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November 2013

Orange autumn

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 22 November 2013
Abernodwydd Farmhouse in the Autumn.
Beech trees
Hungry Robin on the look out for food.

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!

Posted by Ciara Hand on 21 November 2013
evaluating the galleries
testing the activities
testing the activities
testing the activities

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: 

http://kidsinmuseums.org.uk/takeoverday2013/taking-over-museums-2013/

Planting and measuring

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 13 November 2013
'We had a lovely Autumn afternoon planting our daffodil and crocus bulbs.' SS Philip and James CE Primary School
We managed to get a dry spell this afternoon to get our bulbs planted. The children had a brilliant time and are really excited and enthusiastic about the project. Brunshaw Primary School
The weather was kind to us! Looking forward to our observations and recording. Stanford in the Vale school.
» View full post to see all images

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.

Professor Plant.

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.

 

 

Spooky Specimens!

Posted by Katie Mortimer-Jones on 8 November 2013
Botanists at work
Bats and Insects
Fungus!
Fungus models made by the general public
» View full post to see all images

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

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