Manchester Metropolitan University decided that it would be great if we could pass on some of our ideas and enthusiasm to some of their student teachers at their conference about creativity in the classroom. We agreed, and enlisted the help of Captain Sam (the Scurvy suffering pirate) and me (otherwise known as Flora Explorer) and we headed west.
After a brief introduction to Eureka! (Who we are and what we do) from Jenny Goodall, our Play & Learning Assistant, it was over to us. Our first section highlighted the fun that a bit of drama, song, and dance can bring to learning. Captain Sam (that was Darren Fearnley – pictured, by the way) set the scene and then it was all hands to the deck (pardon the pun) as we got the students on their feet joining in with the ‘Scurvy Song’; a swashbuckling sea shanty with a riotous dance that tells the true story of Dr Lind’s clinical trial; which succeeded in discovering the cure for scurvy. (Not gargling with sulphuric acid, as it turns out!).
Next Flora (that’s me, remember) demonstrated the effective use of multi-sensory learning as she dived into her explorer’s bag and pulled out an assortment of spices – not just the boring powdered stuff but the actual parts of the plant; Vanilla seed pods, nutmeg nuts, cinnamon bark, cloves (dried flower buds) and a whopping great piece of ginger (which is a rhizome, or underground stem, if you’re interested). The students listened to me talking about the spices and read about where they came from on little cards, but the best bit was actually touching and smelling – or maybe it was the bit where I produced a packet of ginger biscuits so they could involve their sense of taste as well!
We produced some giant laminated coins to demonstrate that even ‘sums’ can be fun if you are playing a game and then went on to play with science – with some colourful, explosive, messy and amazing demonstrations.
The students were really receptive and asked lots of questions so I am sure that at least some of the things they saw will be finding their way into classrooms in the future. I felt it was a very worthwhile trip and the university agreed, giving us the following feedback:
“I just want to thank you for your excellent workshop. The evaluations were very positive and in the final session when the students were sharing their experiences, they discussed the workshop with enthusiasm.”
I love the thought of enthusiastic teachers because if teachers are having fun teaching then children will be having fun learning – and that’s the ideal.
Jill Ward, Eureka! Enabler