Romans – Pompeii Live

21 Jun

We’ve been doing quite a lot on the Romans recently.  This has mostly been fuelled by the eldest and her interests, but also by lots of visits that have been organised recently by local home ed community. We’ve been to Chedworth Roman Villa and explored mosaics, every day Roman life, and how their houses are laid out; Carleon Roman Legion Museum, Baths and Amphitheatre near Newport, Wales (incidentally one of the best museums we’ve ever been to) where we met a Roman Doctor, learned all about Legions, Centurions, and barrack rooms, as well as played for ages in the huge amphitheatre; we met Caroline Lawrence at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, we’ve borrowed a loan box of Roman artefacts from our local museum (Gloucester Folk Museum), so we learned all about strigils, wax tablets and stylii, oil lamps, face pots etc.; We’ve been to the heritage open days and seen the original Roman gate towers around Gloucester City Centre, hidden underneath the bustling street at the Eastgate Viewing Chamber. We’ve made roman shields, created mosaics and dressed up in togas.

This week I booked us to see the British Museums’s Pompeii Live schools event showing at our local Cineworld cinema. It was aimed at KS2 children, and I initially booked thinking I’d take my eldest daughter E along, who would be coming to the end of yr4, and has so far expressed all the interest in the Romans.

This is where Home Ed plays tricks. I dismiss the younger ones (aged 6 and 4), thinking they’re not ready for any formal learning, but they’ve come along to the visits, taken part in all the activities.

This day, E announced that she had no interest whatsoever in going to Pompeii Live, and only wanted to go the new sports group running at the same time. Grrr. 6 yr old H pipes up, asking whether Romans had dogs. Did they wear collars and have leads? Question after question, after question. The plans changed! H accompanied me to the Pompeii Live showing:

The countdown screen at Pompeii Live

It turns out when I’d been dragging her along to all these Roman-related activities, information had been invisibly seeping in to that busy brain of hers. She knew all about strigils, and the bathing activities of Romans, what they used to write with, and their love of fish sauce.

If they bring out a DVD of Pompeii Live, or in some other format, get it! It will be a brilliant resource. It brought together all our learning about the period, and put it into context and it explained it all far better than I could. A lot of it we already knew, but we learned lots of new things, like what a dormouse actually looked like (they’re really big!!), and the different types of volcanic eruption complete with fantastic live experiments to demonstrate. We loved the Ketchup King, and the reaction of the school kids when he tried to put his fish sauce on their nice Pizza Express reward for doing his taste testing experiment! We loved Ed Petrie and his enthusiasm at the experiments done brilliantly by Volcanologists Jon Stone, Jenni Barclay and Anna Hicks.  We loved Andrew Wallace-Hadrill and his introduction to archaeology, and of course Caroline Lawrence as a scary Roman teacher!

I asked H if she’d learned anything new. “Yes!” she said, “I didn’t know about the volcano before”. So I’d managed to miss telling them anything about Pompeii before! Fail…

We’ve now downloaded the Pompeii Live app and it is fantastic.  With it’s interactive map, event timeline and exhibit descriptions. We’re going to enjoy coming back to it again and again. Only thing left is to plan a visit to the British Museum itself!

Just been through my photos and picked a few out of our recent Roman-related escapades:

Playing Tabula – Roman board game

H did a presentation on the uses of wee in Roman times 🙂

L dressed as a Roman soldier

Centurion at Carleon

I realised that Pompeii Live had been aimed at 7-11 yr olds, and covered almost everything we have in recent months. I think I can give myself a pat on the back for managing to do the same when E is only 8 and H is 6. Home Ed rocks!!!

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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in history, Home Education


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