Tag Archive for: family

More puppets!

We’ve been delighted to welcome more puppets to the Connect network this term, with workshops running in several schools. Our pace of delivery is picking up now, with our colleagues at the Life Science Centre slotting loads of sessions in for the new year. If your school (or library, community centre, or other venue) is interested in hosting a series of workshops, please do get in touch: email us at jonathan.sanderson@northumbria.ac.uk. Also watch this space, we’ll post details as soon as we have them.

Tales of Engineering – Bacteria bombs and fashionable pirates

We are back from summer break and ready to engage!

Our valiant Tales of Engineering engineers gathered once again at NUSTEM HQ to learn and reflect about engaging with young children in the classroom. From bacteria bombs to sliding wardrobes, they tried to sell “snake oil” to pirates and fashion models as part of their public engagement training session, delivered by NUSTEM to support this project!

We also had time to start thinking about what materials the children will take home, and we came up with a really cool idea of bookmarks to signpost families and teachers to the resources which are going to feature here.

Stay tuned for our next meeting in November, when we’ll start to co-create Magnificent Things.

Tales of Engineering – Our first meeting

Ready… set … engineer!

Our first meeting for Tales of Engineering took place in July 2019 at Northumbria University, where a small group of engineers were generally terrified with the idea of reading to young children and becoming engineering ambassadors!

We had a good look through a few available engineering story books and decided to go with: The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires. We think it has an engaging plot, champions diversity in engineering, and it will be flexible enough so our engineers can work with children on their most magnificent things.

We’ll be back in September for another gathering, where we will find out how best to communicate our ideas to young people.

Tales of Engineering – call for volunteers

Some of our primary books

NUSTEM has been awarded a prestigious Ingenious Public Engagement Award by the Royal Academy of Engineering to support our Tales of Engineering project. The project will connect professional engineers with pre-school children and their families to share their love of Engineering.

In relaxed and friendly activity sessions, engineers and families will read an engineering-related storybook together, then take part in a simple hands-on engineering activity.

As the project gets underway, we are looking for individuals with an engineering background who are keen to develop their public engagement skills, promote their field of work, and contribute to the diversity of the engineering sector.

Volunteer engineers will contribute approximately 10 hours of their time over a period of 10 months. NUSTEM will offer support at every step, providing public engagement training, helping in the choice of a suitable book, co-creating an interactive activity, and supporting the delivery of the reading sessions in local schools and cultural spaces.

If you think you can support this project, please get in touch: email antonio.portas@northumbria.ac.uk. You’re also very welcome to attend our kick-start event: A kick-start event will take place later this month and details can be found in our events calendar.

Summer Holiday Happenings

One of the great things about working in the university, is that we get to hear about the interesting research that our colleagues do.  Now you can do the same.  Over the summer, our friends in Geography and Computing are running family workshops as part of their research, and they’d love for you to come along and find out what they do.

  1. Craft workshops

David Verwij is running crafting workshops as part of his research into the ‘Internet of Things’ (no electronics involved).  And as a special treat he is offering Stroopwafels – a delicious Dutch caramel biscuit.

Monday 23rd July and Thursday 26th July between 1pm and 4pm at Ampersand Inventions in Newcastle.

For more details and to book tickets use this link.

2. Treasures of Newcastle workshop

Join geographers Jon Swords and Mike Jeffries as they explore the treasures of the North.  What do YOU think makes the north special?  What needs to change?  If you like maps, or colouring, or treasure, or all three then pop in to this drop-in session.

On Thursday 26th July between 11pm and 3pm at Great Museum of the North: Hancock.

3. Great Exhibition of the North Family Expo

Join NUSTEM, and a host of other organisations, at GETNorth Family Expo.  We’ll be taking our robot orchestra along for visitors to have a go at making their own musical instrument playing robot!

On Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August at St.James’ Park, Newcastle.

For more details, visit the GETNorth website.

 

Do pop along to one or more of these events – they should be great fun.

Family Space Explorers

We’re always looking for new ways to engage different audiences, and this winter our Family Space Explorers project is doing just that. Funded by the UK Space Agency, we’re engaging young children and their families with space science through STEM story workshops and hands-on activities in libraries across the north east.

Why families?

As a project, we believe that one way of addressing the STEM skills shortage is through long-term interventions. We want STEM conversations happening at home, amongst young families, so that when children later come to make career-critical subject choices they already have a wealth of experience and family support to guide their decisions. The Family Space Explorers workshops are aimed at children aged 2-5, along with their families. They’re carefully planned to help parents and carers build their confidence in exploring science and engineering topics with their child.

Why libraries?

Most of NUSTEM’s work is delivered via our partner schools, which are drawn from the local area. For some families, entering a school can itself be a barrier to engagement. Working in local libraries and community centres (along with schools!), in areas of higher socio-economic deprivation, we hope to reach a greater number and variety of families.

The Workshops

We’ve developed two workshops, each with activities linked to books for young children. The sessions are each 45 minutes long and involve shared reading and activities. At the end of each session, participants get to keep a copy of the book, so they can continue the reading and activities at home.

Choosing the stories was difficult. We aim to embed diversity and equality throughout our work, and it was tricky to find stories that had strong female lead characters. In book after book we found male characters (children and adults) heading into space… with very little representation from female characters.

We chose “Goodnight Spaceman” because of its charming story and strong links to the UK Space Agency. We also wrote our own book, “Are we nearly there yet?” to explore space exploration through non-fiction, which allowed us to cast a female lead character in the shape of a robot explorer. We also put together a list of other good STEM stories, which you can find at our Family Space Explorers page.

Linking activities

It’s important that our workshops can be repeatable by families at home – we want the interventions to continue beyond the end of the workshop. In the workshops, families use Duplo to build their own version of a space rocket to travel to the International Space Station, and a rover to explore the surface of Mars. The simplicity of the activities enable parents to continue constructive play at home, and to adopt similar approaches with other stories.

Supporting local schools

We’re sending a copy of our book to schools across the region, and inviting teachers and educators who work with young children to attend our two free training sessions. These sessions will equip teachers to deliver the sessions in their own schools.

How to get involved

We have a number of sessions booked into our calendar over the next few months. If you have children aged 2-5 and you’d like to attend, click here to view upcoming sessions and find details of how to book onto the events.

Summer holiday science

At this stage in the summer holiday, sometimes it can get a bit harder to find new things to do with the kids.  However, the Royal Institution might just come to your rescue!

They’ve produced a series of short videos showing some simple, cheap and easy science-based activities that you can do at home, called ExpeRimental.  The great thing about the videos is that they’re aimed at encouraging children and adults to explore science ideas with each other.  You’re not trying to teach your kids the science, but ask questions about the science together.

Through the activities children and adults get chance to

PLAY,   LOOK,   ASK

 

The activities include rubber band cannons, balancing sculptures, cakes in a cup and lots more.

Once you’ve tried out the ExpeRimental activties, then we have some activities on the Think Physics site for you to have a go at:  growing seeds, fingerprints, and seeing rainbows, and bubbles

My favourite ExpeRimental video shows Tilly and her mum making glasses sing.

Why don’t you try it at home?

 

Sci-Pop @ The Forum Wallsend

Seven members of Think Physics crew descended on The Forum Shopping Centre, Wallsend yesterday for our second Science Pop-up Shop.

Families of children from local schools were invited to join us for a day of science based activities. Over the course of the day we saw over 100 families – thanks for coming along. We handled meteorites, took infrared selfies, built stomp rockets, piloted robots, explored the pinwheel galaxy, designed planets and flew hoop gliders (and that was all before lunch!) Families were also take on a tour of the universe in our Explore Your Universe show.

Have a look at the gallery below to see what we got up to, and stay tuned for news of our next sci-pop pop-up shop. You could even sign up for our newsletter.

Half term with Think Physics

At a loose end over half term? We’ve got you covered.

Think Physics is out and about around Newcastle for three days during the week:

Keep up-to-date with public events around the region from ourselves and others with our events calendar. We’re posting new stuff there all the time.

Tag Archive for: family

The Entomologist

Entomology is the study of insects, their relationships with other animals, environments and human beings.

Seed bombs

Bug hotel

Attract bugs to your garden using things from your local environment.

The Computer Programmer

Find out what Year 2 children have been doing in the computer programmer workshop in our partner schools.

Ice Rescue

Challenge your family to rescue something or someone trapped in the ice!

Journey Stick

Make a journey stick to remember a walk and talk about it later on.

Fruit chew rock cycle

Use chewy sweets to create sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.

The Solar Physicist

Investigating static electricity

Make things you will find around your home move without touching them! All you need for these static electricity investigations are a balloon, some paper or a can, a straw and a running tap.

Make a catapult

Make this simple catapult to fire paper balls, mini marshmallows or pom poms using just some lolly sticks and elastic bands.