Digital Educational Programmes for young children at the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest
During Greece’s lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest designed digital educational programmes for children of all ages aiming to stimulate and engage with them by promoting the local natural heritage. Through original learning materials, games, quizzes and puzzles children had the chance not only to discover the impressive natural wealth of Lesvos island and the unique natural monument of Lesvos Petrified Forest, but also learn about volcanoes, earthquakes, past climate changes and ecosystems. The learning materials were designed for children from 3 to 12 years ago, both from the local communities and from all over the country.
At the moment Greece is about to enter the second wave of the pandemic and considering the possibility of regional lockdowns. Many young children are still at home, while schools all over the country are closing just days after reopening due to increasing Covid-19 cases. Therefore, the museum decided to continue building digital bridges with its young audience by enriching its existing digital educational programmes and creating brand new ones that include lots of creative arts and crafts ideas, science experiments and engaging learning activities inspired by the museum, its collections and the Lesvos-Unesco Global Geopark.
Given the fact that one of the most popular topic among young children that visit the museum is both the past and the present-day rich fauna of the island, the educational department designed the digital educational programmes “Young Paleontologists discover the animals of the Petrified Forest” and “Young Paleontologists discover the Lesvos Deinotherium”.
The museum’s educators and scientists in collaboration with graphic designers have adjusted the audiovisual materials, play-based activities and games that are usually implemented at the museum’s premises as part of its educational programmes and transformed them into engaging long-distance learning resources. This way the museum can reach children wherever they are located and introduce them to the Lesvos Petrified Forest, its creation and the plant and animal fossils that were brought to light through the paleontological research.
Children have the amazing opportunity to get to know small-sized animals such as snails and fishes, lizards, hamsters, dormice, moles, bats, ferocious alligators and of course the Lesvos Deinotherium, a long relative of present-day elephants, that lived in the island about 20 million years ago. They discover how they moved, what they ate, where exactly they lived and which ones still exist in the island. Furthermore, they can spend hours having fun while filling the activity sheets, drawing the colour pages, solving puzzles and crosswords. Children are always encouraged to share with the museum their drawings and craft creations and also send any questions or queries to the museum’s scientists.
All the digital educational programmes are also translated in english and available for download at the museum’s website (www.lesvosmuseum.gr). Their various activities and resources can be printed and used for educational purposes either in a classroom or at home together with the whole family.