21st January 2000 at 00:00
The magic of cinema exists not only on the big screen, but also in the wonderful world of Victorian magic-lantern slides. Combining film and theatre, the Museum of the Moving Image's Movies at the Music Hall is a two-hour show which mixes Victorian musical entertainment with information about the early history of cinema at the Players Theatre in London.

Other MOMI events for key stage 2 and above take place at the IMAX cinema, which is also hosting a run of Fantasia 2000, the new version of the Walt Disney classic. Little has changed, but it's been digitally remastered for the IMAX screen, Mickey Mouse has had a facelift and the colours are better (teacher's pack available). Despite its recent closure, MOMI's education programme is alive and well, featuring curriculum-led projects, workshops and teacher training events. MOMI Education Projects Development Unit: 0171 255 1444.

Older film buffs can enjoy the Fritz Lang retrospective at the National Film Theatre in London. The German-born director made 1930s Expressionist classics such as Metropolis, M, and The Testament of Doctor Mabuse, as well as postwar Hollywood films such as The Big Heat and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. The season runs until February. NFT: 0171 928 3232.

You're never too young to go to the theatre, says the Unicorn Theatre for Children, whose latest puppet show, Paperchase, is billed as "an imaginative and visual journey for four to seven-year-olds". Cameron, a little boy in cap and striped T-shirt, is given pencil and paper. At first, he's more interested in messing around with the paper - then he discovers the power of the pencil.

Sue Buckmaster, who last year enthralled audiences at London's Young Vic with her puppets in The Lost and Moated Land and The Nativity, is the director. The show is designed to introduce very young children to theatre, and a painting by four-year-old Leda is being used to advertise it.

Under Unicorn's Access Works scheme, groups from schools with 50 per cent of children receiving free school meals can get a 50 per cent reduction on ticket prices (which vary from pound;5 to pound;10, plus additional reductions on group bookings). Under a programme sponsored by Gap Kids, some parties can get free coach travel to and from the Pleasance Theatre, north London. There are also Family Day workshops on Sundays in February. Paperchase runs from January 29 to February 27. Unicorn: 0171 700 7208 0702.

If children and yong people want to write their own plays, The Young Playwrights Festival - now in its 11th year - is the chance to have their work performed by a professional company. Run by Theatre Exchange, based in Leatherhead, Surrey, the festival "shows we are recognising and supporting new and young writers ", according to its director, Beth Wood. With the February 18 deadline for entries approaching, it's time to persuade your pupils (aged seven and over) to get that script out of the drawer or put finger to keyboard. Details from the festival hotline: 01372 362700, or at www.bcity.comtheatre_exchange.

Teachers seeking to get underachieving boys interested in the arts may be interested in the Galatea Trust's one-day conference, Dance, Mozart and Environments. After an opening speech by Roger Day, former drama adviser for Lincolnshire and Wiltshire local authorities, the rest of the conference will focus on the classroom. In the session on "Dance for Boys in a Hostile Environment", Debbie Holme, director of Essex Dance Theatre, will share her experiences of using dance to turn around difficult classes. Then Anne Savan, a teacher at Aberdare boys comprehensive, will talk about discovering how Mozart can be an aid to concentration. Galatea Trust: 01376 518867.

Other ideas for stimulating pupils through art include using pop-up books to encourage self-expression. One of the Vamp;A's series of teacher's courses explores the use of these colourful and ingenious books for teaching literacy and art at key stages 1 to 3. The museum's full-day course on pop-ups, held on February 4, aims to enable teachers to master the techniques for making these books on their own. Run by Carol Mahoney, Charles Hustwick and Andrew Russell, the course features pop-ups from the museum's collection plus examples from the National Art Library. Vamp;A: 0171 942 2209.

Ready to rock? Join the 3,500 existing members of Rockwatch, a club for eight to 16-year-olds interested in geology (teachers can become Rockwatch leaders).

Gathering inspiration for creative projects is an important element of the club's activities, with an annual Rockhound Challenge competition for artwork on themes connected with the history of the earth. Rockwatch members also get a badge, magnifier, maps and fact cards, and there is a network of events including fossil hunts and "dinosaur funtimes" held around the country. Rockwatch: 01636 670000.

Aleks Sierz

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