From the moment you step inside the central court of the Museum of Natural History it’s clear you’re in a special place.

Established in 1860, this grand Grade I-listed building of towering iron and vaulted glass became the focus for scientific activity at University of Oxford.

Today, the award-winning establishment continues to be a place of active research, collecting and fieldwork, in addition to being a vibrant, welcoming and spectacular place to visit for all.

And, for the next 10 weeks, this ‘Cathedral of Science’ welcomes the next generation of budding David Attenboroughs to its hallowed halls for a special series of investigations. Aged 14 to 16, this select group has the opportunity to study independently of the curriculum in this alternative classroom, where countless jars and test tubes line the shelves with claws, teeth and eyes staring back.

Having all signed up hoping to expand their young minds, these intrepid explorers aim to unearth a passion of their own and follow a path of personal study of scientific process. Armed with access to unparalleled resources and expertise, the group raise ‘testable’ questions that can be answered through experimentation.

Much more than dinosaurs and a dodo, the museum’s beautiful architecture houses more than seven million historical and modern specimens encompassing the natural world. So, off we head to explore all it has to offer.

We find every single item is an incredibly rich source of information and students are encouraged to use all their senses to unlock their secrets.

As well as being one of the most photographed displays, the impressive Skeleton Parade in particular provides no end of opportunity for comparative anatomical study and reveals to us the evolutionary adaptations of large mammals for speed, defence, hunting and feeding. However, not everything in the collection is dead! I particularly enjoy viewing the inner workings of a honey bee hive via a glass-fronted display; focusing on workers carrying water, wax-building, guarding their queen and waggle-dancing.

As a culmination of their 10-week period of self-discovery, students can submit their findings to gain a nationally-recognised CREST Silver Award qualification from the British Science Association and be selected to present their project to an equally inquisitive public as part of an exciting forthcoming event.

On March 10, join university researchers and about 50 scientists from across UK to learn all about Earth and the people that inhabit it, as revealed by genetics, archaeology and demography.


Super Science Saturday: People & Planet is a free family-friendly

drop-in event from noon to 4pm on March 10