On Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd August Historyworks hosted two afternoons of ‘Making Music and Magical workshops’ which were offered for free to anyone in our catchment of primary schools and hosted in the Community Wing at Abbey Meadows School.  The workshops were devised by Helen Weinstein, Creative Director of Historyworks who commissioned Music workshop leaders Mario Satchwell, Bethany Kirby and Tizzy Faller who led the junk band workshops and sculptor Matt Lane Sanderson who joined Helen Weinstein to lead the pterosaur glider workshops & inspirational wire work!  

The children all had the opportunity to play in a ‘junk band’ and create amazing flying machines and instruments using ‘junk’ recycled from local businesses, such as pieces of metalwork donated by Marshall and re-modelled by artist, Matt Lane Sanderson and from the ChYpPS Cambridge Scrapstore.

As part of the workshops Matt explained to the children about how birds and pterosaurs fly.  

He explained the aerodynamics of flights along with Georgie from Marshall’s, with a practical demonstration using a balloon power construction, as well as some of his on wire based constructions.


The children had the opportunity to experiment with wire (one of the mediums Matt regularly uses in his scupltures) and create their own 3D moving image using their own piece of wire.

The children then learnt how huge flying lizards, called Ornithocherius, which were a kind of Pterosaur, lived in Cambridge at the time of the dinosaurs and left deposits which then turned into corprolite (fossilised dino poo!).

The children also learnt to play a rhythm on their junk percussion instruments to accompany Michael Rosen’s ‘Pterosaur Poo’ poem, which was commissioned by Helen Weinstein at Historyworks about the history of the pterosaurs that once flew above Coldham’s Common.

To listen to Michael Rosen reading the poem visit: - michael-rosens-pterosaur-poo-poem

On the first day they had a chance to make and play a variety of junk percussion instruments which would then be used to form their junk band the next day.

The children enjoyed making their own shaker with cups and creating their own diamond kites.

The following day they continued developing their junk band ideas to create a junk band piece of music, they learnt how to follow the conductors signals and also how to play their instruments correctly, to get the best sound out of them.

They also had the chance to make a pterosaur glider with Matt and experiment with different wing shapes to see which made them fly the furthest.

As the 'official' photographer at the workshops, Helen encouraged the children to stand on the stage to launch their gliders and watch them take flight and great fun was had by all- children and adults alike!

The Tuesday finished with a showcase of the magical machine creations and a junk band performance at 4pm at Abbey Meadows Community Hall.

Families and friends enjoyed listening to their junk band pieces and seeing their pterosaur gliders fly!

The children were then invited to come perform at the Big Wednesday event on Coldham’s Common as a Junk Percussion Band on Wednesday 3rd August at 4pm, as part of the performance as the finale of the Big Wednesday event outside on Coldham’s Common, and also to attend the samba drumming workshop in the afternoon before-hand.  It was great that the children joined us with their families to enjoy more kite flying and music making!

We had a fantastic few days with all the children and would like to thank all those who helped plan and deliver the workshops, especially the volunteers who gave up their time to help at the workshops.