Kate Shaw is Year 2 teacher at Sitwell Infant School, Rotherham
What the children found exciting was the darkness, going down and down in a lift and the fact that they were actually underground. We did a lot of preliminary work about the formation of coal, about coal as a natural material and about the history of mining, and going down a mine has put what they've learned in the classroom into context.
We treated this as a cross-curricular visit including history, looking at materials and their properties for science, and for geography why communities spring up in the places they do. We'll also be working on a dance in PE about children working down a mine. Our guide was very friendly and put the children at their ease. The nice thing is that the guides are all former miners and can talk to children from their own experience. The children were surprised that animals worked down a mine, and that children of their own age would work there. Pupils we've taken before still talk about their visit, because it was so different to anything else they'd seen. I think it's an experience our children will remember forever.