Badminton School, Bristol, Science Outreach
Promotion of science through wow factor demonstrations based on liquid nitrogen and unusual magnetic phenomena. Programme of links with primary schools that involves students giving talks, being a teacher for the day and mentoring small groups.
Aim: To provide a positive role model of girls engaging with the physical sciences to inspire the next generation of science students.
Need: Primary schools tend not to have access to the skills or equipment required.
Some years ago we looked at our community links and identified local schools who we thought would benefit from greater exposure to girls engaged with exciting science. This links in with a national aspiration from the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry for young students to have positive female role models in science. In its current form the initiative has been established for six years.
Resources: expensive scientific equipment such as nitrogen storage Dewars and laboratory space. Teaching staff costs and girls willing to engage. It does use school facilities on some occasions. We also visit primary schools where it would be difficult for them to come to us. Each visit uses two staff for two hours and on average there are three to five liquid nitrogen visits per term and we are looking to do at least two magnetism sessions per term also. There is no financial contribution asked from schools.
Success factors: engagement of pupils and quality of work they produce in the magnet session. Return visits. Positive feedback after each visit.
Immediate beneficiaries: Year 5 pupils in local primary environments.
We use pupils from a variety of age groups as strong role models and mentors to the younger primary children emphasising the importance of women in science and the development of confidence in speaking in front of an audience for both our own pupils and those in the primary schools involved. Senior pupils range from Year 10 to Upper Sixth and the primary pupils are in Year 5.
This is an ongoing commitment to benefit the wider community and is projected to continue ad infinitum. With Westbury-on-Trym Academy we run three sessions per year and a similar number in a number of other schools.