Key stage 2

The Museum is an inspiring setting for learning, offering a range of fun and informative hands-on sessions and online resources. Visits are up to two hours long and include a 45-minute handling workshop and a self-guided trail in the Museum. Sessions involve groupwork, discussion and problem-solving activities based on handling Museum specimens, and are linked to the national curriculum. Please book to arrange your visit.

Evolve, Adapt, Survive: Evolution

Through close observation and handling of specimens, children explore how animals have evolved to survive in their habitats. We look at the work of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace on natural selection and examine important fossil evidence of the history of life. In the self-guided component of the session, children borrow the Museum's iPads to complete the Sensing Evolution trail, with celebrated wildlife presenter Steve Backshall as their guide.

Charles Darwin statue

Evolve, Adapt, Survive: Evolution session outline

Rock Stars

Investigate the difference between rocks and minerals, and discover how essential they are in our everyday lives. Take a hands-on journey through the rock cycle to explore the three types of rock that make up our planet. Children become geologists, using close observation skills and new knowledge to sort and identify rocks.

Girl touching a rock at the Museum

Rock Stars session outline

Nantan meteorite

Rock Stars trail: Years 3 and 4

Rocks at the Museum of Natural History in Oxford

Rock Stars trail: Years 5 and 6

Dinosaur Detectives

Use roleplay to understand fossilisation and discover the definition of a dinosaur. Pupils handle a wide range of fossils, from bones to footprints and even fossilised poo! They learn how scientists can use fossils to interpret the lives of dinosaurs and discover their evolutionary relationship with today’s living ‘dinosaurs’ – birds.

T rex in the main court of the Museum

Dinosaur Detectives: Session outline

Dinosaur Oxfordshire Eustreptospondylus

Dinosaur Detectives trail: Years 3 and 4

Student drawing the foot of a dinosaur in the Museum

Dinosaur Detectives trail: Years 5 and 6

The Skeleton Crew

Investigate the different types of animal skeleton – including our own – using mime and movement. The session looks at hydrostatic, exo- and endoskeletons, and gets hands-on with specimens from jellyfish and worms to corals and elephants. Pupils look at bone growth and structure, and how to keep bones healthy. After close observation of some common British animal skeletons, pupils are challenged to identify the animals.

Skeletons from left to right: giraffe, Irish elk, dromedary and young Asian elephant

The Skeleton Crew session outline

Children observing the mammal skeletons at the Museum

The Skeleton Crew trail: Years 3 and 4

Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) with reindeer and rhino skeletons in background

The Skeleton Crew trail: Years 5 and 6

Life in the Undergrowth: Insects in their habitats

Investigate bug anatomy and classification, and discover the essential role that insects play for life on the planet. Learn about the secret lives in insects' micro-habitats and how they are adapted to them.

Children learning about insects at the Museum

Insects in their habitats session outline

Queen Alexandra's Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae)

Insects in their habitats: Years 3 and 4

Insects collection, Oxford Museum of Natural History

Insects in their habitats: Years 5 and 6

Remarkable Victorian Women

Gain a new perspective on Victorian life through the eyes of two amazing women on this two-hour guided workshop with local history links. Tour the museums with these visitors from the past: the fossil hunter Mary Anning in Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the explorer Mary Kingsley in the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Remarkable Victorian Women

Remarkable Victorian Women session outline

List of site pages