Parallel Session 3: Unconventional Outreach: STEM on the Road
Tuesday 9 April 14:45 - 16:30
In a sceptical world dominated by sensational headlines, how do we give a flavour of everyday scientific research to the public?
Citizen science provides a platform for people from every background to get involved in cutting edge science and to participate in the process of extending our knowledge. This is real life science - sometimes slow, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exciting, mostly satisfying - and gives us an unparalleled opportunity to share our passion for what we do. Typically, participants are involved in data collection or analysis, but in the more developed projects, participation is possible in multiple stages of the scientific process.
In this session we will look at citizen science projects that appeal to school-aged children and draw on the presenter's experience of running workshops using these projects in schools in Yorkshire, UK. What are the commonalities between projects that truly engage and inspire? And where do these correspond with high quality science?
For our school sessions, projects are selected according to the needs of each group; sometimes to practise and develop general scientific skills, sometimes to add depth and relevance to specific curriculum topics, sometimes to open up a new area of science to an audience who otherwise wouldn't think of accessing it. The benefits to children and their teachers are immense. Science becomes a lesson that is relevant to real life problems, that is the gateway to intriguing questions and a spotlight on careers that are sometimes hard to articulate.
What opportunities are there for research infrastructures to open up their work to citizen science methods? We shall take a quick tour around successful projects and discuss the key points for developing new ideas.