Childcare students from University Centre Leeds visiting Thackray Museum of Medicine

Childcare students from University Centre Leeds gained an insight into the value of robots during a trip to Thackray Museum of Medicine.

A small group from the Supporting Teaching and Learning Foundation Degree at UC Leeds learned all about the inspiring history of medicine, and how it has been shaped by scientific discoveries, during the visit.

The outing, organised by lecturers Amber Barnitt, Susan McGarroch and Angela Gelder, was an enhancement activity in support of the students’ Supporting Mathematics and Supporting Science modules.

The award-winning Thackray Museum is renowned for the quality of its displays, which include a reproduction of the grimy streets of Victorian Leeds and a video about the gruesome details of (pre-anaesthetic) surgery in the 19th Century.

Ideas for the classroom

For UC Leeds student Sarah Bentley, however, it was exhibits on present-day devices, and their potential educational uses, that stood out.

She said: “What I liked about the museum was that they had quite a lot of things that you can link into being in primary school.

“For example, having a worry monster to help with stress and anxiety and how to help people in different ways and take away their troubles. They have little boards to share your thoughts for other people to read.

“There was also a section on ‘Do robots care?’ and they had different kinds of robots on display boards, explaining how they can support children and improve their quality of life.”

A time for reflection

Fellow student Christelle Poatry said: “I enjoyed the area of mirrors.  I felt like a child looking at my body changes in all directions and dimensions of the mirror.

“This would be really educational for children seeing the shapes, in relation to maths. 

“For science, the traditional medicine was of interest along with all the specialist equipment.”

Holly Howes added: “I enjoyed the trip to Thackray Museum as it allowed us to find out about science in the early 1900s, and the way it has developed over time.

“It also gave us, as students, the opportunity to engage in conversations about how that may be applied practically, in the classroom.”