Billed as ‘A teacher training film (of sorts)’, DEMO follows science teacher Alom Shaha on a journey halfway across America to explore the use and performance of science demonstrations, and to introduce some of the influences on his thinking. He meets magicians in Las Vegas, performs a demonstration over four kilometres (vertically), and investigates the legacy of fellow physics teacher Frank Oppenheimer.

DEMO quietly challenges, supports and celebrates practical work and demonstrations in science teaching, aiming to reinforce the approaches which research suggests are most effective and appropriate. It also tries to help teachers feel good about their teaching and their subject.

Made for the British Science Association / Gatsby Charitable Foundation “Get Set Demonstrate” campaign, in the year since it was released DEMO has been used in teacher training on four continents, and attracted plaudits from scientists, teachers, and science teachers:

“Beautiful & thought-provoking” — Andrea Sella, UCL; “Everyone who teaches science should watch this” — Tony Ryan, University of Sheffield; “You really should watch this in your next department meeting” — Jonathon Lisseman, Hammersmith Academy; “A celebration of the art & theatre of the Science demo. Superb film” — Wellington College; “Even if you’re not a teacher, WATCH THIS. So good” — Ben Lillie, StoryCollider; “All science teachers should watch” — Tom Sherrington; “the best use of Jenga I have ever seen” — Anna Starkey.

A set of supporting notes and prompts for discussion has been written by Alom and Mary Whitehouse of the University of York, who also appears in the film:

DEMO The Movie teacher notes
(PDF, 315Kb)

The film has been a significant influence on our thinking at NUSTEM, not least because it was written and produced by… er… Jonathan here. Hello, that’s me. We can’t promise more films of this standard – though if you wade your way through the production blog you may gather that any impression of lavish production was simulated for the cameras – but it’s no coincidence that we’re all geared up with cameras and edit systems.

Enjoy DEMO, and teachers: do think about discussing it in a staff meeting.