Discover our wide range of educational programmes

Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum offers a wide range of educational, curriculum focused activities; all fully led by trained and experienced providers. Our workshops follow the school curriculum, covering history, science, ecology and geology, and are suitable for key stages one to three. They involve role-play and artefacts to immerse the pupils into the experience of the mine and surrounding area. Our workshops can be further adapted as desired to suit any age group.

Investigate the hard life of a miner; learn to fight as a Viking, Saxon or Celt in costume; paint ice age cave paintings in a ‘cave’; dress as a Victorian and feel how a Victorian school child lived and was taught in a ‘real’ Sunday school.

To view our full Education Brochure for September 2016, click the button to download it or browse our full list of workshops below.

Making a Mark

Tees Valley Museums in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery have developed Making a Mark - a museum educational programme offering schools a variety of educational workshops to choose from. In return for your schools participation in Making a Mark, the visiting school group can enjoy either an additional day at the museum or an additional in-school workshop, all free of further charge.

From September 2016 involvement in these workshops will cost just £3 per head with a free additional session (in school or in museum).

We will provide greater resources, such as the opportunity to work with creative practitioners, or develop new artistic and/or creative skills. All activities are fully led by museum staff, volunteers and specialists. We also provide risk assessment guidance to support preparation for your visits. In return we ask that schools complete a partnership agreement which includes supplying basic group data and post visit feedback. Key Stage suitability is indicated next to each programme.

Explore our Workshops

Our engaging, hands-on workshops bring the classroom to life.

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Showing All Workshops

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A Changing Settlement

Half Day

Discover how the mining settlement has changed.

Learning Outcomes:

  • How the function, industries, services and buildings of the village have changed over time

Workshop Outline: Discover the ex-mining village on foot using archive photos

A Child’s War

Full Day

Discover life in wartime Skinningrove, take shelter in the mine during an air raid.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Mining as reserved occupation
  • How village life changed during the war

Workshop Outline: Explore the village as an evacuee and play artefact bingo.

A Coastal Mystery Revealed

Half Day

This workshop follows the ‘A Coastal Mystery’

Learning Outcomes:

  • Presenting evidence

Workshop Outline: Coastal evidence from the previous workshop is illustrated and presented at an ‘enquiry’ to decide the fate of the old jetty.

A Coastal Mystery

Half Day

Examine and the odd coastline of Skinningrove with gentle cliffs and sand dunes to the North, pebble beach and rocky shore with sheer cliffs in the South

Learning Outcomes:

  • Why the coastlines are so varied
  • Analysing evidence

Workshop Outline: Measurements and photos are taken, and the evidence is used to explain the varied coastline of Skinningrove. This workshop complements the ‘Talking rocks’ and the ‘Rock inspired’ workshop. This workshop follows with the ‘A Coastal Mystery Revealed’.

A valley collapse – a modern solution?

Half Day

An enquiry field work based half day introduced with short video and demonstration using the sand pit.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The collapse caused by the flood in 2000
  • The Disruption the flood caused
  • The solution to the collapse

Workshop Outline: Students follow the river bank, explore the collapse in 2000 which caused major traffic disruption on the A 174, view historical evidence of similar problems and view the engineering solution. This workshop complements the ‘Flooding- have people made it better?’ Workshop.

A Victorian Class Portrait

Half Day

Pose as miner by the North Drift in costume for a class portrait.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Miners hierarchy
  • Roles of the miners
  • How old photo's where taken

Workshop Outline: Have a class photograph taken in costume beside the north drift.

Arts Award Discover

2 Days

The Arts Award provides unique qualifications designed to support young people and inspire them towards greater engagement in arts and culture.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Engage KS2 students
  • Broaden their awareness of the Arts
  • Involve them in practical,creative activities
  • reward their success

Workshop Outline: The Museum’s programme is designed to engage students, broaden their awareness of the Arts by involving them in practical, creative activities and rewarding their success with a qualified certificate.


Full Day

Find seaweeds with armbands and other features, explore sand dunes and open sands.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Local Landscapes
  • Creatures that inhabit the landscape

Workshop Outline: Explore the fascinating seashore of Skinningrove. Look for drift wood and stone to create art work.

Beast Creator

Full Day

Explore and classify invertebrates from land and/or stream.

Learning Outcomes:

  • How the invertebrates have adapted to suit their environments
  • Food chains

Workshop Outline: Discover how the invertebrates are able to live where they do and discover their feeding relationships. Follow a design brief to create your own beast in teams using clay.

Benjamin Hall

Half Day

Explore the life of one miner by analysing census records

Learning Outcomes:

  • Using dip pens
  • Historical Census Records

Workshop Outline: Explore the family census records of a miner and his family. Lean how hard it was to write a simple letter.

Burning, expanding and exploding

Half Day

Investigate some of the main dangers of the mines through participative demonstrations

Learning Outcomes:

  • The dangers of mines

Workshop Outline: demonstrations and activities include, taking temperatures and exploring the ‘blasting experience’.

Darwin’s Delight

Full Day

Meet Mr Darwin, hear his tales of discovery and finds out how his views challenged the beliefs of Victorian England.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Natural selection
  • Evolution

Workshop Outline: Strategy- Explore evolution with invertebrates (land or stream). Evolve a design to build a new creature in teams.

Designs for Life

Half Day

Practise scientific drawing and design a super adapted creature.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Evolution and natural selection

Workshop Outline: Work in a group to design a super adapted creature and present to the rest of the group. This workshop complements the woodland investigation workshop.

Dinosaur Planet

All Day

Explore life under the oceans at the time of the dinosaurs.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Fossils
  • What different environments Dinosaurs lived in

Workshop Outline: use fossils, create dinosaur art on beach, and learn how to track Dinosaur footprints.

Enchanted Woodland

Full Day

Explore the woodland in the guise of a bird, choose your tree and take your seat for the woodland orchestra.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Ancient woodland

Workshop Outline: Take a journey of discovery into the Loftus ancient Woodlands.

Facing the Past

Half Day

Explore the stories of past miners.

Learning Outcomes:

  • How to read miners portraits

Workshop Outline: Learn how to read miners portraits and, using actual artefacts, explore their stories.

Field Sketch

30 Minutes

Complete a sketch of Skinningrove’s valley examining village.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The changing industrial landscape over time

Workshop Outline: Discover how the industrial landscape has changed by comparing and contrasting historical sketches with the present day landscape

Flooding- have people made it better?

Full Day

An enquiry field work based day using historical sources to consider flooding in the past.

Learning Outcomes:

  • What effect flooding has had on the area
  • What can be done to prevent flooding

Workshop Outline: Walk the river bank, explore a mosaic of the 2000 flood, collect evidence and decide if people have always acted to make flooding less of a problem. Video and field evidence to compare flooding in the past to compare to the 2000 floods.


Full Day

Discover the rivers journey from the moors in Skinningrove.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Rivers featurers
  • Map reading

Workshop Outline: Use OS maps to discover the journey of the river. Imagine valley formation using formation using our sandpit, and then explore and measure its river features on foot.

Gasping gases and ventilation

Half Day

Explore the mine’s ventilation systems.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn about
  • How the museum carries regular gas tests
  • Why the tests are regularly carried out
  • Dangers in bad gases like carbon dioxide and Methane the stuff we pump out!

Workshop Outline: This Session is Fully led by Trained Gas Testers with a real Gas tester

Iron Age: Celts Saxons and Vikings

Full Day

Meet a Celt, Saxon or Viking and investigate their home life and military career.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Celt, Saxon or Viking life
  • Life under Roman rule
  • Warfare techniques

Workshop Outline: This session is led by characters in authentic dress of the period who show you how they live and some of their homely artefacts. Dress up as a Saxon, Celt or Viking. Children have a chance to try on helmets and chainmail.

Land Ahoy

Full Day

Will you find the treasure with our maps and trail of clues?

Learning Outcomes:

  • Life on the ocean waves
  • Local sea monsters

Workshop Outline: Join the pirate captain for pirate drill and hear stories of famous pirates and the sea.

Magnetism and Electricity

Half Day

Investigate Faraday’s key experiments and findings though participative demonstrations.

Learning Outcomes:

Workshop Outline:

Mapping the Changes

Half Day

Examine maps and see how the village has evolved and developed.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Map-reading skills
  • Industrial development over 150 years

Workshop Outline: This workshop complements the ‘A changing settlement’ and ‘Field Sketch’.

Mighty Metals

Full Day

Explore magnets and electricity with Victorian physicist Michael Faraday.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Steel production
  • Faraday's key experiments

Workshop Outline: Strategy- Learn of the production of steel and follow our forces trail in the mine. Discover what issues trains had in the valley by operating our working model.

The Mining Experience

Half Day

Discover the challenges of miners working lives.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Life of a miner
  • Dangers miners faced

Workshop Outline: Take a guided tour underground and learn about the working lives of the miners.

Misty Mountain

Full Day

Pass a river mouth, cliffs, a jetty, sand dunes, seeing evidence of industry past and like Henry Pease in 1859, to a hilltop view of Saltburn.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Map skills
  • Work of Henry Pease
  • Local geography

Workshop Outline: Explore the wider area by map and learn about the areas industrial past.

Natural Selection & Evolution

Half Day

Meet Charles Darwin and discover the origin of species with real fossils!

Learning Outcomes:

  • How Charles Dawin challenged beliefs of Victoria England
  • Natural selection and evolution
  • Were our ancestors really apes?

Workshop Outline: Meet with Charles Darwin. Investigate both animal and plant life, or have a particular focus.


Full Day

Discover current food chains on the shore and compare them to prehistoric food chains

Learning Outcomes:

  • Food chains
  • Fossils

Workshop Outline: Explore the rocky shore to discover who eats who and explore the museum to explore prehistoric food chains from the past.


Full Day

Explore life in the industrial revolution through the life or ironstone miners.

Learning Outcomes:

  • How the mining settlement has changed

Workshop Outline: interrogate photo portraits, go to school and explore with archive images, how the village has changed.

Rock inspired

Half Day

Meet the ‘father of geology’, Victorian geologist William Smith.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The work of notable young Loftus geologist, Lewis Hunton
  • The work of William Smith

Workshop Outline: Smith a mining geologist, designed the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough and studied this coastline. Hunton’s work set the standard for fossil investigations today; pupils have an exciting ammonite experience! This workshop complements the ‘Talking rocks’ workshop.

Rock Pool Investigation or Sand Dune Safari

Half Day

The sand dune safari is a great way to explore the unusual plants that live there and discover their odd adaptations.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The adaptation of plants and animals

Workshop Outline: Use nets, tanks and trays to discover life on a rocky shore. Followed by an explanation of the amazing adaptations of the seaweeds and animals.

Shadow Puppet Tale

Half Day

A shadow puppet play that tells the story of a family’s long journey to the mine.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Miners daily journey
  • Life of working miners

Workshop Outline: The story is told by a shadow puppet play.

Stone Age

Full Day

Explore life as human’s first colonised Cleveland after the Ice Ages through local archaeological evidence.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Origins of early storytelling
  • Hunting Technniques
  • Cave paintings

Workshop Outline: Cave paint by ‘candle light’ in a ‘cave’ (one of the mine tunnels.) Experience hunting techniques, hunt a mouflon. Handle and investigate ice-age animal remains and Neolithic stone tools.

Stream Investigation

Half Day

Collect freshwater invertebrates in the stream by the museum

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify what you catch
  • Discover the special features of invertebrates

Workshop Outline: Use nets to collect freshwater invertebrates and identify what you catch. Discover what survives in the local streams

Talking rocks

Half Day

Explore Skinningrove’s beach go on a fossil hunt. Look at the formation of the cliffs and coastline.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Geological terms; erosion, weathering, sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous
  • The origin of pebbles.

Workshop Outline: A field work based activity on Skinningrove’s beach. If time permits,, pupils also investigate rocks and fossils from the Museum’s collection.


Full Day

Discover our cliffs which were once mined for alum and ironstone, which inspired pioneering local geologist.

Learning Outcomes:

  • How the valley war shaped
  • Ironstone mining
  • fossils

Workshop Outline: Explore the beach and hunt for fossils and discover more about the ironstone mining underground.

Tribal Tales

Full Day

Focus on the Stone Age or Iron Age with a Victorian archaeologist examining artefacts.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Chosen periods culture
  • Warfare techniques

Workshop Outline: Various activities include; evidence through storytelling, painting Stone Age art, underground, practising hunting skills, learning combat, creating authentic style pottery, exploring jewellery, art and weapons.

Victorian games and play

15-30 Minutes

Enjoy playing with a range of Victorian games. If time permits pupils will have the chance to try some parlour games too!

Learning Outcomes:

  • What types of Victorian games their are and how we still use some of them today!
  • Learn what it was like as a Victorian child.

Workshop Outline: Discover how Victorian’s played

Victorian School

Half Day

Exerience a victorian Sunday School

Learning Outcomes:

  • Victorian Sunday School life
  • Victorian discipline

Workshop Outline: Role play with our strict teacher in the Chapel with slates, costume & discipline.

Woodland Art

Half Day

Follows the Woodland investigation, illustrate the structure of a woodland.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Animal and plant life
  • Animal Habitats

Workshop Outline: Strategy- Use evidence collected in the morning, including rubbings, photographs and sketches. A similar session can be run to illustrate sand dune or rocky shore patterns. This workshop complements the Natural selection & Evolution with Charles Darwin workshop.

Woodland Investigation

Half Day

Examine plants and look for signs of life. Discover what lives where in a woodland.

Learning Outcomes:

  • What lives in the woodland
  • Animal habitats

Workshop Outline: Go on a minibeast safari with collecting pots and pooters etc. Session can investigate both animal and plant life, or have particular focus.

World War I

Half Day

Discover the vital role of the ironstone mining & the steelworks during the war. Take shelter in the mine during a zeppelin bombing raid.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The effect the war had on the village
  • wartime life

Workshop Outline: Explore life in the village on foot and through school log books. View dug out caves used as air-raid shelters. Handle artefacts and write back to the soldiers- based on their response to real postcards sent home from the front. Younger children can go to a WWI school.

World War II

Half Day

Ironstone mining and steel operations are explored during WWII.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Rationing
  • Changes in village life
  • Air raids
  • The home front

Workshop Outline: Use artefacts to explore the effects WWII had on village life. The home front is explored using archive photos in conjunction with exploring the village today.

Wriggle and Crawl

Full Day

Explore the life of minibeasts.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The life of minibeasts

Workshop Outline: Capture minibeasts with specialist and then with magnifiers/computer microscope to examine their specialist features.

I think that the service you provide is first class. The pupils gained a lot from learning about the history of the museum and the conditions that people worked in. Furthermore, the visit is enhanced by the quality of the staff and volunteers. Your enthusiasm shines through and you deal with the children in a lovely way. Many thanks once again for making our visit so enjoyable.

Luddendenfoot Academy

We had a fantastic day. The staff were very friendly and accommodating with excellent subject knowledge. It was really interesting for the children to learn about their local area and we will definitely be returning. I have recommended the trip to other classes at our school. A massive thank you to everyone involved in making the day so interesting.

Stakesby Primary

Very helpful staff on the day, even the pouring rain didn’t spoil the day!

Normanby Primary

Contact our Education Team

For all education enquiries please fill in the form below, call us on 01287 642877 or email us at learning@ironstonemuseum.co.uk. For visits, please suggest a number of dates you would like to visit. The more information you can provide, the faster we will be able to arrange your visit.

Any further details you can provide will help us speed up your enquiry.