A History of the World in 20 Objects
Take the ultimate cross-curricular journey stopping off at 20 key moments in the history of planet, life and people. Using a series of everyday objects, picked from a coat of many pockets by the audience, the story of 13.7 billion years is threaded together into a single sweeping narrative with a giant edition of the the What on Earth? Wallbook as a stunning backdrop.
This talk was first given at The Royal Institution in London in 2008 at the launch of world history book What on Earth Happened?.
Topics covered: Cosmology, Planet formation, Photosynthesis, Cambrian Explosion, Dinosaurs, Mammal diversification, Human origins, Fire, Agriculture, Writing, Ancient civilisations, Islamic conquests, European expansion, Industrial revolution, Climate change, Population growth.
1066 and All That…..
Choose ten key moments in the story of British history from 1066 to the present day and what would they be? See how foreign forces shaped the early development of our island culture with the arrival of plague, paper and gunpowder.
Then see British power steadily increase until the rise of Germany and two devastating world wars. Using a long perspective, British history is best understood when connected with the history of the world. This talk was first given at the Chalke Valley History Festival in June 2013.
Topics covered: Norman Conquest, Islamic conquests, Black Death, Printing, Reformation, Patents, Maritime Exploration, Industrial Revolution, Rise of Germany, Financial Deregulation, Present day issue
- Key stage
- Can be customised to suit from Year 1 to A -Level / Adult
- As listed above
The Story of Science & Engineering from Abstract to Infinity
Question: what distinguishes humans from their closest genetic relatives, chimpanzees? Answer: they have much bigger brains for problem solving (science) and freely available hands for making things (engineering). The story of how humans have reshaped the world over the last 10,000 years is the story of science & engineering.
This giant narrative takes in 14 of the most significant discoveries covering the complete scientific spectrum from maths (abstract) to astronomy (infinity). The talk, accompanied by a coat of many pockets and a giant edition of the Wallbook of Science & Engineering, also gets students to think about the unintended consequences of scientific endeavour. Ideal for cross-curricular integration, science, maths and history departments.
This talk was first given at The Science Museum and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in October 2013.
- Key stage
- Year 6 to A -Level / Adult audiences
- Maths & Measurement, Physics & Chemistry, Biology & Medicine, Earth & Land, Building & Invention, Transport and Communication, Sky & Space
Why do people play sport?
Pupils who think history is just about kings, queens and battles are in for a shock with this mind-boggling journey through 3 million years asking the simple, but intriguing question: why do people play sport? Our quest begins millions of years ago in the Stone Ages with the first human ancestors who learned to walk on two feet, giving them freely available hands – essential for playing sport. The story then covers a dizzying array of cultures from hunter-gatherer cave people to the Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, Tudors, Victorians and ending with the revival of the modern Olympics and London 2012. First given at City Hall, London in May 2012.
- Key stage
- Year 1 to A -Level / Adult audiences
- Stone ages, Hunter-gathering, Ancient Greece, Roman Empire, Islamic conquests, Aztecs, Tudors, Victorian, Modern Olympic movement
The 4 billion-year story of life on Earth
A spectacular voyage through the 4-billion year story of life on Earth stopping off at 14 of the most significant evolutionary episodes that have most shaped the development of life on our planet.
Using a coat of 14 pockets, a series of everyday objects and a giant edition of the What on Earth? Wallbook of Natural History (developed in partnership with the Natural History Museum) as a backdrop, this talk is ideal for Science departments or non-fiction workshops.
First given at The Natural History Museum in October 2012.
- Key stage
- Year 1 to A -Level / Adult audiences
- Origin of life, Bacteria, Photosynthesis, Endosymbiosis, Sexual reproduction, Fossil record, Adaptation, Amphibians & Reptiles, Fungi, Pollination, Biodiversity, Mass extinctions, Rock formation, Plate tectonics, Climate change, Ice Ages, Human evolution, Anthropocene
Does Biodiversity Matter?
100 Species that Changed the World
Why don’t humans just cultivate and grow the species that suit them and not bother about everything else? In some ways that’s the reality of the modern world, but does it matter?
Christopher Lloyd takes a deep history look at some of his 100 Species that have Changed the World, from his book What on Earth Evolved? It’s a fun-packed ride explaining how nature works when there are no humans and then moves on to showing how humans have changed the rules for survival since the dawn of agriculture. He ends with a metaphor for the importance of biodiversity using a railway track, a candle and two plastic champagne glasses. Intrigued? You should be!
The lecture was first give at The Royal Institution in London in 2009.
- Key stage
- 3 to Adult
- Bacteria, slime, sharks, mosquitos, food, agriculture, domestication, biodiversity
Big History, Visualisation and the Brain
Christopher Lloyd, author of best-selling world history book What on Earth Happened? presents a 60 minute lecture on the making of his book and his pioneering techniques for communicating the deep chronology of the story of science and history over billions of years to an everyday audience.
During his journey he will discuss and demonstrate a wide range of diverse communication strategies for conveying a long chronological perspective including the lost art of rhetoric and memory from ancient Greece, the use of medieval visual timelines and modern insights into hard-wired evolutionary learning pathways taken from the latest research in neuroscience.
- Key stage
- Teachers, educators, IB / A Level students, literary festival audiences
Why a Big History approach to learning is so important!
ALLOWING natural curiosity to flow in the classroom can be a real challenge for teachers following a prescribed curriculum and working within specific learning frameworks. However, if natural learning pathways are ignored the result can often become disengagement and, worst of all, boredom. A bored child cannot learn effectively.
As part of the What on Earth? offering we regularly provide INSET workshops for schools interested in developing a more interconnected, curiosity-driven strategy for their schools – curiosity being the antidote for boredom.
The workshop begins with an overview of the latest research in neuroscience – the premise being that as educators we need to understand how the brain has evolved to learn if we are to maximise our chances of achieving pupil engagement in the classroom. The seminar then looks at what the evolution of the brain can tell us about the most naturally functional relationship between the left and right hemispheres and suggests strategies for allowing curiosity to flow between subjects using timelines and everyday objects.
Making Connections: how craft, visualisation and narrative context promote curiosity-led learning
Christopher Lloyd explores the latest research on neuroscience and how the brain has evolved to learn – valuable for understanding how to address young minds in the classroom. He then discusses the dangers of an over-dependence on learning exclusively through abstractions such as words and numbers before exploring the memory learning techniques of ancient Greece in a world where pens and paper had not yet been invented.
Next, Christopher demonstrates how the curriculum can be integrated using artwork, timelines and a narrative approach to the past. Staff divide into groups and choose an everyday object as a lynchpin around which to construct their own narratives that connect with all parts of the curriculum.
Finally, staff are taken on a whistlestop journey through 13.7 billion years covering every subject in the curriculum using a series of everyday objects. The talk demonstrates how the ‘ordinary’ world around us can be used to tell the most ‘extraordinary’ story of planet, life and people in a way that will engage even the most reluctant learner using no more than the power of natural curiosity.
INSET workshops can be designed around a school’s individual timescales and requirements. Details on request. Duration: from half day to full day (depending on audience / requirements). Suitable for teachers, librarians and learning support assistants of all subjects from Reception level to Key Stage 4 and beyond.
- Key stage
- Suitable for teachers from Reception level to Key Stage 3 and beyond
- Neuroscience, memory skills, cross-curricular integration, use of timelines, use of everyday objects, use of IT, storytelling, engaging reluctant readers
Science Vs Religion – Where Do You Stand?
Scientists and religious leaders have been rubbing each other up the wrong way for years. During this talk we tackle their rival views of existence head on, starting at the beginning of time – the Big Bang. Our journey then stops off at ten mysteries, all of which remain largely unaccounted for by modern science.
The workshop ends with a horizontal line drawn on a flip chart and pupils are asked to decide where their own personal beliefs reside on the line. Are they on the athiest random luck end, in the middle with some kind of divine architect or do they believe in an intervening God or gods as the most credible explanation? This talk was first given at Shireland Academy, Birmingham, in November 2013.
- Key stage
- Year 3 to A -Level / Adult audiences
- Asymmetry between matter and anti-matter following the Big Bang; Collision of Earth & Theia to make the Moon; Giant bombardment of comets brings water to Earth; Proximity of Earth to Sun allowing liquid water for life to thrive, Origin of life in the seas; Oxidation of atmosphere by cyanobacteria leading to ozone layer; Emergence of complex life; Origins and purpose of sexual reproduction; plate tectonics.
An Introduction to Shakespeare
What’s the best way of introducing a young audience to the thrill of Shakespeare? Our answer is not to study one play or one scene but to engage with ALL the plays and allow people who have never explored the plays of Shakespeare to experience all of them visually using their natural curiosity.
How many plays did Shakespeare write? Which feature ghosts? Which are non-fiction and which are made up? Using the new What on Earth? Wallbook of Shakespeare, published in collaboration with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, this talk explores the world of human emotion using different coloured pockets in an all-new coat to represent jealousy (green), anger (red), riches (gold), love (purple), terror (white) and magic (black).
Using a series of props hidden inside the pockets, pupils explore the world of Shakespeare as a gateway to the entire spectrum of human nature.
- Key stage
- Reception to A -Level / Adult audiences
- Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Tempest, Titus Andronicus, Pericles, Richard III, Merchant of Venice, Julius Casear, Henry V, Othello, Antony & Cleopatra, Coriolanus
|04/11/14–09/11/14||Spirit of Christmas Fair Public||Olympia, London||Market / Fair||Natasha|
|04/11/14||Brimington School||Chesterfield||School Lecture||John|
|05/11/14||St Finian’s Catholic Primary School||West Berkshire||School Lecture||John|
|06/11/14–06/11/14||PINC Conference, Sarasota Public||Sarasota, Florida, USA||Public Lecture||Chris|
|10/11/14||Olivia Hodson Cancer Fund Fair Public||Roehampton||Market / Fair||Natasha|
|11/11/14||The Linnean Society of London Lectures||London||Public Lecture||Chris|
|12/11/14–16/11/14||Country Living Fair – London Public||London||Market / Fair||Natasha, John and Vicky|
|13/11/14–16/11/14||Gibraltar Literary Festival Public||John Mackintosh Hall, Gibraltar||Literary Festival||Chris|
|19/11/14–22/11/14||Country Living Fair – Glasgow Public||Glasgow||Market / Fair||John|
|20/11/14–21/12/14||Winchester Christmas Market Public||Winchester Cathedral||Market / Fair||Chris|
|20/11/14–22/11/14||Wealden Times Midwinter Fair Public||Bedgebury Pinetum||Market / Fair||Natasha and Vicky|
|21/11/14||Interactive Science Show Public||Bohunt School, Liphook||Charity Event||Chris|
|26/11/14||British Red Cross Christmas Fair Public||Kensington Town Hall||Market / Fair||Chris and Natasha|
|27/11/14–20/12/14||Salisbury Christmas Market Public||Salisbury||Market / Fair||Chris, Natasha, John and Vicky|
|27/11/14–14/12/14||Bath Christmas Market Public||Bath||Market / Fair||Natasha and John|
|04/12/14||Nottingham University Lecture||Nottingham University||Public Lecture||Chris|
|06/12/14||Saint Ronan’s School Christmas Fair Public||Hawkhurst||Market / Fair||Chris|
|12/12/14–17/12/14||Leeds Castle Christmas Market Public||Leeds Castle||Market / Fair||Chris, Natasha and Vicky|
|12/12/14||Hastings Home Ed Group||Hastings||Home Ed Group||Chris|
|16/12/14||Mercia Home Ed Group||Staffordshire||Home Ed Group||Chris|
|05/01/15||Boundary Oak School||Hampshire||INSET Talks||Chris|
|02/03/15||Micklefield School||Reigate, Surrey||School Lecture||Chris|