Amgueddfa Blog: Learning

This winter at National Museum Cardiff, visitors can get close to a genuine spaceship. The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule, the spacecraft that brought British astronaut Tim Peake back to Earth from the International Space Station, has crash landed in our gallery. The free exhibition is part of a national tour presented by global technology company Samsung and the Science Museum Group.

In association with the exhibition, several lucky secondary schools from across south Wales experienced an exciting science show from the Science Museum Outreach team. The Soyuz Rocket Show combined interactive science demonstrations with stunning visuals to explore the physics of rockets and Tim Peake’s spacecraft.

Beginning with take-off in the Vostok Rocket, the show took students along on Tim Peake’s journey to space. They experienced everything, including docking on the ISS and life aboard. Finally it discussed the perilous re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere (which you can learn more about in the exhibition’s Space Descent Virtual Reality Experience). The demonstrations included rockets made from Pringles tubes, screaming jelly babies, dry ice clouds and liquid nitrogen ice cream. And of course explosions. Lots of explosions.

A few weeks later, the schools visited the museum to see the spacecraft itself. They also took part in workshops that explored different elements of space travel. Cardiff University School of Computer Science and Informatics delivered coding workshops using Scratch, while AstroCymru put pupils through their paces by testing skills required to be an astronaut. Finally, we did a session on spacesuit engineering, which developed ways to protect astronauts from both harmful UV radiation and the call of nature! One lucky school even got to meet real-life astronaut Steven Swanson, a retired commander of the ISS.

We hope these experiences will inspire the next generation of physicists, engineers and astronauts. Let's hope that soon we will have Welsh astronauts following Tim into space!

The Tim Peake's Spacecraft exhibition runs until 10th February. Admission is free, Space Descent Virtual Reality Experience costs £6.

Hello Bulb Buddies,

Thank you for all the work you have done so far and for sharing your photos! It was extremely hard to choose just five winners. The chosen photos are from schools in Wales who are not participating in the Edina extension projects. If you are participating in the Edina Trust extension projects then your photos were entered into their photo competition.

Here are the winning schools:

Llanyrafon Primary School

Peterston Super Ely CiW Primary School

St Philip Evans Catholic Primary

Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth

Ysgol Llandwrog

Your prizes will be posted to you soon. Well done Bulb Buddies.

I’d like to send a big thank you to all the schools that have shared photos with us. It has been lovely to see the work that you have been doing, so please continue to share your photos! I will use these in my Blog posts over the coming weeks.

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

Professor Plant

Hi Bulb Buddies!

I hope you all enjoyed your half term holidays!

I want to say a big thank you for all your hard work on planting day. You helped to plant over 17,000 bulbs across the country! And from the photos I’ve seen, it looks like you all had a great time doing it!

Weather records started on 5th November. There is a resource on the website with more information on weather records. I’ve attached this here in case you haven’t already seen it! This resource helps you to answer important questions, such as ‘why rain fall and temperature readings are important to our investigation into the effects of climate on the flowering dates of spring bulbs’!

Use your Weather Chart to log the rain fall and temperature every day that you are in school. At the end of each week, log into the Spring Bulbs website to add your weekly readings. You can also leave comments or ask questions for me to answer in my next Blog!

Let me know how you get on! You can share photos with me via email or Twitter.

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

Professor Plant

Hello Bulb Buddies,

It's planting day for schools in Wales, England and Northern Ireland! Schools in Scotland will be planting next Friday.

Click here for activities and resources that will help you with this part of the project and with looking after your bulbs over the coming months! 

These resources will help you on planting day:

  • Adopt your Bulb (an overview of the care your Bulbs will need)
  • Planting your Bulbs (guidelines for ensuring a fair experiment)

And these activities are fun to complete:

  • Bulb Adoption Certificate
  • Make Bulb Labels

It's important that you read these as they contain important information! For example, do you know to label your pot so that you know where the Daffodil and Crocus are planted?

Remember to take photos of your planting day to enter the Planting Day Photo Competition!

Keep an eye on Professor Plant's Twitter page to see photos from other schools.

Best of luck Bulb Buddies! Let us know how you get on!

Professor Plant & Baby Bulb

We recently welcomed a group from Greening Our City, an environmental conservation project by Innovate Trust and National Resources Wales. They visited National Museum Cardiff to take part in activities linked to the Museum’s Urban Meadowa wildlife haven we created on the east side of the building.

In the morning session we used clay, soil and poppy seeds to make seed bombs. These can be thrown onto disturbed earth in a garden or even just placed in a plant pot, and will eventually produce beautiful red poppies. The flowers will not only look nice, but also provide a vital food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

We then ventured out onto the Urban Meadow to see what wildlife we could spot. At first, everything seemed quiet, but it wasn’t long before we started to find lots of different minibeasts. In a period of just 20 minutes we saw spiders, snails, bumblebees, wasps, grasshoppers, crane flies and two species of ladybird!

Photograph of two people hunting for invertebrates on the Museum's Urban Meadow
Photograph of a person hunting for invertebrates on the Museum's Urban Meadow

After a break for lunch, we gathered in the Clore Learning Space for our second workshop. Inspired by our morning session, we made models of insects and other invertebrates using colourful modelling clay. The group created spiders, snails, caterpillars, ladybirds and more.

We then split into two groups and used iPads to make stop-motion animations. Great patience is needed to make this kind of animation, as every second of finished film requires around ten still photographs.

You can watch the finished products below. In one, a spider, a ladybird and an ant meet up and take a selfie, while the other tells the dramatic tale of an invertebrate dance! I think you'll agree the group did a brilliant job directing their animations.

Gif animation showing clay models of insects dancing

The Dance

Gif animation showing clay models of insects moving around

Friends

Once that was complete, there was just enough time for the group to complete our summer trail. This quiz takes visitors on a journey around the museum to answer questions based on our new exhibition, Poppies For Remembrance.

If you are a community group and would like to take part in similar activities, please get in touch on (029) 2057 3240.

If you would like to know more about our Urban Meadow, download the free learning resource from our Learning pages.