Pupils from Middleton Community Primary School, in Derbyshire, were transported 2,000 years into the past with an immersive Roman residential experience at Mount Cook Adventure Centre. The children, aged 6 – 8 years, tried their hand at a range of outdoor activities which directly linked with the history topic in an exciting and engaging way.
Upon arrival at Mount Cook, the children were greeted by a Roman Centurion dressed in authentic legionary attire! In an interactive ‘Dress the Roman Soldier’ session, the pupils learnt about every aspect of the traditional Roman clothing, from the Galea (Roman helmet) to the Lorica Segmenta (armour). Toby, a pupil at Middleton Primary, said: “Thank you for letting us put on the Roman helmet, it was really heavy!”
The Roman Centurion then led pupils and teachers outside, equipped with trowels and brushes for an archaeological dig activity session. Hidden in the Centre’s grounds were ‘Roman’ coins, pottery and bones, which the children could dig out and examine. The group discussed the kind of Roman remains which still survive today, including forts, bath houses and roads. Alison Dugdale, Headteacher at Middleton Primary, said: “What [the Centurion] didn’t know about Romans and archaeology wasn’t worth knowing.”
The bow and arrow were a useful tool for hunting during the ancient Roman era, and auxiliary archers were regularly employed by the Roman army throughout the empire. In an archery session, the children learnt how to shoot a composite laminate recurve bow, which is very similar to the weapon used by the Romans. Traditionally the bow would have been made using horn, wood and sinew laminated together. By the end of the session, each child had successfully hit the archery target from up to 10 metres away!
After lunch, the pupils headed into the forest to learn shelter building and fire making techniques. For an ancient Roman, fire was an important source of heat, a tool for cooking food and a means for survival. The children had a go at building fire using a traditional bow drill, a technique which dates to prehistoric times. The pupils then collected natural materials, such as leaves and sticks, to create a waterproof shelter.
The final task for the pupils was to build a land kart, which could be used to transport goods such as olive oil and wine to markets. Working as a team, the children designed and created a kart using a set of wheels, axis and rope. The kart was then tested around a course, whilst balancing a bucket of water!
For dinner, the children enjoyed a Roman feast fit for an Emperor, including Julius Caesar’s beef cobbler served with roast vegetables. Dessert included Roman Honey Cakes (a traditional recipe) accompanied by Peasant’s Fruit Platter!
After a full day of outdoor activities and a hearty evening meal, everyone was soon feeling tired and ready for bed (including the teachers!). The pupils stayed in Mount Cook’s ensuite bedrooms, all of which sleep up to 4 people in bunk bed accommodation. Middleton Primary pupil, Millie, said: “Thank you so much for taking very good care of me. Thank you for all the yummy food and for teaching me lots about Romans. Thank you for teaching me how to do things that I probably didn’t think I could.”
The children started the next day with a cooked breakfast and fresh fruit juice, before packing their bags and heading back to school. Alison Dugdale said, “The Invaders trip to Mount Cook was marvellous. The activities were perfect for bringing the Roman history curriculum to life. Each activity had a Roman context and backstory and the leaders all had pertinent facts to add detail and knowledge to the children’s experiences.
The children came away from our visit buzzing about Romans and Roman life – an experience they will long remember.”
Ready for the new academic year (2018-19), Mount Cook will be officially launching a selection of curriculum-based activity packages which will link directly to primary level History topics. These will include 'Prehistoric Britain', 'Roman Residentials' and 'The Victorious Victorians'.
If you are interested in finding out more about our curriculum-based packages, please give us a call on: