Museum Evaluation

The advent of the National Curriculum in England and Wales necessitated many teachers having to lead their pupils through areas of the curriculum for which they felt inadequately prepared. One such area was science and in looking for appropriate assistance many teaches turned to the growing number of Interactive Science Centres. These teachers included not only those from primary schools but also many secondary teachers faced with teaching outside their particular science specialisms.

In these circumstances, many classes visit the Centres not for purposes of supplementary interest or consolidation but as the primary means of covering various aspects of the new curriculum. In consequence, if the visiting pupils are to gain maximum benefit from interaction with the exhibits at the Centres, they need careful preparation, some structuring of their visiting time and appropriate follow-up activities.

To these ends CRIPSAT has helped two such Centres develop materials with which to help teachers who intend visiting with their classes. The Centres are:

*Jodrell Bank Science Centre and Arboretum (which has exhibits covering most aspects of the Physical Processes aspect of the Science National Curriculum).

* Ship Shape at the Liverpool Maritime Museum (which has exhibits, based on boats, that provided visitors with opportunities to address the Experimental and Investigative Science section of the National Curriculum).

The development of the Teachers' Packs involved trialing and evaluation with many visiting teachers and pupils. The packs included, in addition to administrative details and background information specific to each Centre, suggestions for:

* activities with which to prepare pupils so that they are better able to appreciate the interactive exhibits;

* worksheets with which to target more closely the time pupils spend at the Centre;

* activities to be carried out on return to school in order that pupils may consolidate their new experiences and capitalise on their new interests.

CRIPSAT, University of Liverpool, 126 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L69 3GR - 0151 794 3270