Science for Families isn’t your typical family engagement. It doesn’t exist to tick boxes or get families into schools: we understand that families have a huge impact on children. Science for Families provides opportunities within that time – within the home – to improve the Science Capital of participants.
We’re not naïve, we know that creating opportunities for family engagements can be extremely difficult. We work through schools to bring families together into the shared, community space of their children’s classrooms, then shape a learning journey for all participants which extends out of the classroom and into the home.
The response to our early stages has been excellent, and in 2016 we’re seeing Science for Families roll out through regional partners across the North-East.
Design & Approach
We wanted to break down as many barriers to exploring science as we could. So we made sure that every experiment or demonstration – all 20 of them – is repeatable at home. The resources are cheap, and can usually be found in a drawer in the kitchen, just waiting to be re-used, repurposed, or modified into something extraordinary.
Each experiment offers the opportunity for families to work closely together on something that’s likely to be new to everyone. There’s certainly no need for expertise, and our resources guide families carefully from first steps to interesting and sometimes exciting conclusions. There’s no competition between families: the sessions represent a safe space for genuine exploration and questioning.
Feedback from participants has been excellent, and we already have some evidence to suggest that families are starting to do more science at home as a result of the course. We’re continuing to evaluate and research the impact of the course alongside the rest of Think Physics’ work. So it’s early days yet for formal reporting.
We are, however, seeing regular views to the online support materials whilst courses are being run: families are downloading materials to try out at home, extending their experience beyond the school. Our course completion rates are also extremely high, with the vast majority of families returning week after week and even bringing in things they’ve been exploring between sessions.
Keen to experience Science for Families yourself? Drop Joe an email and he’ll keep you posted about upcoming courses.
If you’d like to deliver Science for Families in your school, we offer free training sessions throughout the year.
The training covers everything you’ll need for successfully delivery: printed and online resource materials, ongoing support form our team and an evaluation pro forma so you can continue to improve the course as you deliver it in your setting.
In our second session, families explore humans and plants in three interesting demonstrations. They begin by taking fingerprints (and toe prints) and learning how to observe the world a little more closely. Next we try our hand at dissection by taking apart a plant. Participants learn about how the different parts of flowering plants work. Finally, we start growing seeds in a clever plastic bag arrangement. Take the bag home, clip it to your fridge, and watch as a broad bean or pea germinates and grows!