Making It Clear

Project aims:

To enable teachers to deliver water/environment Curriculum for Excellence Outcomes. To raise awareness among primary school pupils of the importance of water as a resource.

Objectives:

To involve experts including Scottish Water staff in delivering hands-on workshops.

Summary of activity:

The experience consisted of a science show (Water, Water Everywhere) held in GSC’s science theatre or a workshop (Water Works) along with diverse Meet the Expert activity supported by Scottish Water employees. Examples of Meet the Expert drop-in sessions included:

• Experts from the James Hutton Institute simulated life in a stream and demonstrated why it is important to conserve streams and wetlands. They showed pupils how to make their own jewellery using the ability of live caddis fly larvae to create their tubular shell homes;

• Scientists from Glasgow Caledonian University developed a human powered water treatment unit – in a bicycle- that allows remote communities in the developing world to collect water and filter it by cycling the water through a carbon filter to provide clean, drinkable water.

Evaluation approach:

I talked to 23 teachers, assessing how the programme fitted in with their Curriculum; most useful/least useful aspects of the programme; rating of Meet the Expert activities and asking about future programmes.

What went well:

1.Over half (53%) of teachers said the event fitted in perfectly with water Curriculum for Excellence outcomes: "P5 are doing sustainability and water as part of science. P4 are studying the water cycle. Our visit helps us deliver Curriculum for Excellence" (Strathblane Primary)

2.83% of teachers said that the day would contribute towards their school achieving a green flag.

3.

Meet the Experts activities were rated as very good by 70% of the teachers. They added to what the Science Mall offered because experts are good at engaging with children and the interaction will stick in the children’s memory. Scottish Water staff and the new portable exhibits were singled out as best aspects by a number of schools

What was learned:

1.Experts if trained in engaging and communicating science are a great ad-on

2.We involved 2 evaluation volunteers as we had a short window of time to interview teachers.

3.

Interactive activities engage primary school pupils as well as specialist trails.

Top tips and advice for others

1.Design basic trails to focus primary and secondary school pupils' attention.

2.Engage with experts and train them in communicating science. We had Scottish Water staff donating time as part of their corporate responsibility - a great ad-on.

3.

In terms of evaluation, focus on adult feedback (teachers) and on the last hour of the day. Engage with volunteers to assist with the evaluation.

About the contributor

Florence Edmond
Glasgow Science Centre

Evaluation Coordinator. I carry out front-end/formative and summative evaluations of all science communication programmes at Glasgow Science Centre. This may be in-reach events or outreach, temporary …

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