When attending University to become a Primary teacher, you don’t expect to have a placement that is not in a school, but when you attend the University of Dundee, this is the case for second year.
My placement is in Almond Valley Heritage Centre, and I have been designing an entire topic plan around the Shale Oil industry in Scotland.
When I first started, I have no clue what Shale Oil was… I feel that this is the case for many, yet it is actually a fairly major part of Scottish history – especially the local history in West Lothian.
A chemist called James Young found that you can extract paraffin oil from shale rocks and this led to what is called the Shale Boom. Young opened refineries across West Lothian with the main refinery being in Bathgate. West Lothian was a prime location as there are a number of areas where Shale can be mined.
Young’s Bathgate Chemical Works were arguably the first in the world to refine mineral oil on a commercial scale.
I have found it very interesting so far learning about the history of my local area, but it has also been fantastic to have the opportunity to plan on a long scale basis for an entire topic which can be handed straight to teachers without them having to think too much about it.
Although I am only half way through my placement, I have completed my first full draft of the topic and I am excited to share it with other museums to gain some feedback and new ideas that can be added.
I am particularly excited to visit the Open Museum today to see their loan boxes in the hope that I can create some of my own at AVHC which can be used to aid the teaching during a visit to the museum.