It has been shown that as school students progress though secondary education there is a reduction in the popularity of the sciences and in particular physics. In recent years the three UK science-oriented Research Councils (EPSRC, PPARC, BBSRC), the major biomedical funding charity, The Wellcome Trust and NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) have all been making substantial funds available for science communication projects in order to engage students and communicate science in schools in an effort to amend this decline in attitude. This includes projects that involve creative and experimental collaborations between science and the arts.

The paper will describe a baseline study that aimed to establish school children’s preferences for teaching activities that are traditionally used to teach physics along with more creative approaches. It will report the findings of how helpful students feel different activities are in aiding their understanding of physics, along with the linkage between these aspects. The paper will also explore the applications of this research into understanding the factors that affect the success of science communication projects.

In addition the paper focuses upon a summary of the evaluation results from a project that involved the collaboration of both scientists and artists. The impact on students of a science theatre project “Science Journeys” that aimed to entertain, inform and enthuse young people about the science and technology of Particle Physics and Astronomy will be discussed. The effect of two aspects of the project on changing students’ attitudes towards science will be highlighted (i) interactive performance workshops where student participants developed their own drama pieces along with (ii) a science based play delivered to students as audience members.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communicating science to secondary school students with the creativeand perform ingarts

Siân Owen   Science Communication Unit, The University of Liverpool, UK

Dominic Dickson   Science Communication Unit, The University of Liverpool, UK

It has been shown that as school students progress though secondary education there is a reduction in the popularity of the sciences and in particular physics. In recent years the three UK science-oriented Research Councils (EPSRC, PPARC, BBSRC), the major biomedical funding charity, The Wellcome Trust and NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) have all been making substantial funds available for science communication projects in order to engage students and communicate science in schools in an effort to amend this decline in attitude. This includes projects that involve creative and experimental collaborations between science and the arts.

The paper will describe a baseline study that aimed to establish school children’s preferences for teaching activities that are traditionally used to teach physics along with more creative approaches. It will report the findings of how helpful students feel different activities are in aiding their understanding of physics, along with the linkage between these aspects. The paper will also explore the applications of this research into understanding the factors that affect the success of science communication projects.

In addition the paper focuses upon a summary of the evaluation results from a project that involved the collaboration of both scientists and artists. The impact on students of a science theatre project “Science Journeys” that aimed to entertain, inform and enthuse young people about the science and technology of Particle Physics and Astronomy will be discussed. The effect of two aspects of the project on changing students’ attitudes towards science will be highlighted (i) interactive performance workshops where student participants developed their own drama pieces along with (ii) a science based play delivered to students as audience members.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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