A pupil at Bishops Nympton Primary School making art inspired by Gosse's illustrations.

A pupil at Bishops Nympton Primary School making art inspired by Gosse’s illustrations.

Between December 2014 and July 2015 we delivered Science at the Seaside workshops to 17 schools in the Devon area, reaching circa 1000 pupils at Bassetts Farm, Littleham, Marwood, Culmstock, Halwill, Ermington, Horwood and Newton Tracey, Dartmouth and others. The workshops were led by Tamara Sharp, Sophia David, Anna-Marie Linnell, and Georgina Hunter, four PhD English students, and flexibly designed by them in collaboration with the project leaders and with a view to each school’s learning objectives.

The workshops ran for a length of 2-3 hours dependent on the needs of the school. Each workshop was structured in three parts. In the first part, the workshop leader led a discussion with the children about seaside found objects – many schools took their classes to a local beach prior to the workshop to collect or photograph seaside objects, and the workshop leaders also came prepared with seaside objects on loan from museums. The objects were discussed with a view to the related learning objectives selected by the school, and frequently focused on themes such as the influence of humans on nature, the local environment and local history. The imaginative literary questions of ‘Who, What, Why, Where, When, How?’ were implemented to help the children develop narratives around their object.

Clockwise from top left: a pupil at Littleham holding an artefact, Tamara leading a discussion, a pupil's illustration, brainstorming on the whiteboard.

Clockwise from top left: Tamara running the workshop, a pupil at Littleham holding an artefact, a pupil’s illustration, brainstorming on the whiteboard.

The workshop leader would then tell the children a little about the Victorians and their interest in the seaside, briefly explaining who Philip Gosse was and showing his drawings. After discussing local museums and relevant artefacts, whether the children have visited their local museum, what they thought, etc, the second activity was drawing with chalk pastel on black paper in the style of Philip Gosse. The drawing was intended to illustrate the oral narrative created in the first section.

The third section of the workshop was to turn the narrative they had created and illustrated into a short story or poem. These could be finished outside of the workshop (either at home or in class) and submitted to the Science at the Seaside Writing Competition.


Click here to see a Workshop PowerPoint example.

Click here to download some sample Gosse illustrations.

Take a look at our gallery to see photos from the workshops and some of the stories, art and poems that were made!