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North Wyke wins prize at National Science and Engineering Week
Colleagues at North Wyke have been awarded the British Science Association first place in the 2011 National Science & Engineering Week Outstanding Contribution Category and a cash prize of £800. Tom Horner, the judge stated: “The quality of our finalists’ events this year was very high indeed. At Rothamsted however, I was particularly impressed with the variety of activities on offer, the combination of “real science” and fun activities and the personal contributions made by staff outside their remits. It also struck me what a valuable contribution your week made in exposing local children to science. I think you provide a unique and invaluable service to the local community.”
The 2011 North Wyke Science Fair, organized by Patricia Butler, has been enthusiastically attended by local Primary Schools during National Science and Engineering Week for well over 10 years. They are very proud to have won the 'Outstanding Contribution' award from the British Science Association for the 2011 Science Fair; this year we ran the event over 3 days with pupils, teachers and parents visiting us from 8 local Primary Schools.
The Science Fair consisted of 5 different workshops providing as much ‘hands on’ activity as possible for the children. Three North Wyke PhD students each ran a workshop:
Tegan Darch ran ‘What is in your water?’ where the children measured the concentrations of different chemicals in the water; Jennie Williams ran ‘Bugs can be engineers’ showing the children different soil structures and the invertebrates beneath the soil with the help of David Hogan and Steve Granger ran ‘Rocks can bend!’ where the children learned about how sedimentary rocks are formed and made their own plaster casts of fossils to take home.
Alison Rivett from the Institute of Physics (www.iop.org) and undergraduate physicists from the University of Exeter ran the ‘Sounds like fun’ workshop enabling the children to investigate and experiment with sound and to make musical instruments that they could take away - this was the most popular with the children though I suspect not the most popular with the teachers on the coaches on the way home!
‘Hands On Science’ with Peter Bidewell also provided a great workshop about rockets – the children built their own rockets and then went out in the garden to fire them.
The North Wyke Science Fair is an opportunity for children to meet ‘real’ scientists and to have fun with science and hopefully gain a much more positive view of science. We have had some wonderful feedback again this year, so we hope that we can keep providing these opportunities in the future:
95% of children gave us the ‘thumbs up’ for the event, 80% thought that science is ‘good or better’ and a teacher wrote ‘it was great seeing children that don’t normally get engaged really getting involved with activities’.
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