Creative Science Centre

Aims

Moonpics’ at Gifted and Talented workshop at Sussex University

Moonpics’ at Gifted and Talented workshop at Sussex University

The Creative Science Centre aims to encourage young people to make and do things within science through hands-on workshops, science talks and projects designed for schools, colleges and the general public.

Arguments for inclusion

The Creative Science Centre makes cutting edge science topics, such as the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of C60 molecule, accessible to school children and the general public.
The REC encourages critical and creative thinking as well as active learning.
The REC also encourages participants to reflect on the role of science in society as something that may contribute to creating problems but also to solving them, as in the case of climate change.
The REC encourages young people to build confidence in their ability to study science at advanced level.

Relevant information in short

Main Research Partners

Dr Jonathan Hare and University of Sussex

Educational partners

Large numbers of schools and other organisations

Other partners

University of Sussex, Vega Science Trust, NESTA, The Royal Society, The Salters Institute, Hawlett and Packard, Sony UK.

Age classes

5-99

Thematic orientation

Chemistry, physics, engineering, maths, science and technology for sustainable development

Main Focus

Make science accessible through making and doing. Promote understanding of applications of scientific knowledge.

Duration of activity

Workshops, talks and events ran by scientists since 1990. Tailored programmes of workshops for groups of gifted and talented pupils, for example 12 workshops distributed over 2 years.

Resources

Funding and has been received from the organisations listed as ’other partners’. Jonathan Hare runs the Creative Science Centre currently as self-employed, but is also an associate of the University of Sussex. The university provides the lab for the workshops that take place on campus. Many workshops take place in schools and in events for the general public.

Website

www.creative-science.org.uk

Contact person

Dr Jonathan Hare


Context and conditions

Creative Science Centre at University of Sussex started in 1990. The origins of the project were directly linked to the team of Professor Harry Kroto who shared with Curl and Smalley in 1996 the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery of the C60 molecule also known as Buckminsterfullerene. Years before the Nobel Prize the team was taking simple activity kits to schools for children to learn about the C60 molecule by constructing it in different size models.
Creative Science Centre grew to become the main work of one of the research scientist, Dr Jonathan Hare, and has since extended the science education activities to cover many topics from comets to nanotubes and from creating renewable energy to building transistors. Colleague Dr David Daniels, from the University of Sussex, runs the Gifted and Talented programme with researchers as guest workshop leaders.

There is no formal network or partnership. Rather there is a large informal network of contacts with educational and research organisations built over many years. Several important funders, listed in the table above, have supported the project at different stages and the University of Sussex has provided additional material help, for example in the form of labs and IT support.
Dr Jonathan Hare has also been involved in extensive television work through BBC’s science education programmes Rough Science and Hollywood Science, broadcast in 26 countries. 

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Children climbing into a C60 Molecule, or the Bucky Ball, they have constructed.

A Martian Rover constructed in a Robotics workshop.

On the task: pupils concentrating on building their models.


Activities and Contents

The activities are either single sessions or longer programmes targeting a specific group of pupils, such as those identified by their schools as ‘Gifted and Talented’. The workshops are adapted to pupils and students of all age groups from 5 year olds to students considering academic study in science subjects. Importantly the Creative Science also provides workshops for anyone interested during festivals and events, therefore reaching adult population beyond the education sector.

Methodologies

The activities are based on the idea of combining information, visual presentation and hands-on activities to convey experiences science. Everyone in the workshop actively participates in doing something and seeing it work. Participants are encouraged to learn through trial and error, using their creativity. Links between science, historical context and social issues are highlighted and critical thinking is actively invited.

Curriculum relevance

The activities do not follow any formal curriculum planning. They are creative applications or extensions of knowledge that forms part of educational objectives at different stages of schooling. Their strength is in demonstrating that science serves many purposes and can be engaging and fun. Teachers attending the workshops together with their students have an opportunity to observe the teaching and learning in the Creative Science activities.

Mutual benefits

'The Creative Science Centre certainly is listening to the needs of schools and trying to produce real opportunities to support and enhance students learning',Jan Meering, Head of Science, The Angmering School

'A highly effective and imaginative Public Understanding of Science initiative … the CSC promises to be a blueprint for the future and is a novel example of an imaginative approach to science education as a cultural experience', Prof. Sir Harry Kroto, University of Sussex

'Having attended your workshop today I thought I should e-mail you some of the comments made by the pupils on the return trip. As you are probably aware sixteen year old pupils are notoriously difficult to please, however on our trip back not one - and I mean this - not one pupil had a negative comment… some liked the fact the talk was pitched at the right level and lasted just the right length. Others liked the fact they could take something away, and just about all of them loved making the models. I have taken pupils away on educational visits where there were nothing but comments about why did we go and so on. This afternoon pupils actually went into the foyer and started explaining what the bucky balls were about to the secretaries! Some pupils even went to find their own science teachers to tell them.' John Kavanagh, Head of Science, Reigate School, Surrey

Evaluation /feedbacks  

Participants provide feedback through evaluation forms. The scientists running the workshops read the feedback and develop the sessions to respond to suggestions. The comments below illustrate the prevalently positive experiences. These and more comments are available through the website www.creative-science.org .

Comments from students

I enjoyed building and working the robots the most. I would have liked a longer time so that we can share ideas about the tasks.”
“I learnt that there is a lot more carbon monoxide in the air than I thought.”
“I learnt how to use Global Positioning Satellite and camcorder.”

Photographs were originally published on the http://www.creative-science.org.uk website

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