Curriculum Based Workshops

The museum offers a range of curriculum workshops.

Our curriculum based workshops are reviewed and updated regularly and new themes added.
If you have a specific requirement or topic please contact our Learning Team.

Reception / Key Stage 1

Play clay / Clay play

What is clay? Where is it found? What do we make from it?

Squeeze, stroke, squash, nip, and smooth the clay, enjoy being tactile whilst re-enforcing language.

Students will love looking around the galleries at the ceramic collections and then identifying different materials used to make the objects.

Armed with inspiration from the amazing Linthorpe collection they will set about creating their own piece of pottery to take back to school to paint and display.

Learning focuses – Science, History and Art & Design

Key Stage 1 Workshops

Dinosaur Planet

Get hands-on with our new interactive workshop, Dinosaur Planet!

Handle some real and replica dinosaur fossils and see if you can identify the different bits and pieces! Then, make some beautiful fossil rubbings to take back to school.

Learn how to be a Palaeontologist and help to ‘dig up and discover’ a dinosaur skeleton!

Explore our amazing Earth in Space gallery and come face to face with our dinosaur ‘Eo’. Enjoy the interactive experiences in the gallery and look at the amazing fossils, rocks and minerals on display.

Learning focuses – Science, History and Art & Design elements

Enchanted Wood

If you go down to the woods today………. There’s certainly a big surprise at the Dorman Museum!
Sit down with some animals and birds from our fantastic collection, and learn about woodlands and forests, in Britain and around the world.

Discuss the things that a tree needs to grow and look at the difference between tree species. Find out about how the woodland habitat and how it provides for the creatures who live there. What do animals eat in the woods? Where do they live? Who is the predator and who is the prey?

Join in with our ‘Enchanted Wood Bingo’ game! And learn about burrowing badgers, wily weasels, furry foxes and terrible toadstools!

Chill out with some Arts & Crafts! There is an empty woodland frieze waiting to be filled up with beautifully decorated animals. This is gathered up at the end for you to take away and make a beautiful class display.

Learning focuses – Science, Geography and Art & Design elements

Wriggle and Crawl

What makes a Butterfly a Butterfly?

What makes a Bee a Bee?

Using the museums very old but amazing and delicate collections of Bees and Butterflies we can take an in-depth look into the fascinating lifecycles of these two well-loved species of insects.

Find out what the differences are between Butterflies and Moths, and the differences between Bees and Wasps. Take a look inside a wasps nest at the intricate design and find out what it is made from.

Applying ideas from nature’s colour and symmetry, design your very own gorgeous butterfly mobile to take back to school.

Learning focuses – Science, Geography and Art & Design elements

Lower Key Stage 2 Workshops

The extraordinary life cycle of plants

Where does the life cycle of a plant start? Take a close look at the life cycle plants and all the different stages a plant has to go through to reproduce. Find out about pollination and germination and how amazing our planets plant life is in this fascinating facts workshop. The museum team love to get out its collection of pollinating insects and seed spreading animals to show the students.

Choose one of the craft sessions for the students to get creative in with and take back to school for display.

  • Make a word tree.
  • Decorate a seasonal wreath
  • Make paper.

Curriculum objectives;
Explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

Learning focus; Science with art and design.


Flow is a glorious journey along the majestic River Tees!

Learn all about the history of our river from its early ship building days, through its lonely years of pollution and dereliction to the fantastic new facilities which are now on offer along the river.

Focus in on the wildlife of the river, seeing if you can recognise and identify different animals and birds from the river habitat. Get up close to a display of animals and birds from the museum’s wonderful collection!

Join in with our ‘Flow Bingo’ game! Learn about birds that walk underwater, scuba diving insects, fishing spiders and many other creatures who make the river their home.

After all the excitement there’s time for some Arts & Crafts. Fill up an empty river frieze with beautiful creatures from your imagination, and take it back to school to make an amazing display!

Learning focuses – Geography, Science, Art & Design and PHSE elements

Key Stage 2 Workshops

History of Middlesbrough

This lively workshop gives children the opportunity to explore the museum galleries dressed as visitors from 1904.

During the session, we explore the history of the town, why we are here and how the town and its people have changed.

Children will learn about the significant people, places and buildings of our town through our game of Boro Bingo.

This session aims to encourage children to be proud of the town they live in.

Learning focuses – History

Upper Key Stage 2 Workshops

Writing for purpose

What does it take to write a really good label?

This workshop introduces students to the art of meaningful label writing, editing and improving along the way.
Using the beautiful objects in the Christopher Dresser Gallery as inspiration, each student picks one to draw. They are then tasked with writing a detailed and descriptive label that clearly identifies their chosen object. Each label is then shuffled and the class have to identify each object from the well written label or not.

The students will take back to class their drawings and label to make a fabulous exhibition back in school.
This workshop can be used towards Arts Award Discover or Museum in your classroom.

Curriculum objectives; Composition, handwriting and presentation.

Learning focus; Literacy with art and design.


Walk like an Egyptian!

Our fun packed workshop concentrates on the Ancient Egyptian ritual of mummification Dressed in full Egyptian costume, learn about the embalming process from start to finish.

Do you have what it takes to be an Embalmer! Enter our sacred embalming tent and try out your newly learnt skills on our mummy!

There’s an opportunity to take a closer look at some objects from the museum’s Egyptian collection and discover what they were used for.

Can you write in hieroglyphics? Have a try on some real papyrus which you can take back to school.

To finish off, there’s time to get creative and design your own Egyptian death mask!

Learning focuses – History, Science, PSHE and Art & Design elements

Beast Creator

Bugs are brilliant!! Love them or hate them, they’re everywhere and our inspiring, hands on workshop is a great opportunity to learn about and celebrate our creepy crawly friends!

Learn some fantastic facts about the biggest, the heaviest and the fastest bugs in the world and discover lots about bug bodies, bug sounds and bug smells! What makes a ‘nice’ bug or a ‘nasty’ bug and why would we think this way?

Try our beastly trail with clues hidden all around the museum and discover some of the insects from our collection. Many of these are rarely seen in public and some are over 100 years old!

Enjoy our fabulous ‘Beetle Drive’ style Arts & Crafts activity where we make our very own unique beastly creations! These creatures, with their moving parts make a fabulous display for your classroom!

Learning focuses – Geography, Science, Art & Design and D&T elements

Revolution/Gallery Rebels

The Dorman museum houses the biggest collection of objects by the Victorian designer Christopher Dresser. We have developed this arty workshop to raise his profile with both students and teachers.

Find out about the cutting edge designs of Dresser, “the Father of Industrial Design”.

Spend some time in our fantastic Dresser gallery and enjoy sketching some beautiful object on display. Be inspired to create a piece of wallpaper in the style of Dresser, and learn the technique of stencilling.

Each pupil gets to keep the sketch book they are given and the wallpaper that they produce.

Learning focuses – History and Art & Design and PSHE elements

Stargazers/Mission to Mars

Reach for the stars with our exciting, interactive, space themed workshop! Learn about the planets which make up our solar system and a clever way of remembering all their names!

Think about humans going to visit Mars in the future. Where would they live? What is the environment like? And, how would they survive?

Enjoy making a space station or moon buggy from junk and discover if you are tough enough to be an astronaut by going to Space School and performing the ultimate team challenge!

Even after all the excitement, there’s time to design your very own space helmet to wear back at school!

Learning focuses – Science, PSHE, D&T and Art and Craft elements