Saturday, 26 November 2011

Climate Change project

A few months ago I was totally blown over by a phone call from a member of the Science Museum London's outreach team asking if Catalyst would think about being part of a project with them......after I had picked myself up from the floor....
The project is a three year exploration of climate change inspired by the Museum's atmosphere gallery 

Last year a couple of centres took part working with schools to share ideas about climate change through art. This year the sharing is through print - journalism actually.
Each school has to produce a double page spread of articles and interviews about local climate issues which will then be worked on by a graphics team to create an actual magazine. This will be published and the schools  and pupils will all get copies and a travelling exhibition will be produced and go to all the participating museums and science centres.
So early Tuesday morning the science museum team arrived at Catalyst to set up for the day.
The school kids arrived - 60 year 9s from local schools in Cheshire and Wirral and even one from North wales and the day began!
A fun session with Punk Science followed by an interview on journalism. then a tour around the museum and lunch. The afternoon session was a hands on have a go at being your own journalistic team to get the ideas flowing.
Over the three days 7 different schools have been challenged and they have until Spring 2012 to produce their ideas. 
A really exciting project which I will keep my readers up to date with. Watch this space.....

Monday, 21 November 2011

Saving the Planet

We have just finished a week of Enterprise where we challenge large teams for 12 - 16 year olds to create a gizmo to save the planet by using alternative energy methods or recycling or similar.They then have to pitch their idea, models and all to a small team of Dragons from industry!
Helen and I have done this event since 2007 and we have pretty well seen it all but this year we had some new ideas.
One which was totally unique wanted to harness the energy produced by all those small earthquakes that happen every day. Another wanted every factory to have its own CO2 scrubber made from a small plantation of trees - they called it the Tree factory.
It is great to see young people thinking so imaginatively without boundaries. Their science may not be up to the task but because they have no pre-conceptions they think very radically. Perhaps this is the way for companies to go - have brainstorming sessions with youngsters then bring in the scientists to filter out those possible for development.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Story tent

I have just finished creating a dedicated space for story telling at Catalyst. We have been telling stories for a few years - Herby the hedgehog goes recycling, Freddie the Frog - a life story and Bertie the Bear explores light and dark. Stories for the very young with a science feel. We made our own stories and big books and used props to make it come alive.
Now however we have moved on to myths and legends about science facts - story telling for an older age group.
The first story - hot off the press - explores world myths about rainbows, from the Greek Goddess Iris through the Aborigine Rainbow serpent to the Hawaiian rainbow maiden. then we link in how a rainbow is formed and the spectrum and finish with our wonderful rainbow glasses that split white light up into a myriad of rainbows - quite a trip really!

The idea of the story tent is to create a space removed from the science centre that is peaceful and quiet and creates an atmosphere of wonder. Our room certainly does that!

Arnold School from Blackpool were the first ones to try it out yesterday. The year 4 group said it was awesome - quite a compliment I think.
It does look a bit like a tarts boudoir with all the swathes of material and coloured lights but it is a super place to tell legends and I think year 4 might be making some of their own up back at school.
Now I am off to research the myths about the sun, stars, moon and planets.........