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Learning through dance

Published: 17 February 2020

Lightyear Foundation is a science charity breaking down barriers to get more disabled people into STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine). Last year, with support from The Ogden Trust, they collaborated with inclusive dance organisation, Flamingo Chicks to up-skill 13 of its dance teachers on physics and STEMM; the idea being to use active learning to embed knowledge.

This initiative has enabled science-themed active learning workshops to be delivered, already reaching 291 disabled children across the UK.

Dr Josie Rawes, a physics lecturer from the University of York and Lucinda Offer, Education and Outreach Officer from the Royal Astronomical Society and Executive Director of the Mars Society – both provided their insight and expertise on the teacher training day which covered three upcoming themes: More than Alien Worlds; Inventing; and Flight.

Following the teacher training day, teachers fed back a 40% shift in confidence in science delivery.

Lady Catherine Ogden and former Ogden regional rep, Alison Rivett also attended the workshop to observe.
Lady Catherine Ogden (centre front) and former Ogden regional rep, Alison Rivett (holding alien!) also attended the workshop to observe.

“Active learning and blending the two different interests is a great way to look outside the box. It engages many people in different ways and allows a different avenue of your creativity to flourish. I took away the mindset that nothing is impossible.”

“Being so supported makes a huge different to us as teachers – today has given me more confidence to try new ideas in classes and I feel much more equipped to deliver the science content too. The fusion of science/dance has really appealed to the teenage boys I teach – they are responding so well to it. On a personal level, active learning has given me a new purpose and challenge and I’m really enjoying it. “

“What an inspiriting and exciting day! I left feeling wholeheartedly more confident with my teaching, especially the science content. It was just incredible to meet the real life scientists and I loved hearing about Lucinda’s work on Mars.”

“We created science term lesson plans to equip teachers with specific exercises and techniques explained for a variety of disabilities,” explains CEO Katherine Sparkes. “We delivered 44 outreach workshops across the UK, the teacher training day and a further six work inspiration days.”

“Thanks to the STEMM lesson plans, Alien Worlds term is now complete with classes delivered to 291 children through 23 weekly sessions in Bristol, Cardiff, Yorkshire and London. Outreach workshops also led to several schools booking regular classes, as well as actively engaging an increased number of boys and enabling children from SEN and mainstream settings to work together. Next up is Inventing and Flight terms so the Ogden funded training will reach even more disabled children in the coming months.” concludes Katherine.

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