Licensed to thrill

Spies who loved me. Susan Young on a new exhibition which will have all your budding secret agents fired up for science

Ever wished you had a licence to kill? Unfortunately, that is probably the one part of the spying experience not covered in the Science Museum's blockbuster new exhibition. But given everything else on offer, it is probably a minor omission.

Pupils visiting the Science of Spying, which runs until September, will become trainee spies for the duration, with a mission to infiltrate a shadowy organisation. They develop spying skills which, in many cases, are similar to learning skills, and feel what it is like to be spied on.

Observation, data collection and analytical skills will be tested as pupils move through the exhibition, and using technologies of real-world spies, they will consider how science and technology can and do affect everyday life. As well as science and technology, the Science of Spying links with PSHE, citizenship, art, design and technology, ICT, English and drama at key stages 2 to 4. Oh, and they will learn how to make invisible ink, write in code, and all the exciting stuff that James Bond never actually gets round to doing because he's too busy killing people.

Whether or not a visit to the exhibition is possible this term, there are specially developed spying resources available online. For a start, pupils are told preparation is vital for spying success: how would they research a mission to London's Science Museum?

Even more topical, there is a resource on the ethics of spying on today's celebrities - pupils who pick the paparazzi photographer card might have a different answer from those who get to play Kate Middleton - through to how to build an intruder alarm.

Fidelia Nimmons, who teaches at Bellenden Prim-ary in London, says: "The activities and background information are so relevant to today's society that children will want to find out more about how things really work."

For more details or to book tickets, visit

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