Saturday, 10 December 2011

Strange day- possibly the last science club I will do at Catalyst.
Some of you know that I am leaving the science centre at Christmas to start up my own business.

When I  left teaching to come to Catalyst the one thing I thought I would really miss was that special relationship a teacher has with the class - whether it is a primary teacher who has 30 or so kids for a whole year or the secondary teacher who might teach 100s but also gets to see them every week for months on end. You build up a special bond - sometimes you are relieved to see them go...let's be honest but mostly you get a special joy watching them mature and grasp whatever you have been trying to pass on.
My Mike 
As education manager at Catalyst I teach about 11,000 kids every year and usually see them only once so no chance of getting to know them at all. 

Science club has given me the chance to really get to know a whole group of great kids - some I have known for 6 years! I have watched them grow up - written references for some, written college and university letters for some, chatted over the nerves about going to secondary school with the young ones, chatted over the nerves about going to uni with the older ones!
It has been a joy to watch as youngsters choose to study science, to help out with tricky homework and for just a few to watch as they succeed in science at A level and go to university.

When I arrived there were 6 in the club and it was a bit intense - which for those of you who know me just is not my style. We now have over 60 on the books who come pretty regularly - there were 35 there today either in SSC for the younger ones or in OATs the older group. New ones arrive almost every month.
Mike Pitts one of our helpers in a show
The idea is to make science exciting and accessible by doing so lots of hands on experiments. They love being lab rats for new shows the education team is developing and they certainly know how to give feedback!! We invite local scientists to come in a share their work or their favourite experiments - it is a great place for potential STEM ambassadors to cut their teeth.
And so to Scientific Santa - a tradition we stared 5 years ago where we make presents with a science feel. It actually gets quite hard to think up new ideas but as the members move on we can bring back old favourites.
Of course it wouldn't be us if we didn't make soap and this year we made bath bombs too.

soap fruits

thermoplastic keyrings and Christmas decorations
We made keyrings coloured with glitter from our fantastic thermoplastic and I managed to get hold of some candle kits that only need the heat of your hand to melt and mold the wax. But I think the runaway success this year was the BOING BOING balls - little crystals poured into moulds that are submerged in water for a minute and then set into amazing bouncy balls. Huge fun

So thanks to all the volunteers and helpers over the last 6 years that have made science club possible - special thanks to my husband Mike, who only came to carry the heavy stuff but ended up as one of the main leaders - you know I couldn't have done all this without you x
blowing up icing sugar testing it for the Big Bang show

testing candyfloss for the suagr and spice show


blowing up Charlie

sugar glass - science of the movies

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