Time Capsule

Year 5 & 6

Follow the miners' trail and solve their clues to unlock their Time Capsule and explore its intriguing contents left behind decades ago...

Aims of this workshop:

  • To make numeracy more tangible and exciting by connecting it to real faces, stories and places. 
  • To provide practical opportunities of using different measuring devices and units of measure.
  • To further understand what took place on Geevor’s last working day, and the miners who were affected by it, through object handling.

What happens on the day

The huge size and scale of mining operations, as well as the story of the last days of Cornwall’s tin industry, is explored by students using tools, such as trundle wheels and measuring scales. Their aim is to solve numerical clues to unlock a ‘time capsule’ and so reveal artefacts left by miners on the last working day at Geevor in Feb 1990.

In the first part of the workshop the students divide into small groups. Each group is provided with a map and the information they need to find clues. All the clues are hidden around the top of the site. The children are encouraged to find and solve the clues by themselves, although each group must be accompanied by an adult and help sheets are provided alongside the clues.

Each clue has a numerical problem to solve but also reveals insights into a different miner and his life at Geevor. Once all the answers have been collected, the students use their answers to discover the combination to unlock a ‘time capsule’ that the miners left behind on their last day. Once the ‘time capsule’ is open, the Learning Team member leads an artefact handling session. The ‘time capsule’ is packed full of objects and artefacts that illuminate more about the miners who left the clues, and give the personal testimony of those affected by the mine closure in 1990.

Main themes: Mathematics, Geography, History, Citizenship

Accompanying Resources:


For this workshop, the standard Outreach would be suitable for this age group and available to local groups. A charge to cover petrol costs applies.

Loans Box:

To complement this workshop, the Finding Your Way Underground Loan Box explores numeracy in practice using the vital job of mine surveying as a basis for hands-on activities. Also, the Mining History Loan Box introduces the basics of hard rock mining through both replica and genuine objects, photos and information, which complements any site visit.

Website Links:

See the top right hand side of this screen for related links on this website or explore topics for yourself.

More detail for teachers: 

Links to relevant downloadable pdfs can be found along the right of this page (scroll up). Further teaching resources, audios and photos can be downloaded from our Resource Bank.

For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions or contact Geevor's Learning Team

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