Well its been another busy week here at Enrichment with KS2 workshops in Halifax and more locally – at the school where three of my lovely children go, and there was no favouritism asked for or given before you ask!
My first workshop was at Christ Church CofE Junior School in Sowerby Bridge, W Yorks. As part of their ‘History Week’ I was asked to deliver a full day of activities for the whole school, which included excavation workshops with me and a range of teacher-led activities that filled up the rest of the day. With the children measuring different parts of the school as archaeologists of the future, attempting to reconstruct broken pots, understanding the law of superposition among other things, they were introduced to the world of archaeology in a whirl of activity, all finished off with a fun interactive story of the the history of Britain at the end. The feedback from Alison Firth who made the booking was more than I could hope for:
“Thank you so much for everything you did for us on Tuesday. The activities were fantastic and all the pupils were totally engaged throughout the day. The time flew by so quickly, it was the end of the day before we knew it! You’ve provided the children with some brilliant experiences which they wouldn’t otherwise have had access to and I’m sure they’ve all learnt a lot about not making assumptions and different ways of thinking. I’ll be passing your details on to as many colleagues as I can!” (Alison Firth, Yr 6 teacher).
Some of the stones at Arbor Low. The scale is 1 metre.
The second workshop was with the great team at my children’s school, Harpur Hill Primary in Buxton. Our workshop here was a little different in that we spent the morning at one of our favourite monuments from prehistory – Arbor Low. In case you don’t know, Arbor Low is a henge monument which consists of a circular ditch with an earthwork or rubble bank on the outside. Of course, everyone has heard of Stonehenge, but this is not a typical henge and neither is Arbor Low! It has a stone circle inside, and whilst it may not be as famous as Stonehenge it is nevertheless impressive! There is also a large barrow or burial mound which was inserted into the bank of the henge in the Bronze Age. Not only that, it has a 400m ditch and bank leading toward and past another monument – Gib Hill which consists of two burial mounds, one Neolithic with a Bronze Age one on top of it. So, all the monuments you can see all date to the later Neolithic and early Bronze Age, which makes it a really useful place for children to visit to get ideas about how things changed between the Neolithic and Bronze Age.
Taking to children to sites such as Arbor Low gives them a chance to experience first-hand the evidence left behind by the people of the past and will stay in there memory for quite a while! At Gib Hill the children re-enacted a Bronze Age burial and it was great to see the children coming up with a range of ideas about what Arbor Low might have been used for by its builders, including a place for making tools – which may not be too far from what may well have happened there.
In the afternoon we spent time developing other archaeological skills, including excavation, artefact analysis and making our own mini-museum displays. The children really got to grips with a whole range of tasks and the teachers were impressed with their application to a new subject! We’ll leave the last word on the day with one of the teachers – Mr Colton:
“Its really made me understand the subject, it hasn’t made much sense until now!”