Over the past year, Laura Marshall, teacher and science co-ordinator from Our Lady & Saint Kenelm Primary School, has encouraged every school in her Halesowen & Dudley Ogden Primary Partnership to appoint student Science Ambassadors. Having applied formally for the role and been appointed, these Year 3 to Year 6 pupils identify as ‘real’ scientists and wear their Science Ambassador badges with pride. They now help lead science in their schools – by fetching and setting up equipment for staff, supporting science in other year groups, writing articles/blog posts and inspiring others to become scientists.
To further promote and enhance the role, 30 Science Ambassadors, accompanied by the science co-ordinators from six local schools, met up last week for a day of inspiring science and, most importantly, to share their ideas and experiences.
The day started with a ‘Q&A’ session in which they came up with amazing questions such as ‘How are planets made?’, ‘Why is water blue?’ and ‘Why do animals all have the same colour blood?’. A game based on the elements of the periodic table was then used to mix children from different schools and sort them into groups for the main three activities: hands-on experiments in the Phiz Lab, a workshop in a community room and a visit to a Star Dome set up in the School Hall.
In the Phiz Lab session, led by Laura Marshall and Beverly Morris (an Ogden Teaching Assistant Fellow), the children made rainbow test tubes (by mixing up different-density sugar solutions of different colours), their own lava lamps and watched a demonstration of making elephant’s toothpaste. These creative activities led to exciting discussions and more scientific questions.
The ‘What are we made of?’ workshop, led by Jenny Watson, challenged the children to think beyond what we can see: they made ‘moly-mod’ molecules of H2O and CO2, pretended to be the nucleus or electrons in an atom, modelled atoms with sweets and then learnt about quarks and other fundamental particles.
Scott Walker, an Ogden Science Officer from Keele, not only provided the children with the opportunity to enter and experience Keele University’s Star Dome, but also enthralled them with information about space and sparked wonder and awe: their faces were a picture!
The pupils (and science co-ordinators) left at the end of the day, not only with new science best friends, but also full of ideas and enthusiasm as to how they personally could promote science at their school and inspire future scientists. With the help of inspiring ambassadors like these, the future of science is in safe hands!