Bristol-based charity My Future My Choice has brought WOW physics to students at a school in Somerset, with funding from The Ogden Trust. These World of Work talks, by people who use physics in their day to day life, help to showcase the value of physics in schools and the diversity in future careers.
Year 10 students at Priory School, Weston-Super-Mare discovered more about careers that use physics when they were introduced (online) to two people who use physics in their day to day jobs. A gas turbine engineer (the designer of Concord's engines among other things) talked about his long career and interest in air/fluid dynamics; and a quantum physicist engaged the students with the inexplicable and spooky nature of her research.
Following the introductions and presentations, the students worked in groups of eight to research one of the jobs more fully and to prepare to interview the featured person to find out more. The interviews took place via video conferencing in online breakout rooms which were a really positive addition to the pre-COVID plans. The teams then had to produce a series of short ‘TikTok’ style videos (with music and graphics) to explain key aspects of the job, including: the skills or qualifications needed; the journey to that career; and the physics used.
The videos will be shared across the school community as a valuable and engaging careers resource. They will form part of a growing bank of resources as the WOW physics initiative continues to build.
“The project was adapted and downsized this year because of the COVID restrictions,” explains Hugh Thomas from My Future My Choice who developed the programme. “The event at Priory School was a test for us and the school and showed us the advantages of using affordable DIY conference kits so that small teams of students can engage with a visitor online. There was a positive response from student's to using TikTok to synthesise information about careers and scientific principles. We hope that next academic year we will be able to work with schools across the south west and to build a fantastic and inspiring collection of careers resources made by students that deliver the WOW of physics.”
"You could see our Year 10s were genuinely engaged by the physicists and enjoyed hearing all about the wonderful world of physics,” says Anthony Graves, science teacher at the school “They were even more taken aback when they were told they would be making a TikTok-style video about what they were learning, which prompted some bizarre and wonderful dances being practised to try and show everything from quantum tunnelling to Concord."
My Future My Choice delivers education services for The Bristol Initiative Charitable Trust. Hugh Thomas is the founder of My Future My Choice and is the creator of multidisciplinary educational programmes that boost confidence and inspire young people to think about their future. He leads education activities for The Bristol Initiative Trust which connects businesses and academics to schools in challenging districts with the aim of enriching young people's experiences and helping Bristol ‘generate learners with attitude’.