Tag Archives: games

Clean orbit

We’ve come a long way since Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite, was launched by the Soviets in 1957. There are now hundreds of satellites orbiting above our heads, making our mobile phones, traffic signals, TVs, internet and loads of other communications, actually work.

Along with the working satellites, there are the dead ones, the fragments of broken ones, the rocket parts from past missions, and myriad other chunks of junk orbiting at breakneck speeds, looking for something to collide with. And when they do, working satellites are destroyed, the Space Station could be damaged , the astronauts’ lives put at risk, and a whole new cascade of junk fragments  go careening off in all directions. Sound serious? Quite!

 BUT! The Swiss with their great efficiency and tidy ways, have been pondering this massive problem. They are developing CleanSpace One, a little ‘janitor’ satellite to deal with space junk by capturing it and dragging it back into the atmosphere to burn up.

A Swiss janitor satellite to tackle space junk

A Swiss janitor satellite to tackle space junk

This comes not a moment too soon, as space agencies now really have to consider how to de-orbit the satellites they launch, if they don’t want to make the junk problem worse and end up being cut off from space.

So who is responsible for the junk up in space? Is it you and me, as users of the services they provide, or the companies that launch them? Would you pay extra on your mobile phone bill to help clean up space?

Explore space junk and other big issues in Futurecade, our brand new digital game… If you’re a teacher, try it as a starter for a classroom discussion, and use the in-game questions to get your students talking about how science impacts on their lives.

Good luck :)

Countdown to Futurecade!

There is much excitement in Talk Science team this week- Futurecade launches this Thursday!

Futurecade launches this week!

Can science save humanity?

Futurecade is a suite of online games based on current and developing research in the fields of robotics, space junk, geo-engineering and synthetic biology.  Most importantly, Futurecade’s four games Bacto-Lab, Robo-Lobster, Cloud Control and Space Junker, are designed to be fun to play- so are an immediate hook to get your students engaged- and they use questions to provoke thought around the way technology might impact our future.

We’ve also worked with scientists to create background science notes and questions for each game, which we hope you’ll find useful to support you using the games in the classroom.

We haven’t been able to stop playing the games (it’s all ‘testing’ of course!) and we really hope you’ll try using Futurecade with your students, as a great hook or stimulus for a discussion around the themes of the games, to explore the applications and implications of science with your students, and help teach How Science Works.

Three… two… one… See you Thursday!

A year of talking science!

It’s been a great year for the Talk Science team: we have travelled far and wide, worked with - and learned from- loads of brilliant teachers on our courses, and been busy-busy-busy developing new (and improved!) resources to bring extra zing to your science teaching!

Our Punk Science films are now all available online. Bring their special brand of humour into your classroom with Healthy Living, Medical Trials, The Ends of the Universe, Nanotechnology song, Selective Breeding… Have you had enough of Jon and Dan yet? They even share their top tips on How to Punk your Science.

News + Views got a bit of spiffing up! This popular resource gets your students into the role of journalists to explore a a hot science topic. It’s a great way to get your students discussing current science issues and give them ownership of the research as they work to a deadline to create attention-grabbing display posters, in which they also express their own opinions.

And, Futurecade will be released in 2012!! Yes, FUTURECADE IS COMING  (we’re only a little excited!!)

Bacto-Lab is just one of Futurecade's 4 fun games

Bacto-Lab is just one of Futurecade's 4 fun games.

Futurecade is a suite of 4 online games based around current and future technology, that you can use to stimulate discussion around topics like space junk, geo-engineering, and synthetic biology. Keep your eyes peeled for them at the start of February.

We hope you will use Futurecade to help communicate How Science Works, that science impacts our lives, and our future will be shaped by technology (and decisions) made now. Use the games to provoke your students’ thinking and help them formulate opinions about the science and what it will mean for them.

The games are incredibly fun, and we think your students will find them really engaging. I am actually finding it a little hard to STOP playing one of them in particular, but I don’t want  to influence your preferences. Can’t wait to hear which one YOU like best!

And we arent the only ones who think games will be big in 2012!

We will be at the ASE conference in January so come find out about what we’ve been up to, and much more, on our stand, B29.

From everyone in the Talk Science team, thank you for your support and see you in 2012!

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 :)  



Climate spice can be nice

Climate science is a hot topic, and right now we have quite a few great (if we may say so ourselves) exhibitions and resources here at the Science Museum, things that will inspire discussion and make teaching climate science that much more engaging.

Right now a special exhibition called Ten Climate Stories is open on the ground floor, revealing the hidden stories behind some of our favourite objects and also showcasing some incredible artwork. The Antarctic Sno-Cat is so amazing, it gives us chills (excuse the pun)! And do you have any idea what goes into making everyday objects like a toaster? We think you will be surprised!

Antarctic Sno-Cat: the stuff adventure is made of

Investigate our climate-changing world in Atmosphere, make sense of how climate works and travel back in time to uncover the secrets of our ice core. This is a really immersive exhibition, designed as a space with its own landscape, oceans and atmosphere so we think your students will find it a lot of fun to explore!

Oh, if you get the chance and bugs don’t bug you out, TAKE OUR COCKROACH TOUR! Put yourself in their shells and take a look at those bizarre creatures known as humans… Weekends only (so maybe this is best for you and a friend), space is limited to ring 0870 870 4868 to book your place.

Of course, pay a visit to the Energy gallery to get your students thinking about the ways we fuel our lifestyle and where our electricity comes from. You will have to book a timeslot for this (it is free), and your students will benefit from an excellent briefing to get them thinking about the energy debate before they go into the gallery. Do call our Learning Support Team to book.

Once you’re back at school (or at home) you can play our online game Rizk which is all about the difference between thriving and surviving- representing the choices we make to develop our world and the risks we take. I’m a big fan of it’s slick, moody graphics- beautiful!

Rizk - whats the difference between surviving and thriving?

We also have a whole range of learning resources that will help you engage your students in the topic (which can be a bit tricky to make appealing, we know!). So on our website you will find everything you need to plan a collapsed timetable day- but you can pick and choose activities to just use in your classroom too.

Our resources are all developed and tested with teachers and students (we even ran the Carbon Cycle Caper at ASE conference in January and it got rave reviews) so hopefully from all this you’ll find something that suits your needs and helps you add a bit of climate spice to your lessons!