also did some sewing and made felt flower badges which were really popular.
If you took part in any of these activities, do you have any photographs you could share? and what did you think of our locations this year? was it fun going to the Italian gardens (I know I enjoyed it) or was it too far away from the main entrance? let me know!
A Journey from the Amazon to Natural Selection
Continuing our celebration of the life of Alfred Russel Wallace...
We welcomed over 300 A-level students to National Museum Cardiff for this special event in partnership with Cardiff University School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.
At the invitation of Prof Dianne Edwards F.R.S, Prof Steve Jones F.R.S gave a talk entitled ‘Is man just another animal?’
Prof Jones discussed our shared ancestry with other primates, the genetic evidence for human evolution, and cast light on Wallace and Darwin’s different views on the subject. Professor Steve Jones is Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London and an author of several popular science books.
And Theatr na nÓg gave an excellent performance of their play ‘You Should Ask Wallace’.
The play took us through Wallace’s life as a young boy growing up in Wales to embarking on epic adventures to the Amazon and Malay Archipelago where he discovers the theory of evolution. His great findings would compel Darwin to publish his seminal work on the origin of species.
An exhibition on Wallace’s life will open on 19 October at National Museum Cardiff.