Changing Materials Workshop at Thinktank.
Today we entered a science lab at the Thinktank and discovered a world of changing materials and substances with a class of KS2 children from a local school.
The school class were fully kitted out in lab coats, in a real lab environment and using exciting science equipment they are likely to have not used before at primary school level- they sure were excited! The students were interacting with science equipment that you can mostly get to use in high school; (cylinders and beakers). Although a classroom environment, the experience of being in a different setting with an ‘expert’ is likely to have made the session more interesting.
The session featured both hands on experiments for the students, and demonstrations from the learning officer of higher difficulty, all exploring the science around solids/liquids/gases. The demonstration from the learning officer which involved melting a solid metal into a liquid by using the heat of boiling water got responses from the students “woah thats MAGIC” to which the learning officer replied “it’s not magic, it’s science!”. The wow factor from the experiments is something BMT aims to achieve to catch the attention and engagement of the students.
The session also caught their attention by using relatable materials which kids this age enjoy- things like lego, bubbles, and slime. This makes the session age appropriate.
The students had the opportunity to demonstrate skills such as following instructions and accurately measuring their ingredients. Their knowledge was also tested through regular questions and answers with the learning officer. Debate was also bought up by questioning the students whether toothpaste was a solid or liquid?
Through observing the workshop we were able to clearly see how the students enjoyed the interactive element of the session and felt involved with the experiments.
Sitting in this workshop was quite pleasant, to see the education programmer at hand. In Thinktank, the teacher who was teaching the class was not just there to explain the materials to the group, but also letting the children interact with the materials. They seem to be having fun and learning at the same time.
It’s just not ThinkTank that offers these education programmes; all the Museums in Birmingham have an education programme that offers a wide range of on-site taught workshops, to engage and inspire young children in the world of museums, galleries and libraries. More museums around the UK are starting to have education leaning that is offered to school outside the class room, where the schools can learn and take the experience back to the class room.