Category Archives: events for teachers

Heart and Seoul…

 Hello all, we are back, after a bit of an absence…

Where have we been? We were just in Korea, delivering training to a large group of teachers as part of the KOFAC-led Asia Science & Creativity Conference 2012. KOFAC works to promote the public understanding of science, and the development of the creative talent pool inKorea, so an important element of their work includes the push for science to be taught in a more engaging, creative way in schools. We are delighted and excited to be a part of this initiative.

We had an amazing time in Seoulworking with teachers dedicated to enhancing their classroom practice. We delivered hands-on activities from our STEM club kits, online resources, and Talk Science tools and techniques such as Mystery Boxes and Powerful Questions- all aimed at developing students’ skills, curiosity and ability to apply creative thinking to a problem.

Meeting and working with such a genuinely keen bunch of teachers was really inspiring, they had loads of thoughtful questions for us, and made us realise how much of what we do and promote (and sometimes almost take for granted!) can actually take teachers outside their comfort zone. We think that giving teachers the motivation and resources to push the envelope a bit will make science teaching that much better for both them and their students-  but we would say that wouldn’t we!

Along with the wonderful people we met (and the snowstorms we braved) we also loved the food, and miss our breakfast kimchi very much… Luckily it’s fairly easy to get ahold of Korean foodstuffs inLondon-we are all glugging brown rice tea and scoffing honey-walnut court cakes in the office these days. Tough life!

We left our hearts in Seoul...

We left our hearts in Seoul…

 In February, we are actually going to be hosting some of those same teachers at the Science Museum. Coming here will give them the chance to experience live programming and see more our resources in action. Hopefully some of them will bring some goodies over too! Maybe we should start preparing a shopping list?

I’m a scientist, get me out of here!

Registration is now open for I’m a scientist, get me out of here!

What’s it all about? Well if you’re a teacher who wants to deliver How Science Works and give their students a chance to meet and interact with some real scientists; or you’re a scientist who fancies facing up to a few students, improving your communication skills and making a difference, then this is a competition made for you :)

Thirsty for competition? This might be made for you!

Thirsty for competition? This might be made for you!

A little dash of X-factor flavour means scientists have to fight it out online to win the approval of the student ‘judges’.  Students get to ask the scientists questions about their work, and learn about their careers, so it’s a nice chance for young people to have a meaningful interaction with the ‘people behind the white coats’ (did you know they are real humans just like the rest of us?). There are also events linked to the competition throughout the year, and teaching resources such as lesson plans all ready to go.

The X-factor format is fun and familiar to your students, and because the competition takes place online, it’s pretty much hassle free and teachers won’t need to use any special equipment or materials (unless they want to!).

Why not take a peek?


Wow, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind the last few weeks, culminating with the first Talk Science Seminar yesterday. We had a brilliant time, hopefully everyone in attendance did too!

We welcomed about 60 museum professsionals from far and wide,  and it was a real pleasure to see, hear & participate in the discussions around ideas from ‘ghost’ objects and QR codes, to handling collections and extension objects.


Call a taxi! Objects great and small can inspire us...

We tried to give participants a forum to explore why and how we should use our collections to support the teaching of science- and with so much food for thought coming from the day, it looks like we will have plenty more to tackle in future seminars. 

The lovely Rebecca Mileham was our keen reporter during the day, gathering ideas and unpicking trends in the conversations- her findings will be published in the next couple weeks, along with some great cartoons (thanks to the fabulous artists!) that captured the breaking thoughts of the day. We loved seeing those on the wall in the afternoon, eliciting the emotions all over again.

Rebecca Mileham pulled together the findings of the day

Rebecca Mileham pulled together the findings of the seminar

If you were there, thank you for participating. And drop us a line at if you are interested in attending or speaking at future events!

For now, I will leave you with some thoughts that came out of yesterday… Do you agree with them, disagree wholeheartedly, do they intrigue you?

“barriers faced by teachers in museums: too many objects,  poor interpretation, and students’ expectations”

“learning is tied to curriculum stipulations. But what about curiosity?”

“museum objects are inherently interesting. Do we  really need complex technology to interpret them?”

“museum learning is about enquiry skills more than about the content”

 Open for discussion :)




Talk Science Seminar

The Talk Science Seminar is something we are all excited about, have been busily preparing for, and happens on Wednesday!  It’s the first in a series of seminars exploring the potential of museum collections to support the teaching of science. 

As we who work in museums know, collections and the stories they tell are wonderful sources of inspiration, stimulating awe (‘that’s REALLY been to the Moon!’) and creativity; objects can open up discussion around science today and in the context of history, making links between technology and its implications on society. 

Would you have bought a ticket to fly on the first passenger plane?

How can we use our collections to support science teaching at all levels? Can we bring the museum learning philosophy to the classroom? What can we gain by doing so, and what are the challenges?

We’d like the seminars to be an opportunity to address these questions from different angles, as well as a forum for ideas- so they are open to anyone who has an interest in this.

So whether you are a museum or a science centre professional, a teacher or educator, a scientist, or undertaking a museum studies degree- we welcome you to come explore and discuss how we can use our collections to engage young people (and others) with science.

 We are excited to see where this takes us- the findings from this Wednesday will be disseminated online (watch this space), and if you would like to register your interest for future seminars, drop us an email at

Hope to see you here soon!

make time for LATES

Guess what’s going on tomorrow in the Museum?  Science Museum Lates! A chance to visit the Museum and have a go (and a drink!) without your students having all the fun. Ahem. It’s free to get in and kicks off at 18:45 (kicks out at 22:00).

We hold  Lates regularly, on the last Wednesday of the month. Each Lates has a specific theme, and this month our theme is the Science of Mental Health. From the silent disco to the pub quiz, to talks and tours, there’s enough going on to keep your whole crew delighted for the evening.

Even better, this time we have an exclusive Teacher Zone! This means that if you are a teacher (and we know there are some of you out there, trying to live semi-normal lives…) you can rock up to the Flight Gallery on the 3rd floor, and find loads of fun classroom activities to try out with a complimentary drink in hand. You can also enter to win one of our Launchboxes, watch a show, or just take in the atmosphere over a few nibbles.

What more could you possibly want on a Wednesday evening?

See you there!


BIG BANG and getting BIGGER!

Guess where we were last week?

The Big Bang Fair, of course! Where were YOU?

We were  on the Science Museum stand for 3 days, doing experiments from carbon dioxide bubbles to three-way balancing, and meeting lots of excited students, teachers and families.

The Science Museum stand at the Big Bang - always a hive of activity!

The Science Museum stand at the Big Bang - always a hive of activity!

We had a brilliant- if exhausting- time (I see one teacher on the far left who is looking ever more knackered than us!) and were amazed to see how huge the fair has gotten. It’s not just the Big Bang anymore, its the MASSIVE Bang now. It filled two whole giant halls at the Birmingham NEC! It’s exciting to think that in only a few years since its inception, it has become such a massive destination for young people to explore careers in science.

We think the most wonderful, inspiring part of it all are the young scientists who brought their projects to the fair, creating displays to showcase their work and talking to the public and school groups about what they did. Projects as simple and beautiful as multi-density fruit cocktails, or as intricate and brilliant as a washing machine made entirely of salvaged materials – these young engineers and scientists BLEW US AWAY.

They were competing for the Young Engineers of the Year award, and, frankly, all deserved a prize just for being there.

And delightfully, we discovered that one of the judges for the Award is our very own inventor-in-residence, Mark Champkins. He is everywhere these days!

Were you at the Big Bang this year? What did you think?

Not long now…

A great big happy 2012 to all!

Here’s hoping your holiday was relaxing (unlikely I’m guessing, unless you were hibernating) and everyone is revving their engines for the ASE conference!

The Science Museum will be at stand B29. Come along and have a go with some of our resources, find out what we can offer teachers and students visiting the Museum, or just say hello.

Come visit us at stand B29!

We are also running 2 sessions during the conference.

The Carbon Cycle Caper: 930-1030 on Thursday 5th Jan in the Sir Alistair Pilkington Building Room 114… participate in the carbon cycle with balls. Really. This activity demonstrates the carbon cycle in a tangible (and fun!) way.

How to Punk your Science: 1400-1500 on Thursday 5th in the Sir Alistair Pilkington Building, Room 111. A workshop packed with ideas to help you spice up your science lessons.

Hope to see lots of you very soon…

Safe travels everyone!

It’s all fun & games

If you are a teacher, you know that loads of your students enjoy playing computer games… Do you ever use them as a starter for a discussion? 

Kirlian photo of poker symbols

Poker anyone?

Games are great because as well as being an engaging and fun hook for a topic, they can supply enough information for your students to form an opinion on the issue (which as well as empowering them to express their thoughts, helps when you are selecting supporting material for the discussion). 

Here you will find a set of games around nanotech and solar fuel cells, developed by the Royal Society. 

And while you’re at it, this week is the Royal Society’s Summer Exhibition! Entry is free and you will find amazing exhibits developed by scientists, get the chance to meet and speak to them about their work, and be inspired by thought-provoking and face-to-face fabulous science. Bookings for schools are now closed but you can contact them if you would like to bring a non-school group of up to 12. 

Summer is a great time for science :)  



The Big Bang Fair @ScienceMuseum

Happening tomorrow… The Science Museum is proudly hosting the Big Bang London and South East

It will be a day of hands-on science and engineering activities, fun workshops, and awesome, inspiring projects presented by young people from across the region (I am always blown away by the incredible work of the UK’s bright young minds!)

Come soak up the science, pick up some great ideas for your classroom or science clubs, and get your students excited about careers in STEM… oh, and take a few minutes to explore the Museum while you’re here.

See you all tomorrow!

The Big Bang Fair is in London!

The Big Bang Fair is in London!

The Big Bang Fair- were you there?

We were. And we had a fantastic time meeting students, educators and even Prof Brian Cox whilst working on the Science Museum stand at the fair! Oh, and gawking at the amazing flying penguins.

AirPenguins by engineering company Festo captivated us at the Big Bang Fair

The Big Bang Fair is a wonderful science festival for young people, promoting careers in science and showcasing young people’s STEM projects from across the UK- from marine biology to product design. These inspiring young participants were finalists in the National Science and Engineering Competition, and their STEM projects had made it all the way through from the heats at regional Big Bang Fairs, to the national Finals which took place last weekend in London. A huge well done to everyone who was there, engaging people with their research and sharing their hard work and successes with other students!

So if your students are carrying out a project, be it at home, in school or as part of a club, think about getting involved. Your students may find themselves presenting their research at a regional fair, one of which we are excited to be hosting here at the Science Museum on 22nd June 2011.

See you there!