I had a Skype call from her during the summer term whilst she was on a placement. 'Dad' she said 'Er, yes' I replied, fully expecting her to plead poverty or say she had been eating only lentils for the previous two weeks. But not so. 'Have you got any Romans?' Was the rather unexpected question.
To cut a long story short she was required to produce a mixed curriculum lesson and she decided to run a Science and History lesson that related to 'The Romans' which was that terms topic. The pedant in me did suggest that actually she should include Geology in there somewhere but I didn't want to give her an opportunity to practice 'The look'. This has been passed from my mother to my sister (who is also a Primary teacher) a single glance of which causes the recipient to stand with their hands clasped behind their back looking at the floor mumbling something about not doing that again. But I digress....
She had built Mt Vesuvius and had also prepared a town beneath the volcano (see below).
She just needed some suitable 'occupants'. 'What for?' I said, somehow already knowing the answer. ' All the children get a figure, the put them in Pompeii, I make the volcano erupt, then we see who survives,'. 'OK, I said, I'll have a look'. I do have some Romans (15mm, none are painted though) I also have some pigs in legionary armour, made by a friend (30mm). I don't know whether my Pigs were pre or post Marian reform but in the scheme of things I didn't think it really mattered to the majority of 10 year olds.
'OK, says I, how many do you want?' '28 plus 2 for the TA's plus can you do one in a toga for the Head and another for the caretaker who has helped me build this, he wants to be a slave' is the reply. 'Oh and can you do it by Monday'. In the end she had to compromise and used Jelly babies ! For any budding child therapists out there you might be interested to know that all the 'naughty' children put their Jelly baby on the mountain slopes with inevitable consequences !
I can't show you the results as there are children's faces in the video and I don't want to drop my eldest in it. If you want to replicate the experiment. Put white vinegar washing up liquid and yellow and red food dye in a bottle. Then add bicarbonate of soda. The red and yellow dye makes the lava look like lava and the kids loved it. Do this outdoors, it gets very messy!
As it was so successful I've a feeling she will do it again. If I start anything Ancient related they are likely to be 'liberated' for said project ! Safer to stick to other gaming periods I think