Thursday, 24 January 2013

Tripping the light fantastic

What a wonderful job we have!
On Thursday we travelled to Parochial Primary School Ashton-u-Lyne to deliver our show Inside the Rainbow which is all about light and colour.

We couldn't believe that it is almost a year since we were first there but some of the children remembered us - which was great!
In two sessions the whole school including the nursery were able to experience one of our favourite shows.
Picture the scene - you enter the school hall which is in darkness and at the front you can see so many twinkling, spinning and colour changing lights - it is like a mini Blackpool!

The youngest ones were so excited but incredibly well behaved and sat through the whole show riveted - some were very brave and came out to help us.

Starting in the dark we explored natural and man made lights, looking at shadows on the way and experiencing all the colours of the rainbow with the wonderful rainbow glasses.

We were dressed in black with EL lighting which is very flexible and can be twisted into lots of shapes so we we were wearing it around us.

For the older ones we found out about the vocabulary used in light, we explored chemical colours, bio and chemi-luminescence and Helen showed off her super light sabre

We heard all about Helen's dog Monty who was given a lovely new ball for Christmas but it was red and as dogs don't see red very well we all decided that for his birthday she should buy him a blue and yellow one which he will be able to see really well!
The show finished with Helen illuminating hidden messages on the walls with a UV torch.

A very sensory experience for everyone and a super day for us all.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Creative Learning

We have been out and about sharing great science this week.

Our first stop was a Creative Curriculum day with 3rd Year student teachers at Manchester Metropolitan University on the Didsbury campus.

We arrived with enough time to set up and then go into the keynote speech by Daniel Waind, Advanced skills Teacher at Woodhey High school, Bury. His lively talk highlighted how teachers should give opportunities for creative learning within their class even if they don't feel creative themselves! This philosophy fits right in with us at Science2U as we are always encouraging our teachers to add a little creativity to their science through simple practicals and investigations.

After a quick coffee we led our first session with about 26 students who are about to go on teaching placement. They hadn't been into their schools so had no idea of what age they would be with or what was expected of them but were all anxious to include some good science hands on in their planning.
We shared lots of demonstrations with them using volunteers and then they all had the chance to have a go. We had taken colour changing straws, heat sensitive paper, the ever popular rainbow glasses and one of the favourites - art on a plate. 

                               click here to go to Youtube clip of art on a plate

Everyone was able to have a go at this amazing experiment and we all chatted about how it could be incorporated into lessons - there were some very creative ideas - ranging from carnival to super novas!

A quick break and it was time for take two - a second session - slightly smaller with a similar format to the first and due to the smaller group size a little more time to spend with students chatting about their needs for classroom science. It is a joy to be able to share my love of teaching with the next generation - good luck in school guys!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

One Year On

I can't believe that it is a whole year since Helen and I left Catalyst to start our company Science2U.
It was another huge leap off the cliff  but WOW we have had a great year.
The anniversary of the formation of the company is in a few weeks so this blog is not a celebration yet but I have just updated the website with a slideshow of images from our pre-Christmas tour plus highlights of our year.
Visit the website for a peep

I really enjoyed the RI Christmas lectures over the holidays and was thrilled to see them using some of our demonstrations including using handwarmers to demonstrate changing state. I just wish we could have a handwarmer for everyone in the audience like they did!! Mind you we had over 200 watching at Sandbach which could create a problem when you want to recharge the handwarmers which we do by boiling them!!

The state of the month is also the time for publication of the newsletter. So again if you want a copy visit the website and either download from there or if you want to be on the mailing list leave an electronic contact address and we will make sure you always get a copy.
This month the theme is winter science which includes snow, ice and salt obviously but also catching a cold id de to speak. I do hope you said that in character!!
We are off to Manchester Met. next week for a day of creative science with some super primary student teachers. They are about to go on teaching placement so we will be giving them lots of ideas to take with them. Hopefully we will have pictures to share too.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Christmas Science Extravaganza

The final leg of our Christmas science tour

So there we were on Friday of a super week of science. So far we had been in secondary schools but today we were off to St Thomas primary in Maghull.
For the Autumn term they had been studying electricity and light so as a final flourish to their term they had booked us for one of our  favourite shows Inside the Rainbow. The show explores light, how we power lights, colour and how we see so of course being so close to Christmas we took all our lights, lamps and even wore our fairy hairbands.

The school were in the middle of nativity performances so the hall was all set up for an audience and blacked out. We set up just in front of the stable and baby Jesus with angels in the background - not often you get to do that!
The first group to come to the hall was year 5 & 6 - so some serious science words in this show! We even discovered that dogs only see in blue and yellow so no use buying Monty that red ball, Helen!

During a short break we gathered the very youngest from reception to come for a special short session just for them - this was incredibly exciting and almost magical. One little girl was convinced we were fairies!

Then we had year 3 & 4 whose science knowledge was really great and their vocabulary brilliant

After lunch we had year 1 & 2 who thought the whole thing wonderful - one young man really wanted to get hold of some of the gadgets we had - and wondered if we had bought them from Blackpool!

We had about an hour left so spent a session doing hands on with year 5 who really loved being able to get up close to lots of our props and had a taster of next terms subject - materials.