The Appliance of Science; Education Correspondent Richard Warburton Finds out How the New Thinktank Discovery Museum Aims to Switch Children on to Science by Giving Them First-Hand Experience of Science and Technology Past, Present and Future

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Byline: Richard Warburton

It has taken nearly two years and a dedicated army of teachers, experts and schoolchildren to develop Thinktank's unique education experience which gives a whole new meaning to science and discovery.

On September 29 the first children to take part in the pounds 50 million centre's education programme will be able to get their hands on polar bear blubber, take the controls of a digger, and track down an international jewel thief - all in the name of learning.

Among the fun and excitement of Thinktank's 11 workshops, two science shows and activity trails, children of all ages will work closely with specially trained staff to make science come to life.

The workshops have been meticulously researched and developed to support the national curriculum and compliment the acres of exhibitions in Thinktank's ten galleries of discovery.

A breathtaking array of subjects will be taught in Thinktank's education suite, with workshops split into different age groups from pre-school toddlers to primary school pupils, secondary school students and adult learners. Three specially appointed education officers will work with classes from all over the country to bring science alive and prove there is more to learning than stuffy classrooms and musty books.

Sue Shave, Thinktank's education programme manager, said the education team would be able to tailor a visit by a class of 36 pupils to meet any group's requirements.

'We have put a huge emphasis on the real-life application of science and have put together an extensive programme designed to give schoolchildren as much fun as possible as they learn,' she said.

'It is one thing to sit in a classroom reading about a million-year-old fossil in a book, but it's an altogether different experience being able to hold it in your hand.

'Many schools just don't have the facilities that we have here and we have an amazing array of resources at our disposal to bring science alive and switch youngsters on to what science, technology, geography and citizenship is all about. …