Family Science Fair
11 March 2016
‘Wow-factor’ science engages primary and secondary school pupils
Some of the most exciting and innovative science activities designed to engage youngsters will be demonstrated later this month by school pupils and University students at a Family Science Fair.
The Welsh language event will celebrate the culmination of a series of weekly Science Club activities run by Dr Siân Griffiths from the University’s School of Biosciences.
Pupils at two Welsh-language schools tried out different science activities designed by University researchers to find out which were the most engaging and effective. Schoolteachers and University students developed bilingual teaching materials, lesson plans and practical work to help support the young peoples’ learning.
“Key areas of the science curriculum overlap with the University’s research strengths so we wanted to use our expertise to create ‘wow factor’ hands-on science that showcased our research,” explained Dr Griffiths.
Themed sessions such as ‘why bubbles burst’, ‘the climate change challenge’ and ‘alien invaders’ taught the pupils about the water cycle, the roles of organisms in ecosystems and the consequences of environmental change for our health.
Through the Science Club, pupils learned new scientific skills, improved their understanding of scientific principles and found out more about the University’s research. Schoolteachers also gained increased confidence in performing science-based activities.
“We used games and activities to help develop key science skills in the pupils and at the same time our own undergraduate students developed science communication and public engagement skills important for future employability,” added Dr Griffiths.
In the Family Science Fair, which will be held during British Science Week (11-20 March 2016), youngsters from Ysgol Pencae will show their classmates, teachers and parents what they’ve learned and demonstrate some of the new activities in practice. They will be joined by secondary school pupils from Ysgol Gyfun Plasmawr as well as students and scientists from the University’s School of Biosciences.
“Our aim is to show how important Biosciences are to our everyday lives, inspire the next generation of scientists and develop the scientific skills of students of every age,” said Dr Griffiths.”
The Science Club and Family Science Fair is one of a number of initiatives run as part of the University’s School’s Partnership Project. The project supports researchers’ direct engagement with students and helps bring contemporary and inspirational research contexts into formal and informal learning. The Partnership Project is funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK) as part of their School-University Partnerships Initiative.