Monday 26 September 2011

Back to School

Learning Opportunities at the London Canal Museum

How do your children or grandchildren feel about their history lessons?  You can support their education and ignite their enthusiasm for history with a visit to the London Canal Museum. They offer an exciting programme of walks, talks, boat trips and family days. The exhibits tell the tale of London’s canals from their beginnings as essential trade routes to today’s use as a leisure resource.  Visitors can learn about the boatmen, their families and lifestyle and the horses that pulled the boats. The current temporary exhibition ‘London's Other River’ is running until 2nd October. This features the history of the River Lea navigation in East London.
On Sunday 4th September visitors can join a guided walk down the towpath to Camden. The canal walks are aimed at adults but a teenager who enjoyed history at school would be most welcome and would probably enjoy the experience. The commentary is not recommended for younger children. However, the education team do occasionally organise guided walks aimed at groups of younger children with a commentary tailored to their needs.
On Sunday 18th September and Sunday 25th September there are boat trips through the Islington canal tunnel. Early advance booking (on line) is recommended for these. The ticket price of  £8 for adults and £6 for children includes entry to the museum.
On October 25th there is a children’s activity day including roses and castles painting, ice-cream making and a short boat trip to the nearest lock. (£4 child, £2 accompanying adult). The dates of activity days are planned with the school holidays and half term in mind.
Martin Sach, the chairman says,
“We've added more activities for kids to the museum in recent years so now they can build a
bridge and stand on it, work a boat through the model lock, and follow the Children's Trail
around the museum, as well as exploring the boat cabin and seeing our tug boat. Museums
combine entertainment with education so they learn without really knowing they have done
something educational.”
For those who do not live near London The Learning Zone on the museum’s website is packed  full of fun educational resources, including drawings to paint and  colour and a Regents Canal Quiz. There are also brief illustrated notes that can teach historical facts in an entertaining way.
Rebecca Mills, a teacher of Year 5 students says,
“The Learning Zone contains a series of enquiries with key questions and bite size chunks of information, excellent  for developing independent learners in upper key stage 2 and key stage 3 (ages 10 – 14).
There are also great lesson plans for key stages 1 to 3 (ages 5 - 14) in the Teacher zone, the activities are fun and varied with clear cross curricular links, learning objectives and differentiation. Also, in the Teacher Zone you can find outlines of workshops and gallery links as well as comprehensive teacher notes.
Too cool for school? The museum is housed in a former ice warehouse built  around 1862 and features the history of the ice trade and ice cream as well as the canals.

The London Canal Museum
12-13 New Wharf Road,
Kings Cross
London N1 9RT.
Telephone:  020 7713 0836
This article was published in the September issue of Towpath Talk.

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