Great A-level day with Altrincham Grammar School

A couple of weeks ago we had a great A-level day with students from Altrincham Grammar School.

Fossil assemblage workshop

Louise Sutherland (from the learning team) and I met the group of students at about 10 and we went up to the Life Lab for the workshops. We began with the drawing fossils workshop, concentrating on bivalves, brachiopods and trilobites. The beauty of running this session in the museum is that we use complete fossils from the collection that really help with the drawings.

After this I showed them some of the more spectacular trilobites from the collection and we went on to the next activity: reconstructing fossil enviroments. The students were given a mystery box of fossils and asked to interpret the environment and deduce the age. The students did really well and by the end of the session were able to sum up their findings using fossils and range charts.

We then looked at more spectacular fossils from the Solnhofen Limestone and some amber.

Store tour

After lunch, we went on a tour of the stores and did the new dinosaur footprints workshop. The workshop uses amazing footprint fossils from the collection and asks the students to interpret a simulated trackway. This was done through measuring stride and foot lengths and calculating height and speed.

The workshops and tours seemed to go down a storm and the evaluation showed it was an exciting and useful introdouction to fossils at A-level.

If you would like to book a workshop, please go to the post 16 page.

The Fishy treasures of Manchester Museum

I’ve been having a look at the fossil fish collection here at the museum in preparation for a visit by a researcher from Bristol University next week and I’d forgotten how amazing it is!

Fossil fish from the Devonian, 370 million years old

Dr Phil Andreson is coming up to Manchester to give a talk on The War Between Tooth and Food: Integrating experimental and theoretical analyses to understand dental morphology at the Faculty of Life Sciences here at the University. He also wants to have a look at the jaws and teeth of fossil fish from the Carboniferous, which forms the basis for his research.

We have a over 4500 fossil fish in the collection mostly from a dedicated collectors Hickling and Watson.

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