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Expert Explainers Tell All at the Science Oxford Centre

Wednesday 11th March 2020

This term Science Oxford has been involved in a national programme to increase diversity and inclusion in science. We are one of just 15 organisations who are delivering initiatives as part of the UK Association of Science and Discovery Centre and the Science Museum Group’s Science Capital Programme. The initiative focuses on embedding good practice informed by the latest science capital research.

Research into science capital has been led by the work of Professor Louise Archer and her team from University College London and King’s College London. Your science capital is a measure of your engagement or relationship with science and is made up of what you know about science, how you think about it, what science-related activities you do.

The resulting six-week Expert Explainers programme is for Year 5 and 6 pupils from local schools who qualify for Pupil Premium funding. The aim is to enable children and families from a diverse range of backgrounds to participate in science-related experiences at the Science Oxford Centre and feel that science is for ‘me’. The local schools involved from the Headington Schools Partnership were Wood Farm, Bayards Hill, St Andrews and Windmill Primary. In previous years, the programme was run at the Natural History Museum, the History of Science Museum and the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, encouraging families to access Oxford’s rich cultural offer. This year Expert Explainers was at our new Science Oxford Centre in Headington, Oxford.

The 16 lucky children selected to take part in the Expert Explainers programme have visited the Centre after school for the last six weeks. In these sessions, they have shared science knowledge, experienced pond dipping and devised challenges for their families.

At the last session on 10th March, the children invited their teachers and families to an open evening to explore the Science Oxford Centre and take part in their series of challenges!! These included making bee-bots that do synchronised dancing; taking on the balls down the wall mega-challenge; and making your own Rube Goldberg machine.

When the children started the programme, our Science Oxford team asked participants: “why do some people not like science?”  Answers included “people think it’s too much work”; “the words can be tricky”; and “it’s too hard”.

At the end of the programme, the group were asked “what would you say to someone who doesn’t like science?” The answers were very revealing: “science is everything!”; “try doing some experiments”; “have you ever seen dry ice?”; what do you mean? It is the best”!

Expert Explainers was a huge success and we have had some great feedback from the children who took part: “I have had the best time. I have never been so interested about my favourite subject!” And a local teacher said: “The children couldn’t stop talking about it on the way back to school. They have got so much out of all the sessions.”

This programme wouldn’t have happened without Headington Partnership Co-ordinator Lesley Williams. It is thanks to her hard work and dedication to the project that 16 children have had an amazing experience.  We’d also like to thank super TAs Sara James, St Andrew’s and Kelvin Jenkins, Wood Farm, who supported the children’s learning.



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