Cabinet of Curiosities – The cabinets around the school fulfil several functions:

                    - to contain strange and interesting objects that will inspire children’s curiosity and encourage them to form pods to  
                    - develop projects around their own interests and curiosities.

                    - to display examples of on-going pod-projects.

                    - to contain the stories and idea-sheets produced at the end of projects


Pod a group of children working together on a project.


Roles - we want children to be aware of the different kinds of thinking and learning involved in the various tasks required by each project; also to develop an understanding of which kinds of thinking are most useful in particular situations, and relevant to solving particular types of problems.

To help make these ideas more explicit – we have designated four different roles that children will 'play' as they carry out their projects – Explorer, Detective, Builder, Story-Maker – these roles could be used as components in the pod-planners to help organise the project, and may be useful when children need to assign tasks to each other within each pod. There are four sheets, intended for use by the children as reminders, which explain what characteristics of behaviour each of the roles requires.


Assistants – firstly to explain the way the projects will work and discuss the concept of 'roles' with children. Other assistants (teachers, parents, older children) will be needed to help children develop various skills that are necessary depending on the nature of the project – for example help with using a microscope, searching the internet more effectively, or soldering components together. We hope to develop a notice-board system so that children can advertise for assistants in advance.


Expert – anyone with particular expertise invited to provide help (on a specific problem) or inspiration. This might, for example, be a one-off visitor who is an expert in Roman archaeology, or an e-mail correspondence with the relative of one of the children in the pod, who can help with information on 19th Century toys.

Stories - the Story-Maker role that occurs at the end of each project is an opportunity for children to reflect on what they have learned during the project and to shape this experience into a story that is meaningful to themselves and others (an audience). The importance of preparing the story for others lies not only in providing a record of their work, but in requiring the greater reflection needed to communicate a story to an audience successfully - what are the significant parts of the story? – where did we start from? - which problems were hard? - how did we overcome these problems? – what did we learn about how we learn? - what metaphors and analogies can we use to reinforce meaning in the story? - what will the best media to use to get this story across to an audience?
The story does not need to take a written form – it might be a video recording, a song, a piece of 'box-art' in one of the cabinet drawers, a play or a set of web-pages for our Cabinet of Curiosities web-site.

Idea Sheet these are sheets produced by pods based on work done in their projects for use by other children. Where this work is relevant to particular curriculum subjects, it may be incorporated into classroom use. The sheets may take the form of puzzles, quizzes, ideas to follow-up – anything that will intrigue, inspire or puzzle others.