Schoolchildren discover the world of Isaac Newton at the Tower of London - Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Schoolchildren have been given a unique insight into one of Britain’s most famous and iconic scientific figures – Sir Isaac Newton – at a two-day workshop, run by the Royal Armouries’ education team.

Newton – Master of the Royal Mint at the Tower of London from 1699 until his death in 1727 – was responsible for transforming the country’s monetary system. He led the fight against the counterfeiters and “re-minted” England, replacing the fake coins that were in circulation.

The sessions for Key Stage Two and Three pupils on March 30 and 31 were held in the VisionWorks education space at the Tower, a state-of-the-art teaching area, sponsored by BayerMaterial Science. Youngsters attended from Bishop Perin CE Primary School and Waldegrave School for Girls in Richmond, Cypress Junior School, Croydon, and the Bridge Academy in Hackney, with the Royal Society subsidising their entry costs.

The Royal Armouries’ Education Officer Amy Preece, said, “Isaac Newton is a popular and iconic scientific figure, even for our modern scientists. During the sessions, students have examined armour, discovered the science and history of metals, and developed their numeracy skills.

“They’ve also had a fascinating insight into Newton’s impact while Master of the Mint, here at the Tower of London. He is an essential figure both at the Tower and history and science – and came 6th in the BBC’s Top Ten Greatest Britons in 2002.”

In 1703, Newton was elected president of the Royal Society, an office he held until his death. This workshop was part of the Capital Science programme of events that celebrate the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary.

The Armouries has been running an innovative materials science education programme at the Tower of London for seven years and has won seven Sanford awards for its heritage education programme – the first awarded over 30 years ago.

As part of its unique partnership with Bayer MaterialScience, the Royal Armouries aims to boost the falling numbers of schoolchildren who choose to study science subjects by exciting curiosity about the subject. In turn, it is hoped this will tackle the falling numbers of young men and women who choose to study STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Education, Maths) at A Level, paving the way for science-based careers such as engineering.

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