During the course of last year, we undertook some simple surveys to find out what Midlands students thought about science, the teaching of it and the subject itself. A large number of responses indicated that science could definitely be more fun in the classroom and that this should start from an early age.
One student said, ‘I have loved science from a very young age and think it is so important to start encouraging pupils as early as primary school level about what an adventure it can be to explore science and all its wonders. Events such as the Midlands Science Festival ensure that children as young as five years old have the opportunity to see how certain elements of science work, but in a more fun and often lighthearted way. I dressed up as a scientist for a primary school fashion show years ago; that’s how young I was when I fell in love with science!’
The Midlands Science Festival will be heading into its fourth year in November and we will be doing some work over the next year or so to track back to those pupils who experiences their first science festival event in 2013 to see what they think of these events, to find out if they have had any impact on them and on their understanding of science and to see how they feel about learning science at school.
We know from talking to teachers that students (especially the younger ones) really learn through fun but we also know that it can depend on how much emphasis is place on science as a subject in the early years of schools. In some cases, it can be down to one very enthusiastic science teacher and in other cases the importance of science is not empahsized enough. We try to work with both ends of the scale so we aim to bring science events to the existing science enthusiasts but we are also working to ensure more and more schools avail of science activities even if it isn’t on the top of their agenda …yet!
Fionnuala Doheny, Principal of Scoil Mhuire in Tullamore commented, ‘It is our belief that once an appreciation of maths and a curiosity of science is established, often through fun activities such as maths trails, boat making or attending Midlands Science Festival events, it will stay with them forever and indeed many of our past pupils have taken up careers in the world of science and maths.’
Recently while doing some research into events planning and how we in the Midlands Science Festival team can make sure we are providing ample school based science activities that are fun and exciting we came across this really interested TED talk. It features a teacher in the United States who explains the importance of all of this and how he has worked to make science fun!
Take a look at this link and see how you can ensure young people have the opportunity to learn just how much science is all around them and just how fun it can be –