Monday, 9 June 2014

Woolsthorpe Manor

After some chastisement from my father regarding the lack of posts, and the fact that today I actually have something to write about, there's finally ... A blog post!

We recently joined the National Trust and today we've been on an educational visit to Woolsthorpe Manor, the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton.

Entrance into the small car park for the disabled
There's parking for the disabled right by the entrance, and just off this little car park is a small grassy picnic area which we made use of mid-way through our visit.  The main car park is about 100 yards away on the other side of the road.

The old goat house, now the entrance into Woolsthorpe Manor
Our first stop was the film room, via the second-hand book shop and an activity room that looks like it's used as a classroom for school groups.  We watched the short film about "the strange young man who didn't think like other people" then spent some time in the classroom area looking through the various activities.

Next stop was the science discovery centre, which Small was fascinated with.  I must confess that in the years since I left school, I'd forgotten just how many great discoveries and theories the great man came up with - although as we found out, he wasn't always right!  In his experiments with light, Newton apparently theorised that all the colours of the visible spectrum were primary colours, which we now know not to be the case.  There's lots to see and do, although unfortunately photography wasn't permitted so I can't show you what we saw.  It's all hands-on though, with activities involving light, Kepler's laws of planetary motion, a refracting telescope, and what looked like an air hockey table to demonstrate Newton's laws of motion.  Upstairs are more simple experiments that children can enjoy.

Don't forget to look up at the ceiling which has the planets, known in Newton's time, suspended from the rafters.

We tried to do the "human sun dial" but it had clouded over, so we moved on to the orchard where a descendant of the original apple tree, under which Newton was sitting when he came up with his theory of gravitational force, still grows.

The famous apple tree
Next was the manor house itself, and while I tried to read as many of the information boards as I could, it was hard work as I kept being dragged off to the next room on a "mouse hunt".  To explain, there are several little wooden mice hidden around the house and younger children are encouraged to figure out where they are from a list of clues given to them when they enter the house.  Small thought this was far more fun than reading about Newton!  He completed the trail and was given a mouse hunt sticker.

We went back to the discovery centre for more fun, with thunder booming overhead.  Just as we got back to the car to leave, the sun came out so we went back in and walked up to the "human sundial" again, and Small was able to see what it was supposed to demonstrate.  Making sure he was standing on the area of tiles marked "June", sure enough, the sundial told him the time, which was approximately 2.30.  This was an hour out of course, as sundials make no allowances for daylight saving time!

The human sundial
We had a fantastic time at Woolsthorpe Manor, and I'm certain we'll go back when Small is a little bit older and better able to understand some of the concepts.  I tried my best to explain some of them to him but he was more keen on playing with the interactive things in the discovery centre than knowing any of the science behind them :(

Rear of Woolsthorpe Manor
View of the front of the manor house
A very worthwhile place to visit whether you're a home educator or not, and I feel very privileged to have been able to stand in the room where Sir Isaac Newton was born, to walk where he came up with his theories on gravity, and visit the room where he came up with some of his greatest work.

Until next time. x

1 comment:

  1. Hello, nice to see you back posting. I nearly crossed you off my list!
    That looks a brilliant place for everyone to visit at any age.


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