Exploring Cultural Heritage

I’d been wanting to focus on Place-Based Education for a while, and being at home more has given us lots of scope to immerse ourselves in just that. After a series of Themed Learning Days, we’re spreading our Place-Based learning across a week for each theme, a little each day.

This week, we explored some of the cultural influences on the UK and the region of North-West England (as that’s our local area).

Day 1 – The Big Picture

We used these resources to get a feel for what ‘cultural heritage’ is, and how migration happens:

‘What Is Cultural Heritage?’ (3 mins) – video from a Future Learn course.

Video on migration in European History from Crash Course – migration video, 13mins (as with alot of Crash Course videos, not really suitable for younger children).

Video about migration in the 20th century ‘The Making Of Britain’ (4 mins), from Our Migration Story

Game about the history of immigration into the UK from various countries, which I adapted from a game on TES called ‘Is Britain a Nation of Immigrants’ – I didn’t use the main presentation as the tone didn’t sit well with me, but I adapted the sorting game into a matching game and timeline activity by separating the names from the details.

Day 2 – Indigenous Britain: The Celts

Life-sized board game, with the objective of collecting Celtic artefacts from historic locations. Life-sized board games are one of our favourite ways to engage in embodied learning. I usually create them for historical themes, using A4 pieces of paper on the floor for the board squares, and adding event cards related to the theme that are positive (go forward/extra go) or negative (go backwards/miss a go).

For this game, I added skirmishes with other Celtic tribes to some squares – a dice roll to see if you win & go forwards/miss a go. This game included some maths (calculating points for items collected), writing (adding new event cards to improve the game), and strategic thinking (balancing collecting items against finishing first). Here’s what the board looked like:

(Past themes for lifesized board games have included the Gold Rush and Robin Hood).

Day 3 – Our Industrial Heritage

Business Simulation – Cotton Manufacture During The Industrial Revolution’ – a print-and-play game from TES (we do like a bit of gameschooling!). We played a simplified version of the game which still created an opportunity for lots of purposeful maths. Plus it led to a discussion of how the industrial revolution has contributed to our cultural heritage.

Day 4 – Regional Influences

I made a matching game with flags and pictures of items to represent cultural influences for the North West of England – these were Chinese, Italian, Irish, Persian. The boy had to do a bit of research to look up the flags, and then match them to the relevant item photo. I also found articles and videos to explore each item further, including the history of Italian immigrants starting ice cream businesses, the history of the Curry Mile in Manchester, and a video about regional accents.

Day 5 – Musical Heritage (North Of England)

We watched clips of documentaries about music that emerged from Liverpool in the 60s, Sheffield in the 80s and Manchester in the 90s.

If you’re looking for more homeschooling ideas, scroll back through the previous posts…

Ecology Interactives

To complement the learning that emerges from our nature walks, I found a few resources to help us continue building ecological literacy.

Seed dispersal investigation:

With all the dandelion seeds flying around at the moment, it made sense to explore this further. A few things we used were:

Blowing In The Wind’ article that breaks down the different types of windborne seeds. This prompted some dissection of items we’ve brought in for the nature table.

Videos of different methods of seed dispersal, collated by Project Learning Tree

Seed dispersal activity from Science Buddies – a nice combination of craft upcycling with an engineering challenge

We also enjoyed these hands-on activities:

Plant life cycle printable activity from Superstar Worksheets

Carbon cycle interactive online game from the Met Office

Carbon cycle interactive activity from Live Worksheets

DIY Lake Science app

Plus a couple of videos:

Crash Course Ecology: Rules For Living On Earth – the mention of biomes was a good tie-in with Minecraft!

I also found a video from the Compassion In World Farming education resources that fit well with some discussions we’ve been having about ethical food. (Lunch was a ‘farm food chain’ example – a chicken sandwich).

Some resources we’ve used to support outdoors place-based education are:

We adapted the Urban Biokit from Environment Canada

The Walking Curriculum from ImaginED (there’s a free sample at the bottom of the linked page).

‘Into The Wild Woods’ – a Mesolithic-inspired map making resource from Forestry and Land Scotland (we used it as a starting point for making our own maps of our local area).

If you’ve found these resources helpful, you can find other themed learning days by scrolling through the site or clicking the ‘themed learning day’ tag below.

Canada Interactive Learning Day

These themed learning days at home have replaced our usual trips to museums, while we’re on lockdown. Today we had lots of fun exploring Canada as a theme, using these resources.

We set the scene with a virtual walk in Banff National Park from Tall Sky Walker

‘Animals Of Canada’ video from The Touring Teacher – with interesting facts & videos of animals.

Banff National Park – A Wild Year video – lots of animals, shot in time lapse through the seasons. We had fun trying to identify them all.

We touched on indigenous Canadian culture with some activity sheets from the Inuit Cultural Online Resource – which prompted some research about what an Inuksuk is, and a look at our wall map of the world to reflect on climate conditions in the region. Plus we did some colouring using Haida-inspired sheets from Super Colouring

Online games from Montreal Science Centre (some of these are aimed at teens rather than younger kids) – not all of them are really about Canada, but we loved the ‘Hoax or Real?’ critical thinking game. We’d definitely visit this museum if we ever took a trip to Montreal.

Lastly, a print-and-play game about French settlers in Canada called ‘Habitant: New France RPG’ from Canadian Homeschooler (in the History Section). A great game including plenty of purposeful maths, role play and learning about managing natural resources.

If you’d like more ideas for themed interactive learning days, take a look around the blog for previous ones we’ve done. (Go to Home & scroll back through, or click on ‘themed learning day’ tag below).

Ancient Cultures Virtual Learning Day

Prepping this one reminded me why I love home educating: discovering how people lived long ago, and creating pictorial maps were the sort of things I loved to immerse myself in as a kid, and now I get to do it all over again!

There are so many great resources out there, these are just a few that we used for this theme…

Flint-sorting activity from Museum Of London (printable)

Mesolithic Map Making activity from Forestry Scotland – we used some of the ideas to make maps of our local neighbourhood, based on our daily walks:

Met Museum Time Machine

Indigenous Americans learning activities from the Smithsonian Museum of American History

Making ‘Roman custard’ using 2 different recipes from Cook It! and My Culinary Saga – this was more of a science experiment than a dessert-making exercise (also practical maths, as we divided the recipe quantities to use a single egg for each). We weren’t all that keen on how the results tasted, but it led to an interesting comparison between the two recipes, and also compared to a tin of modern custard. We discussed what happens to food texture when different ingredients are used, including the additives that go into more processed foods.

Excavate! Mesoamerica game (we used the iPad app) – an archaeology game in which you use tools you uncover artifacts, and discover what they tell you about the culture that used them.

By accident, this theme also fitted quite well with our Celtic-inspired Beltane celebration which was planned for the same week.

If you liked this post, you can find more virtual learning days in previous posts (just scroll back through the blog).

‘Mysterious Scotland’ Learning Day At Home

Scotland is an enduring interest in our house – Celts and Clans mostly. As our trip to Scotland has been put on hold, we had a little online exploration instead, using these resources:

Videos about Celtic Scotland – (we watched the ones about the crannog).

Urquhart Castle virtual tour

Themed snack – we baked some shortbread (with a quick bit of maths to work out the shockingly high amount of butter and sugar!)

Scottish clans – I found a map of the clan territories and challenged the boy to find the family clan. This led to a wondering about who their enemies were, so we looked up a bit of history to answer the question, and found a link back to Urquhart Castle. I’d found a course about Scottish Clans on Futurelearn, so we watched an archaeology video from that, which led to a re-discovery of the kids metal detector we have lying around the house…

Loch Ness Monster – to finish off we watched a documentary which covered a surprising amount about scientific method and natural history.

If you liked this post, you can find other virtual days out that we’ve done on this site.

Science Museum-At-Home

Science Museums are one of our firm favourites to visit when we can get out and about. Here’s my at-home version – this one ended up (unintentionally) having quite an earth and life sciences theme.

Encounter With Earth’ video from Maraikan Museum Tokyo (30 mins), the style is good for fans of Japanese anime.

Interactives station – I used this printable activity from Exploratorium and made a second activity from pictures of the moon phases to put in order (harder than I thought!)

Planetarium showFrom Earth To The Universe’ (30 mins)

Snack time: edible scienceMaking maple candy from Science Buddies and using the temperature chart from this post on The Spruce Eats

Interactive game ‘Total Darkness’ from London Science Museum a really great combination of investigation, puzzle solving and choose-your-own-adventure.

If you liked this, you can find other virtual field trips in previous posts.

Japan Virtual Trip

Virtual trips are becoming a valued part of our week at the moment – today was Japan, which has been an area of interest for a while. Here’s what we got up to…

Virtual cherry blossom festivalCherry blossom video from Japan Forward (we skipped through this a bit to look at the images), plus live feed – which prompted an exploration of differing time zones, and a re-visit of the live cam just before bedtime.

Japanese house tour and ‘Visit the House’ video from Boston Childrens Museum

Japanese language games from Digital Dialects – we had fun with the fruit and colours games.

Snack time – Japanese rice crackers! (apparently a themed snack is a most important element of these virtual days out)

Mount Fuji – fun facts from Easy Science For Kids, plus pics from a live feed

Tokyo National Museum virtual tour

Colouring station – Hokusai colouring sheets from Supercolouring.com (I laid it out like a colouring station in a museum, in a separate room with coloured pencils), plus a short animated video about the artist Hokusai from Eamon Stewart. We did the Wave, Kingfisher, Carp and Dragon, and then we looked up the Hokusai originals to see how close we were to the actual colour schemes.

If you’d like more ideas for virtual trips online, scroll back through this site to see other ones we’ve done.