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‘Open Door, Explore’ Self-Programmed Wednesdays at The Manchester Museum Living Worlds Gallery – KS4 (Booking Essential)

This activity uses observational drawing as a means to explore the gallery specimens creatively and as a prompt to compose imaginative narrative. The Living Worlds gallery, on floor one, explores the connections between all living things, including us, and shows how we can all shape the future by the choices we make. This simple technique involves the collaborative effort of every student in the group to design a number of animal-based ‘characters’ for them to create a series of stories about in order to encourage creative thinking. Below is a guide for how to engage your students in this activity: 1. Provide each student with a piece of paper divided into four sections (use the ones provided if you like) and tell them to find a skeletal head on display to record in the top section. Give them a time limit of two minutes to record as much detail as possible. 2. Encourage students to use the items on display to fuel their imagination and draw from the plentiful examples amongst nature for each section of their ‘new character’. 3. Once this has been done, ask students to fold down their contribution and ensure there are clear markings where the next student should start from. 4. Each student must now swap their piece of paper with a classmate. 5. Repeat this process with each of the sections being filled in with a part of the body, remembering that the paper must be folded down each time. They will each draw: a. Head b. Torso/Arms c. Legs /Hands d. Feet 6. Once everyone has contributed to each section get students to do a final swap and reveal their new ‘character’. 7. With the remaining 15 minutes encourage students to write a ‘biography’ of the animal on the back of the page. This might be how it survives in the natural world, what skills and abilities might it have, or how it interacts with others of its kind. Materials required for this activity (not provided): Resource sheet (print out as required) Pencils Clipboards Post-visit suggestion: Use the biographies created back in the classroom to develop the students writing skills and vocabulary and write some excellent fictional narrative to bring their favourite designed characters to life! Link the work in with the science curriculum to discuss the likelihood of these ‘characters’ surviving in the natural world and the adaptations that could have evolved to support this.

Have you remembered to book your ‘Open Door, Explore’ Self Programmed activities with our Bookings Officer on 0161 275 2630? You can also request to use our lunch room for your group. Risk Assessments are available on the website. Also, please check for any suggested materials that you may need to bring with you on the day.





In each section below draw one part of a ‘monster’ using the specimens on the gallery as inspiration. Once you have drawn one section, fold the paper over and pass onto a classmate. Remember to draw lines down over the fold to show the next person where to start from.

Living Worlds Characters (Hums)  

Materials required for this activity (not provided): Resource sheet (print out as required) Pencils Clipboards This activity uses observatio...

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