To encourage families who might not otherwise come to the science centre to visit and engage in science investigation and science learning as a family.
Summary of activity:
Family Learning Aberdeen run a series of educational events for parents and children throughout the year. We partnered with Family Learning for a series of Family Fun Days which are advertised for Primary 1 pupils from certain city schools and their families.
We met with Family Learning to devise a schedule of activities for the day and also received advice and assistance from a few Aberdeen City teachers. We decided on a theme of bubbles and Family Learning staff advertised the Fun Day through leaflets sent home from school.
On the day, science centre staff, Family Learning staff and a couple of teachers welcome the families into Satrosphere Science Centre. The day starts with introductions to Satrosphere and Family Learning and then families create ‘bubble paintings’ using straws, paper and a mixture of paint and soap.
Leaving the paintings to dry, families head down to the exhibition floor to engage with the hands-on science exhibits.
Families are then called into a Bubbles Show in our show theatre which explores how to make bubbles, the shape of bubbles, and colours.
The visits finish with a science experiment demonstration that encourages parents to investigate science with their children at home.
Prior to leaving the centre, we gather families back together to hand out information packets, including a ‘bubbles activitiy guide’ especially made for the families by Satrosphere Science Cente to encourage bubble investigation at home.
Family Learning staff conduct informal evaluations at the end of the visit by passing a post-it note to each parent asking them to fill it with some feedback on the day.
What went well:
1. Working in partnership with Family Learning and local teachers gave us access to families that we may not otherwise reach.
2. During introductions we are able to explain that the focus of the time in the science centre is to learn together as a family. We are also able to mention upcoming events at the centre and other opportunities for learning in science.
3. Parents are just as enthused by the activities as the children are and having a captive audience gives us an opportunity to work more closely with these families than we would with general visitors to the centre.
4. By keeping the topic simple we ensured that even first time visitors to the science centre would not feel alienated or overwhelmed by any complex subject knowledge.
What was learned:
1. Family Learning offers these days at no charge to the families and prior booking is requested but not mandatory, therefore, numbers confirmed prior to the day often differs greatly than the number of people that attend.
2. Teachers can be a great resource in getting the word out about events at the science centre aimed at families and members of the public in addition to events targeted at school classes.
3. When attending the science centre for the first time, families can have differing expectations, so it is always best to explain the outline of an activity day at the start, but also be flexible and have back-up activities ready to meet the needs of the group.
Top tips and advice for others
1. Reach out to partners who have regular contact with groups you would like to engage with.
2. Ask local teachers for help with family events - they may be more likely to volunteer than you think!