Take 5

Science and inventions across the Highlands

Museum of the Highlands is a great source of inspiration for learning about science and invention.

1) Mankind has been inventing things for as long as he’s been alive. Start with a 5000-year-old harpoon to explore how prehistoric people were inventive with the materials available to them.
Mesolithic Harpoon | Museum of the Highlands

2) Next, discover how people have used inventiveness to feed ourselves. We often talk about sliced bread being the greatest thing, but archaeologists think unsliced bread is impressive in its own right too. Explore a medieval quern stone, used for grinding cereals and grains into flour.
Quern Stone | Museum of the Highlands

Then hear from archaeologist Lynne Mckeggie about why she’s a fan!
Why does an archaeologist get excited about a quern stone? | Museum of the Highlands

3) Discover that anyone can be an inventor. Start with the story of Dr Grant from Glencoe Folk Museum. An inventor simply identifies a problem and sets about solving it. Among a range of other creations, Dr Grant invented and patented a tea pot with a special stirrer to help him stir tealeaves easily. But what would your students invent?
Dr Grant’s Teapot | Museum of the Highlands

Next, turn to the example of a Highlands school teacher, David Abraham. David was a woodwork teacher at the ‘Perkins School for the Blind’ and developed an amazing typewriter, now at Ullapool Museum. It incorporated braille to help his students to write. You can hear the sound it makes in What’s that Noise?
Perkins Brailler Machine | Museum of the Highlands
NOISE-15 | Museum of the Highlands

4) In the days when many children (and all their grown ups) have mobile phones, it can be very difficult to comprehend just how challenging communication was in the past. Discover inventive ways to share messages, with the St Kilda Mailboat from West Highland Museum and the Morse Code Key from Grantown Museum.
St Kilda Mailboat | Museum of the Highlands
Morse Code Key | Museum of the Highlands

Your students can listen to the sound of Morse Code in our What’s that Noise? activity.
NOISE-7 | Museum of the Highlands

5) Finally, find out how inventiveness can save lives. Watch Dr Kit Eatock discuss medical objects from Ullapool Museum. How did a new design of forceps save lives and change childbirth?
What can we learn from a pair of forceps about changes to medicine? | Museum of the Highlands

How did the use of chloroform revolutionise surgery?
How has chloroform transformed surgery? | Museum of the Highlands

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