From Science to Shakespeare - Educational Tours in London February 06 2012
For many students, a trip abroad is the highlight of their year – and rightly so. It's a chance to learn hands-on about different cultures and explore the world with friends and enthusiastic educators. Organize one of your senior class trips in London and center it around the great museums and landmarks of the city, many of which are free to enter thanks to the now defunct Labour government's efforts to democratize culture.
The Tate Modern is dramatically housed in the modernist Bankside power station, with a 35 meter high turbine hall, 152 meters in length. It is also handily situated within close proximity of The Globe, the famous reconstruction of Shakespeare's theater, and its riverside location makes it handy for having lunch or snacks.
There are several free galleries, all themed around art movements from 1900 onwards. The Poetry and Dream gallery focuses on Surrealism and the way the artists connected their present to the past, including work by Miro and Dali. A few levels above, the 'States of Flux' exhibit explores early twentieth-century movements such as Vorticism, Cubism and Futurism, looking at how the ideas expressed broke with traditional concepts of Art. Students will likely identify with the Pop Art on show, the bright colors and collage textures reflecting the diversity of urban life.
The Tate also has educational tours in mind with its artist-led workshops designed to develop critical thinking and personal responses. All the workshops vary according to the person leading them and teachers' choices of themes, but all involve looking at art works and formulating questions.
Kids will love the Launchpad, the Science Museum's most popular gallery. Here you can experience technology hands-on, with such marvels as dry ice ponds where nuggets of carbon dioxide turn straight from a solid to a gas and dance along the surface, light tables where you can bounce multi-colored rays of light off mirrors and a thermal camera showing which parts of us are hottest.
There are other object-rich rooms and one of the most interesting is The Making of the Modern World gallery. Here you can discover iconic objects which dramatically changed the world in which we live. You'll see such ground-breaking items as the Apollo 10 command capsule, Crick and Watson's DNA model and a debris-encrusted porcelain bowl retrieved from the aftermath of Hiroshima in 1945.
There's also an IMAX cinema showcasing award-winning films in 3D which were created to raise awareness of various modern-world issues. One of the films on show this year is Deep Sea, narrated by Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp which discusses the importance of biological diversity and exposes the problems of over-fishing and bottom trawling can cause to healthy sea-life.
Sponsorship from Deutschebank means that The Globe theatre is able to offer free tickets to schools – so far, an astonishing 1,000,000 free tickets have been handed out in the name of education.
The world famous theatre was rebuilt on the Southbank and opened in 1997 with Mark Rylance at the helm as its first artistic director. The 2012 season will be an exciting one, as its will see Rylance return to The Globe for the first time in his widely acclaimed role as Olivia in The Twelfth Night. This particular production will have an all-male cast and will explore theatre in the context of Shakespeare's original performances. A tale of cruelty and comedy, the play hosts some unforgettable characters and showcases that age-old theme of unrequited love. It also has some of the most beautiful songs Shakespeare ever wrote.
If fantastic production's not enough, The Globe also offers workshops crafted to enhance the play the students will watch after the session, which helps to fully engage students in the plays. Activities involve whole group, small group and one-to-one active drama exercises designed to explore and create meaning through words and body language. The sessions are highly inclusive and fun for all students on senior class trips – even the shy ones!
Becky is a teacher in training with a passion for travelling the globe.