Birds and berries
Snow has fallen in Ladybank Primary School in Scotland and Nether Kellet Primary School reported frozen rain in their rain gauge! Here in Cardiff too, we have begun to see frost in the mornings.
At this time of the year, birds get very hungry and start to feed on berries. This blackbird began eating the crab apples from the tree at the bottom of my garden. I don't cut the tree back so it becomes a good source of food for the birds in the winter. This is a female black bird - they are brown and don't have yellow beaks – so quite different to the males.
Don't forget to feed the birds over the winter. Find out how to make a speedy bird cake.
Sixty five schools sent in weather records this week! Thanks so much to all of you who sent in your recordings.
Your questions, my answers:
TorView Community School: Please accept the above data as being CORRECT for TorView CommunitySchool. The previous 'temperature' details were wrongly submitted in degrees 'Fahrenheit' instead of 'centigrade.' Prof.P: Well spotted! Thanks for letting me know, I will remove the Fahrenheit data from your charts.
Medlar with Wesham CE Primary School: Hi professor plant there has a little bit of rain so we have not had to water them much. They are not growing yet but they are staying healthy. We are being very patient but we just can't wait for them to grow. Prof.P: Good things come to those who wait! It’s so nice when the flowers open in the spring. It cheers me up every year!
RogietPrimary School: How are you professor plant? It has been very cold here in Rogiet. Prof.P: I’m good thanks Rogiet, been cold here too, but I’m wrapping up warm. I hope you are too?
Your school: Westwood CP School: When I measure the rainfall on a Monday do I count the rainfall that fell over the weekend too. Or should I empty the contents when I get to school on Monday and measure at our usual time of 2pm? St. Mary's RC Primary School (Lancashire): What happens on Monday when the rain gauge includes Saturdays and Sunday? Prof.P: Hi Westwood & St Mary’s! Good question! You should measure the rainfall that fell over the weekend, that way we will know exactly how much rain has fallen that week.
LadybankPrimary School: We think our thermometer is broken because it was snowing today and it read 15 degrees. Prof.P: I will send you a new one immediately. Enjoy the snow! I’m very jealous.
Ysgol Pencae (Conwy): We had lots of rain over the weekend. The weather has got colder. We are measuring our rainfall in ml with a homemade gauge, is this correct? Prof.P: Hi Ysgol Pencae. Great that you have managed to build your own rain gauge! Please could you measure the rainfall in mm rather than ml. Everyone across the country measures in mm so in order to compare we need it in mms. See this video about how to do this. You will be able to convert the mls back into mm by pouting the amounts you measured into your rain gauge and seeing what the mms are. Hope that makes sense. Thanks
Ysgol Capelulo: This week has been really cold and wet. It was very wet on Monday and really cold on Thursday, on Wednesday and Thursday there was no rainfall. This week in Wales it has been very windy. We enjoy taking other people out to help us take the readings. Goodbye. :) Prof.P: Great idea getting others involved, glad you are enjoying!
KilmaronSpecialSchool: We have had to move the location of our rain funnel as one of the pupils in another class was caught emptying it out. It is now hidden behind a bush outside our classroom window. Prof.P: Oh dear, good plan to hide it!
St Joseph's Primary School (Penarth): We have noticed how much the temperature has fallen this week and we are concerned about our poor bulbs getting too cold! Prof.P: Don’t worry they will be expecting it to be cold at this time of year.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: One of our pots has been knocked over we are worrying about vandalism. Prof.P: Oh no! If you re-plant them they are often fine. If the vandals are from outside the school perhaps you should think if there is anywhere safer around the school? If they are from in the school you should talk to them.
Your school: Ysgol Porth Y Felin: To PP the plants are fine we have 2 plants that have started to grow and the temperatures are quite close apart from Thursday, when it was very cold. Prof.P: Gosh growing already!
St Mary's CatholicPrimary School: It has been very cold this week; we hope our bulbs are tucked up nice and warm in their pots. Prof.P: I’m sure they will be fine!
Thorneyholme RC Primary School: Yo prof plant hows it rollin'!!!!????? Cute little bulbs are part of our school now. Prof.P: Great to hear they have settled in.
Nether Kellet Primary School: Today the water froze cool as ice!! Prof.P: Brrrrgh! To get the measurement you need to bring it in to defrost to water.
This week has seen floods across many areas of the UK - see the images in the links below. Stepaside School reported high flooding in many areas.
I suspect a few schools will be closed today and perhaps unable to send in their records. I do hope everyone will be safe and dry.
In my garden we had 30mm of rain on Wednesday and I had to rescue a frog who was hopping along a busy road on my way home. Harwell School reported 15mm of rain whilst Rhydypenau school in Cardiff and Balmerino outside Dundee also reported 30mm of rain!
- Wales - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-20458267
- Scotland - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-20439824
- England - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-20441316
Last week 57 schools sent in their weather records many thanks to you all!
Study the records. If you would like to look-up the weather and see how much rain everyone has been having, follow this link then select the school you would like to study. Please check that your records are displaying correctly and let me know if any problems.
Your questions, my answers:
RAF Benson Primary School: We would like to send our records on a Thursday as it is the evening of our gardening club. Prof.P: No problem, doing it like this, but as the web site is set-up to only allow you to send in a week of weather at a time, you will only be able to upload the weather from the week before. Thanks.
Medlar with Wesham CE Primary School: Why aren't our bulbs growing yet we are impatient. Prof.P: they will be growing - but under the ground. Ask your teacher if you could grow one of your spare bulbs in a clear gel so you can watch the roots growing, but you must be patient. If they grew above the soil now they could be harmed by the winter frost.
Ysgol Porth Y Felin: We are interested by the fact that all the temperatures are nearly the same and it only rained on Monday. Prof.P: My temperatures have been fairly similar too, temperature wise it is very mild at the moment. Test if your thermometer definitely working properly?
Westwood CP School: Cold day on Friday! We had a little shower. That is the 1mm of rainfall. Prof.P: great accurate recording Westwood!
Experiencing Volunteering at St Fagans as part of the Our Museum Project
5th November saw the Our Museum Project Partners arrive at St Fagans to experience a day in the life of a volunteer at the museum. Luck was on our side, the weather was with us and we were all ready for a fantastic day.
The St Fagans Our Museum project has been going from strength to strength. The Initiative is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and aims at bringing museums and communities together. The St Fagans project hopes to do this by building a community of volunteers at the museum.
Over the past year the museum has been working with a dedicated group of Community Partners who are supporting us on the project. They have been involved in decision making every step of the way and are now fully embedded into the Our Museum initiative and the project at St Fagans.
To give the Community Partners a better sense of what it is like to volunteer at the museum, we felt that a day spent on site, carrying out different activities alongside staff would work well. So, we set about preparing an action packed day!
Everyone was extremely keen and it was felt that this would be a great way of getting to know each other in an informal setting.
So, the morning of 5th November saw us all trekking up to the Castel Garden’s where we spent a busy morning digging up the old rose bed in preparation for re planting with Peter and Gareth from the Gardening Team. The sun was shining and we all had a fantastic time. Everyone entered into the competitive spirit as we were split into two groups to dig the patch, the aim being to meet in the middle.
After a fascinating talk from Owain Rhys on the recent Refugee House project we enjoyed a delicious lunch before venturing out on site again with Ian Daniel, Steve Burrow and Janet Wilding. Up to the Celtic Village for an afternoon of clay making, daubing and copper beating.
We all really enjoyed the activities and got thoroughly muddy in the process. Through discussions with staff the Community Partners were able to see how the Our Museum Project will fit into the exciting re development of St Fagans.
Thank you to everyone involved for making the day such a great success! Hats off to the volunteers!
Weather records are flying in!
Wow! What a fantastic start to this year's weather recording. Forty six schools sent in weather records last week and this weeks are flying in as I type! The project was also mentioned in the South Wales Echo and the Oxford Times.
If you've ever wondered what your bulbs do once they are planted then why not make this mini-origami booklet! The secret undercover life of the bulb. By Prof. Plant. (Colour version) (Fill in the gaps version) (How to do)
Many of you have sent in comments and questions - please see my answers below:
Ysgol Nant Y Coed - "We have had rain this week but not enough to measure. We've enjoyed keeping the records this week" Prof.P: "Thanks for the info and delighted to hear you are enjoying being a scientist!"
St Mary's Catholic Primary School - "Hello, we have had no rain this week". Prof. P: "Hi St Mary's - Welcome to the project - keep up the good work!"
Greyfriars RC Primary School - "Hi we are really enjoying this" Prof.P: "So glad you are enjoying!"
Nether Kellet Primary School - "It has been hard to remember to keep track of the bulb project since it's only our first week. We forgot to cheek on Wednesday so we went on the weather forecast. Do you own the museum we are gathering information for? We really enjoyed collecting the weather information and are 'into' the project now!" Prof.P: "Yes I agree it can be tricky to remember in the beginning, good idea to check with your local forecast when you forget, delighted that you are enjoying it now! I don't own the Museum but I work here so I guess it own me ;-) The Museum is owned by the people of Wales, part of my job is to help people understand and enjoy the weird and wonderful collections we have. I'm very lucky!"
Thorneyholme RC Primary School - "We are enjoying growing and looking after our bulbs.
We love your hair-do and your glasses!!" Prof.P: "Thanks no one has ever complimented me on my hair or glasses before - you've made my day! Glad you're enjoying!"
Ysgol Clocaenog - "Diolch am y bylbiau. Mae hi wedi bod yn wythnos dda i'r bylbiau oherwydd dydi hi ddim wedi bod yn rhy oer ac mae hi wedi bwrw glaw. Athro'r Ardd: Dim problem, dwi'n falch i glywed bod y tywydd yn dda i'r bylbiau".
Medlar with Wesham CE Primary School - "Hi Professor plant. We have not yet watered our plants because it has rained a lot. Prof.P: "Yes that is good, it's important that your bulbs don't get too wet or too dry."
Glyncollen Primary School - "Thank you for the bulbs. We are looking forward to when they grow." Prof.P: "You're welcome! You should start to see some growth after Christmas!”
Ysgol Deganwy - "We have moved our pots to the south side of our mobile classroom against a wall. There has been some building work on the previous north side which meant we couldn't put our pots there." Prof.P: Thanks for letting me know. They should get a lot more sun on the South side too.
Henllys CIW Primary - "Rainfall on Thursday 8 November was 0.5 mm; Rainfall on Friday 9 November was 0.1mm." Prof.P: "Thanks for these details - very accurate recording!"
St Joseph's Primary School (Penarth) - "We were interested to see that the temperature remained the same for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, even though we thought that it felt colder." Prof.P: "That is interesting; sometimes the wind can make it feel colder. It you have two thermometers you could check if they say the same thing."
Westwood CP School - "Cloudy but dry week apart for some rain on Friday. Temperature are not too bad yet but I'm sure worse is to come!" Prof.P: "Thanks for the update and Welcome to the project again this year!"
Stanford in the Vale Primary School - "Dear Professor Plant. First week of observations...Monday really cold with sharp frosts to the ground...then Thursday warm and sunny blue sky's amazing. No rain has been recorded as we have had no rainfall. Best Wishes. Stanford in the Vale Gardening Club." Prof.P: "Thanks for the observations, a real mixture of weather - keep up the good work!"
Get your gloves on!
Two thousand bulbs being planted in Scotland today! Good luck Scotland and please wrap up warm as the temperature is a chilly 3 or 4 degrees! Temperatures across the UK have fallen dramatically today making it feel very much like winter.
Welsh and English schools are finishing up for half term and all the schools are preparing for recording their 1st weather records on the 5th of November!
Click here for info on keeping weather records
Click here to ensure fair test when planting your bulbs
Please take a look at these lovely pics sent in by Stanford in the Vale Primary School.
A fair-test for forty five thousand fingers!
Four and a half thousand school scientists across England and Wales planted bulbs for a climate investigation being run by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales.
Each pupil planted their bulbs and followed simple methodology to ensure a fair test. Before planting, they learned how to care for bulbs and completed adoption certificates as a promise to care for their bulbs.
This is just the beggining for this years participants who will be recording flowering times and weather conditions every week until the end of March.
I visited St Joseph's school in Penarth to see how they were getting along and was amazed by how excited and involved in the project they were. Mrs Dunstan has done a great job working with the class to create a great display about the project. On questioning, it was clear that the class knew they were helping with a larger experiment and what it was about.
I was delighted to hear a Yr.3 pupil question "Is it a fair-test if all Scottish schools are planting a week later?" It showed that she was really thinking about the logistics of this large scale study. I explained that the Scottish schools had to plant on another date because their holiday dates are quite different to those in England and Wales and that we would look at the Scottish data separately as a result. After our discussion we went outside to do the planting - see my pictures.
Meanwhile in West Wales, Stepaside School were also busy planting. Here are pictures of the Yr.3 pupils involved this year.
If any other schools have any images they would like to share please send them to me.
Good luck with the planting this week in Scotland - I hope it stays dry!
Solving crimes, exploring trees and using your mobile phone - what does this have to do with numeracy?
Teachers descended on the National Museum Cardiff last weekend to take part in workshops and talks aimed at engaging pupils with numeracy in a fun and creative way.
Prof Chris Budd, BathUniversity, and Rob Eastaway, Maths Inspiration, gave extremely interesting and lively talks covering maths in the modern world, including how google works, and ways of being creative with maths.
The workshops featured teachers programming their own computer games (Technocamps), becoming maths detectives to solve a crime (Techniquest), finding out how technology works (CardiffMetropolitanUniversity), exploring maths in nature (Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales), and discovering ideas for fun and stimulating games (TES Science).
This year’s conference is a partnership between The Association for Science Education Cymru and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. It has been running for the past 4 years and draws in teachers from Wales and England (and even Australia this year!).
Keep your eyes peeled for next year’s conference – we hope to see you then!
Thank you to everyone who made this year’s a success!
Craftivism at the Food Festival
Did you come to our food festival in September? I hope so as it was such a great event - look out for it next year if you didn't make it.
This summer the Craftivist Collective launched a jamming and sewing project which you can read all about right here and I thought that would fit in perfectly with the food festival, so that's what we did!
The idea is that you make some tomato jam (I am proud to say that I made some all by myself and it tasted good too) following a recipe from an amazing lady called Christine who lives in Africa. Then you embroider a message on a fabric jam lid - maybe something like 'if you don't grow, you don't change' or anything to do with food and global food issues. After you have embroidred your message, pop it on the top, secure it with ribbon and give your pretty jar of jam away! I think the giving it away is the most important part as you are sharing the message, you could give it to your MP or your local shop if you wanted, or just pass it along to friends and family, it all helps spread the word and provides an opportunity for talking about what you eat and where your food comes from.
The project is also linked in with Oxfam and their 'Grow' campaign, and we were lucky enough in St Fagans that Louise from Oxfam was able to come along and lend a hand - she also provided lots of leaflets for further information.
What do you think about the project? did you come to our drop in session? did you make the jam and did you pass your jam along to someone else? I'd love to know!
Summer art activities
How was your summer? it was pretty busy for me!
As usual we ran the art cart in Oriel 1 everyday throughout August and our focus this year was weaving. We mainly did paper plate weaving (or circular weaving) which proved to be really popular with all ages and looks really effective too - I am thinking of doing more of it for Halloween...but in black and orange of course.
Quite a few of the museum attendants helped run the art cart this year too and they also brought different ideas and skills along with them so that there was quite a variety of activities. Elen did some drop spinning with visitors and even showed them how to make their own drop spindle, and Elle showed everyone how to make amazing woven friendship bracelets using a circular piece of card.
In July Ian and I got together to plan and run a two day art activity in the Celtic Village. We decided to make Iron Age shields out of cardboard and to get the visiting children to decorate them with typical iron age patterns using stencils or their own designs.
The activity went really well and we were lucky that it fell on two beautiful sunny days (we were outside). It's definitely an activity we'll be running again
Come September and it was back to running sessions for visiting schools, I've written about my art session called 'Looking at Buildings' so won't go on about it again... just show you some pictures of wonderful drawings instead.
Then I took two weeks off work and went on holiday to San Francisco! and now I'm back and all inspired for more arts and crafts and workshops and everything! There are a few things coming up - the big draw this saturday and next (6+13 oct 2012), a couple of craftivist things (one this sunday 7th in gwdi hw which isn't directly linked with St Fagans, and one on the 20th of October as part of the Made in Roath festival whic is), and then it will be half term and time for Halloween!
phew, happy making!
Identifying your finds
Something we get a lot of excitement (and sometimes head scratching!) from here in the Clore Discovery Centre is helping you to identify your finds. Every year museum visitors bring us thousands of objects they have found/excavated/collected and ask us to help identify them.
This summer Will Hardy came to us to find out more about some fossils he had found recently. Of the three pieces one was particularly exciting as it was beautifully preserved. It might not look much from my dodgy phot but this fossil is amazing!
It's part of a plant called Calamites from the Welsh Coal Measures and is about 300 million years old which grew to about 30m high!
Well found Will!
Over the next few weeks we'll be challenging you to identify some of our 'mystery objects'