Measuring an oil molecule was the highlight of a second day of science workshops at Stoke's museums with our Home Education Group. Using scientific calculators and mathematical formulae, the children were shown how to calculate the size of an invisible molecule by measuring a visible drop and then watching what happened when that drop was placed into water. Led by an enthusiastic scientist, there was nothing patronising about this activity, and it was great to see the children (aged 6-13) engaging with the material at their own level. Later, they helped to isolate a molecule, and learned about measuring microwaves and radioactivity.
The afternoon of practical experimentation followed a morning of learning about health in the Potteries in the Victorian era, including exploring the health hazards in a mock-up city slum, hearing about the importance of the development of the toilet and sewers, and visiting a Victorian doctor's surgery.
These activities are offered FREE, but sadly few schools take up the opportunity, and the funding of such initiatives is soon to end. It struck me that Stoke schoolchildren particularly could learn so much about their local history here, but of course, schools follow a National Curriculum, with little opportunity to appreciate the local treasures on their doorstep. This is a pity, both for the children, and for the community around them which has so much to offer.