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Discovery Zones

Time/Date - 10:00 - 17:00, Tue 6 Jan 2015 - Tue 1 Dec 2020

The Ulster Museum interactive discovery centres, Discover Art, History and Nature offer unique and exciting learning experiences.
They are the places to get your hands on some of the most unusual and fascinating items from the collections.

Discovery Centre opening times:   10.00am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 5.00pm.

Please note that the Discovery Centres close for lunch 1.00 - 2.00pm.

Discovery Centres will also close for booked school groups so it may not always be possible to gain access to all or some of the centres during your visit.

The best way to make sure you can see the centre of your choice is to book one of the Discovery Centre programmes.

Take a closer look at the interactive discovery centres by clicking on the images below:

Discover ArtDiscover HistoryChildren taking part in an interactive workshopLooking through a microscope in Discover NatureDiscover NatureChildren taking part in an interactive workshopSpiders in Discover NatureDiscover Nature

Discover Art

The purpose of these areas is to encourage pupils to explore, discover and question the world around us and to develop their skills of thinking, problem-solving and decision-making.

Schools can book curriculum-based learning sessions delivered by our demonstrators. During your 45 minute session your class has exclusive use of the Discovery Centre.

Teachers and supervising adults must stay with their pupils in the Discovery Centres.

Sessions available in each Centre are listed below.

Discover Art Sessions

Discover Art is designed to help children learn about art through making things, creative play and experimentation. School sessions begin by focusing on one of the collection’s highlights for inspiration followed by an art-making workshop. For workshop themes see below. The sessions are suitable for Key Stage 1 & 2 and are led by members of the discovery staff who are art specialists.

Session length: 45 mins to 1 hour. Cost: £60.00

Discover Art Session Themes

Choose a theme at time of booking or let staff decide what will work best for your class considering age group and current exhibitions. If you are keen to explore a particular topic or the life of an artist then get in touch and we will see what can be organised. 

Key Stage 1
All sessions are in two parts: starting with looking at and discussing works in the galleries, followed by a practical workshop. 
Teachers can choose a theme from the suggestions below or let staff decide what would work best with current exhibitions and the age of your class.

Middleton’s Imagination: Stories and Patterns
Look at the patterns in Colin Middleton’s paintings and imagine the stories they could be telling.  Followed by a workshop looking at the shapes and colours in Middleton’s landscapes.






© The Estate of Colin Middleton


Matisse’s Sea and Sky

Explore the shapes and movement in Henri Matisse’s wall hangings, Le Mer and La Ciel, and then paper make cut-outs exploring Matisse’s technique.






Lavery’s Travels
Explore the places and meet the people and in Sir John Lavery’s life,  followed by a pastel workshop looking at water and weather.











Key Stage 2


Making Faces
Examine a selection of portraits in the galleries and then make a portrait using collage.








Lavery’s Travels

Explore the places and meet the people and in Sir John Lavery’s life,  followed by a pastel workshop looking at water and weather.

Middleton’s Imagination: Stories and Patterns

Look at the patterns in Colin Middleton’s paintings and imagine the stories they could be telling.  Followed by a workshop looking at the shapes and colours in Middleton’s landscapes.



Matisse’s Sea and Sky
Explore the shapes and movement in Henri Matisse’s wall hangings, Le Mer and La Ciel, and then paper make cut-outs exploring Matisse’s technique.




 

Discover History Sessions

The aim of Discover History is to offer a unique learning experience for pupils by providing an opportunity to make connections between how people lived in the past and our lives today.

A diverse selection of artefacts from historical periods and world cultures will be available for pupils to investigate. Through the exploration of real objects pupils become aware of various skills that can be used to find out about the past and why history has a relevance to themselves.

Rather than focusing on one particular period, the pupils can engage in a range of fun activities introducing them to different types of historical evidence.

Key Stage1

This session provides an opportunity to let natural curiosity develop. Pupils will take part in a ‘History Hunt’ where they search the drawers, boxes and displays for key objects.

They can discover how people and places have changed over time by investigating the hands on displays, comparing lifestyles from the past and other cultures and listening to stories from around the world.

The session will conclude with a short overview of one of the following themes (teacher to select): Why can’t I wear flip flops at the North Pole? (How footwear is designed for different environments). Toy box (A selection of toys from long ago and the recent past).

Session Length: 45 mins Cost: £60

Key Stage 2

Pupils will participate in a number of engaging activities such as reconstructing a skull to determine the cause of death, investigating the similarities and differences between homes in the past, using maps and written evidence to locate the major Belfast industries in the Victorian period or experiencing the sensation of wearing chainmail. Time will also be available for pupils to make their own discoveries.

Session Length: 45mins Cost: £60 

Discover Nature Sessions

Discover Nature encourages pupils of all ages to explore the wonders of our natural world. Through observation, handling and investigation using microscopes and binoculars, pupils will become more aware of what’s in their world both close to home and far away.

Through visiting Discover Nature, and talking with the Centre’s demonstrators, pupils will be made aware that they all have an active role in protecting our world and preserving it for future generations.


Don’t forget to bring your camera. There are lots of photographic opportunities especially with our full-sized Bengal tiger!

Foundation

Discover Nature activities for our younger visitors are designed to encourage observation and accurate recording. Each young scientist is given a clipboard with two sheets of simple activities.

The first has animals from Discover Nature, but what is missing from each? Simple drawing completes the picture. The second sheet has outlines of some of the beautiful butterflies from the drawers in Discover Nature.

These outlines must be filled with butterfly patterns as well as the proper colours. We are constantly surprised in Discover Nature by the ability, accuracy and enthusiasm of these younger visitors!

Session length: 45mins  Cost: £60

Key Stage 1

Each pupil receives a Discover Nature booklet of curriculum -linked activities which encourage them to observe closely and record accurately.

They will work in small groups to investigate camouflage,  determine the differences between insects and spiders, look at animals from our town and countryside and handle some of the biggest teeth in the world.

The completed booklet can be taken back to school and used for further work. The activities are designed so that the pupils will also have some free exploration time to look at the contents of the drawers, examine minibeasts under the microscope as well as handling mammals, reptiles, fossils, crystals and shells.

Session Length: 45 mins Cost: £60

Key Stage 2

Wow! is what we hear most often in Discover Nature!

Key stage 2 activities consolidate classroom learning about the natural world.

However, it is not simple revision, the activity booklet given to each pupil requires them to use their thinking skills to make links between what they have learnt in the classroom, what they observe in Discover Nature and what happens in the real world.

At every stage the pupils are encouraged to work in small groups and to handle and touch all the specimens.

Do you think they could name a collection of weird invertebrates? All they need is a really good key!

Session length: 45mins  Cost: £60





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