Children Put Quill to Paper Thanks to a £3,000 MLA Grant

Children Put Quill to Paper Thanks to a £3,000 MLA Grant

Schoolchildren at Pitmaston Primary School in Worcester were recently given the chance to trial an innovative range of activities that will be available at Worcester’s Library and History Centre, well in advance of its opening in 2012.

The Library & History Centre was awarded a £3,000 “Science in Your World” grant from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in January 2010. Since then, staff have been developing a programme around the theme of paper, to link in with Key Stage 2 and 3 in the school curriculum and funding the equipment for the activities, including a digital computer microscope.

Pupils at the primary school have already helped to shape the programme by testing the strength of different papers using a machine specially designed and constructed by David Poole. 

In July, they got a sneak preview into what other activities have been added to the programme, trying their hands at making paper from pulp and a pen from a quill or water reed, and creating ink from a medieval recipe. Practical tasks like these help to enhance a history lesson, reinforcing the subject and making it easier for pupils to learn.

The programme also includes information about how papermills work and how to carry out a chromatography test on old and modern ink – an experiment which can be used to test whether a document is forged or an original.

Deborah Overton, who is working on the programme, said: “The afternoon was a great opportunity to see, face to face, what the children thought of the activities.

“We hope that the range of hands-on tasks and theory embedded within the programme will offer interesting and dynamic lessons for the children, giving them a real perspective around the subject and enabling them to apply it to their school studies.”

Ruth Foster, who is leading the work around space in the building for young people and children, said: “We’re extremely keen to make the centre an exciting, innovative and welcoming space for everyone, and programmes such as the one being developed through this grant really put to use the rich array of resources which will be available in one place for the first time."

The centre will be an excellent resource for schools, and the project team are looking at a variety of other ways to link the centre’s activities with curriculum-specific content, including developing two research projects for older students around Worcestershire entrepreneurs.

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