a school looking at the mill

Working together with Howsham Mill’s Trustees, Education Officer and volunteers we were able to deliver a programme of six visits for Urban:Rural Schools Twinnings Project managed by the Howardian Hills AONB and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

During October and November 2013, about 350 8-11year old primary school children came to the mill.  The schools were in a twinning programme between rural Ryedale and urban Hull and York schools, with two classes of up to 60 pupils on each day’s visit.  

Two topics for study were offered to the schools – either renewable energy or bread-making.  For the former, the children were split into smaller groups and learnt about the Archimedes screw generator, the waterwheel, solar energy for heating water and generating electricity, and biomass as a renewable source of energy.  They were able to see working examples at the mill.  After a packed lunch, each group made a working model of a waterwheel and tested it out.

Pupils from schools choosing bread-making learnt about where wheat comes from, how it is cleaned and processed into flour, how the waterwheel and stones worked, then had a go at making unleavened chapattis, saw them cooked and tasted the results.  They were compared with leavened bread made in the oven.  In the afternoon the children made model waterwheels.

The children had a visit to a wonderful restored watermill in a beautiful location, saw the waterwheel and Archimedes screw in action, learnt about different forms of energy and had a good mix of learning activities. And not to forget the amazing thunder boxes (compost toilets) which provided a unique experience for both children and teaching staff.  Feedback on the day from pupils and teachers was positive. 


“Everyone from the Mill was enthusiastic, accommodating and open to new ideas of presentation and were able to put them into practise to give the children a very positive and enjoyable day with learning thrown in” (Helen Holford – YWT)

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