Schools Workshops and Talks
BBC Rough Science’s Jonathan Hare and Brighton Science Festival’s Richard Robinson offer a full range of highly successful workshops and talks, honed to perfection during the Brighton Science Festival’s school tours each January. They are curriculum-based and appropriate for whole classes (11+ years old), all with excellent reviews from teachers and students.
A talk to fit every occasion, with everything from the entire history of the universe in 13.72 minutes to the physics of skateboarding, and everything in between.
Encouraging team work and creative thinking, the workshops can function as either a lesson or as a drop-in and run for approximately one hour.
Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, we look at the science that inspired Mary Shelley to write it. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the battery had been invented and electricity was being investigated. Some startling experiments inspired the ideas that led to not only Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, but also the electric motor. We recreate some of the experiments, and the sense of wonder of the time, and also build an electro-magnet and an electric motor in which the students become part of the mechanism.
|A Balanced Curriculum
A mobile-making workshop, celebrating the famous 20th century artist Alexander Calder, who invented the mobile in 1931. Calder was trained as an engineer. He would never have invented the mobile otherwise: it deals in balance and moments. So in the classes we discuss balance and moments, then they build mobiles, using the idea of the balancing objects to create original, meaningful works of art (not STEM but STEAM – that’s STEM with added Art). Creations like the ‘Balance of Power’, ‘A Balanced Diet’, the Solar System, a shark chasing a shoal of sardines etc. It’s ‘science by stealth’.
How do seagulls manage to bomb us so effectively? How do their tiny brains factor in their own forward motion and the acceleration of gravity? Did they study vectors while they were chicks? Can we design and build a delivery system of comparable accuracy? During the session the students discover the powerful blend of creative thinking and teamwork, questioning, answering, adopting, adapting, improving, experimenting, discarding and redesigning while finding the best way to drop poo on their friends’ heads. This is the physics and maths of moving bodies, also the pure engineering challenge of building them.
|Capacitors, Resistors & Moog Synthesizers
This workshop explores capacitors and resistors, through the power of music – in particular the moog synthesizer. Together, the capacitor and the resistor are what makes a synthesizer synthesize. The workshop was developed over 60 sessions with 12-14 year olds. But it’ll work for anyone who would like to know a little about electronics in general and electronic music in particular.
|Of All The Nerve
A Wellcome Trust supported exploration of the brain. The students each become a neuron and are wired up together to form a small brain (or ganglion). They experience thinking, practicing and learning as they attempt a simple task. They become distracted and fatigued, exactly like real neurons, and in the end they triumph. The session includes a survey of the neuron and a look at how ganglions in the eye are responsible for some optical illusions. For students 12+. 1 hour session for 26-30 people.
|The Incredible Machine
(Sponsored by the Institute of Physics)
Jonathan Hare’s workshop encourages bold thinking, planning and teamwork as they create a wind turbine powerful enough to power a radio. Best as a 1 hour session for groups of 30 or so.
|Voice on a Light Beam
Jonathan Hare’s ingenious workshop shows teams of students how to transmit their voices across a room, using a simple torch beam and a tiny mirror. The mirror vibrates with the sound of the voice. The light beam therefore vibrates and the pickup translates the vibrations into sound – the voice of the speaker. A 1 hour session for groups of up to 35.