The Earth's History, all in an Hour

This morning found us all on the train heading to London for another talk at the Royal Institute of Science. We went to the city a bit early to go to the Natural History Museum for an hour or so before the lecture. Michael & I had originally thought we’d go to see the changing of the guard, but decided to wait for a sunnier day for that.

The walk around the museum was nice. There has been so much talk lately about Darwin, so we thought a little walk through the evolution displays would be timely. Both children found things that they were interested in-mainly spinning some skulls round. We had the ‘must do’ walk round the dinosaurs as well. The first time we went to see the moving T-Rex, Kieran was terrified, now he loves it.




We decided to sit on a bench inside the museum and eat our sandwiches, right outside the Geological Survey shop. Not too sure if it was allowed or not, but as we passed many people eating along the way, we thought it’d be OK. Less pigeons to pester us! Anyway-where we stopped was right next to a school group having a lecture on penguins. They must have been about 8 or 9 years old. Hazel & Kieran knew all the answers-basically because they’ve watched March of the Penguins. The talk didn’t consist of much more than that.

We then decided it was time to head over to our lecture. We took a double-decker bus across town-which is always a great, and cheap way to see London. We managed to get to the hall with just a few minutes to spare. The lecture was based on the book: What on Earth Happened by Christopher Lloyd. I hadn’t even heard of the book before the lecture, but am tempted to get it out of the library. He managed to tell the history of the Earth in 1 hour, using 20 visual prompts to help us remember.

He started by asking the audience what they liked about history. Kieran told him he liked ‘monks’. Which of course took Mr. Lloyd, and us, by surprise. Mr. Lloyd asked Kieran if he knew about the different types of monks, and Kieranjust shook his head ‘No’. Which is basically correct. Last year when we went to Ireland he was fascinated by this Early Celtic Monastery  site at the Irish National Heritage centre. He loved the fact that they were the scribes and that they could make such great books, living the way they did. I have to say-I think I probably should teach him a bit more about them-as he must really be far more interested than I thought-especially as he has brought it up a year later.

I thought the talk was fairly interesting. I was actually glad it wasn’t filled with electronic gadgets and gizmos-just everyday items used as prompts to remind us what the different stages of the Earth’s history were. Though-every time I go to a lecture like this-which are geared towards kids-I don’t understand why so many people are writing down every word the lecturer says.  It’s not a University level lecture that anyone is going to be quizzed on. They’d probably absorb much more of what is said if they just paid attention to the speaker.

We did manage to speak to Mr. Lloyd afterwards. We saw him briefly in the cafe for a few moments-where both kids told him they liked the lecture. The kids then wanted to go play on an electronic Periodic Chart game, so we did that for a few minutes before leaving to get the train home.


Just when we left the building, I noticed Mr. Lloyd right behind us. I asked him about the book, etc… and ended up getting a bit of info before we parted ways. He wrote the book in two years-but needed a talk to explain the book at the book launch. Lo and behold-today’s lecture was created. We also talked about the book he is working on currently. He also mentioned that he has home-educated his children, and was still currently home educating his youngest. A very pleasant man.

We barely made it back to Paddington in time for the train we wanted-the one underground line we needed was closed due to a fire or something. We dashed for a bus, which crawled it’s way to the train station. We then had to dash to the train-and made it, with literally a minute to spare. I was supposed to go to class in the evening-but the wind was howling and the rain was pouring down, and as I don’t like driving in the rain at night time- I decided to stay home.

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2 Responses to The Earth's History, all in an Hour

  1. Layla says:

    We were there for the morning session. I really enjoyed it, Claudia was annoyed that he didn’t pick her to answer any of the questions (she wanted to say she’s most interested in the Indus Valley civilisations apparently 😉 ). I read in his bio on the RI site that he home educated 🙂

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I hate when the kids don’t get to ask/answer a question. We must of had a smaller group-they both got to answer twice during our session. Indus Valley civilisation–new one to me! Tell C she’s taught me something anyway!

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