If we look closely, rocks tell us the story of their formation. So, grab your notebook and set out on a mini field trip to find out more about how the formation of a rock reflects its physical properties, and what properties architects look for in a building stone.

here are many different types of volcanoes. Shield volcanoes have a broad rounded shape and gentle splattery eruptions often described as fire fountains. Strato volcanoes are sharp and steep sided and have violent explosive eruptions. But what makes these two types of volcano look and erupt so differently? It is mainly controlled by how think (viscous) or runny the magma in the volcano is...

In this experiment you can use 3 different thickness (viscosity) liquids to see what differences runny or thick magma can cause in volcanoes.

Volcanic eruptions are driven by gas dissolved in molten rock (magma) underground trying to escape upwards. But what happens if the gas gets trapped and can't get out?

In this experiment you can trap more and more gas in a sealed container, in the same way gas can get trapped in a volcano, and see what happens...

Download the instructions and information sheet.

 

Volcanoes form when hot molten rock (magma) under the ground erupts at the surface, but what causes the molten rock to erupt? Eruptions are often driven by gases escaping…

In this experiment you can start a chemical reaction that creates a gas, and see how the gas escaping drives an eruption.

This experiment and video was devised by the Volcano Seismology group in the Earth Science Department, University of Cambridge.

Download the instructions and information sheet.

We offer facilitated workshops and self-led visits. There is no charge for our school sessions, but we welcome donations to support the Museum learning programme (recommended donation of £2 per child). Get in touch with the Museum Education Coordinator to discus your visit museumeducation@esc.cam.ac.uk

School Visits

On Wednesdays, the Polar Museum although closed to the general public, will be open for pre-booked school group visits (one morning/one afternoon). Priority will be given to school groups who are visiting as part of a polar project. This arrangement will last until the end of 2021. You will lead your group around the museum accompanied by a member of our education team. We are happy to lend you clipboards and pencils. There is a suggested donation of £1 per child for a class group visit to the Polar Museum.

Rituals and Beliefs focuses on the scene from a plaster cast taken of a stone lintel from the doorway of a temple in the city of Yaxchilan, now in modern day Mexico, and dating from 709AD.

The images depict a blood-letting ritual being performed by Lady K'ab'al Xook and her husnabd King Shield Jaguar. Lady K'ab'al Xook can be seen pulling a rope of thorns through her tongue in order to collect blood in a bowl filled with bark paper. Both figures are wearing jade and obsidian jewellery and dressed in resplendent costumes made fo fur and elaborate fabrics. 

How did the ancient Maya express their identity? What objects did they use to show their power? What can archaeology tell us about Maya life? These are some of the questions we will discuss while students learn how to read a Maya monument and handle objects from Central and South America.

How does burning fossil fuels threaten Antarctic marine life?

This experiment demonstrates the link between increasing carbon dioxide levels and ocean acidification and freshening oceans. Freshwater and more acidic water in the oceans make life harder for Antarctica’s marine animals.

The experiment and video were made by Nick Barrett. Nick is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge Earth Science Department and The British Antarctic Survey investigating the resistance of Antarctic marine species to predicted freshening and lower salinity in the Southern Ocean.

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