I was an Ogden sixth form scholar at Taunton School from 2011–2013 and I went on to study chemistry at university. I am now working at Edinburgh Science and have been involved with the first Widening Access to Physics strand of the School Days programme at the Edinburgh Science Festival. I successfully applied for an Ogden grant to support this new initiative, which also received funding from the Institute of Physics.
At the start of April 2019, hundreds of school children poured into City Art Centre in Edinburgh to take part in the School Days programme at the Edinburgh Science Festival. Schools arrived from across Edinburgh, each receiving a bespoke itinerary to travel through five-floors of hands-on workshops all about different aspects of science.
Students enjoyed tackling a variety of scientific challenges and activities; discovering the marvellous life of bees, scrubbing up and saving lives in a surgery simulation, learning about how satellites work and joining an out-of-this-world adventure on Mars to name just a few.
One of the core workshop streams at School Days is Widening Access to Physics – a series of physics workshops designed to introduce children to fundamental physics concepts and encourage problem solving and critical thinking. Students investigated electrical conductivity in Little Sparks, increasing their understanding of circuits, current and resistance. Those fascinated with robots got busy building their own in the Robo Constructors workshop – making robots move, light up and respond to stimuli to learn more about the importance of theory testing in robotic development.
These workshops actively engage children outside the classroom, so science becomes more exciting and is given a greater significance away from the school room. 'Widening access to Physics' has allowed children to engage with physics in a new way, discovering its huge importance and use in our daily lives.
The School Days programme is targeted at school students from deprived areas in and around Edinburgh, who may not usually get the chance to visit the Science Festival. This year marks the first 'School Days' programme with 'Widening Access to Physics' supported by The Ogden Trust and the Institute of Physics.
Ogden scholar 2011