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Running a science event at school

Running science events at school
young learner doing an experiment in class
© Wellcome Connecting Science

In addition to national science and health related days, science festivals and science engagement weeks are often targeted at schools, families and community groups to get involved in science activities.

These run at different times of year in different locations and countries, for example in the UK, BIG a STEM communicators network has published a list of over 70 different science festivals that happen across the UK.

There’s lots of ways you can run activities and events at school to celebrate local, national and international science days and festivals, some of which we’ll highlight here along with some things to think about when planning them

‘Dress like a scientist’

This classic activity, often aimed at primary school students (but can be done with older students), is a great way to get young people to see themselves as scientists – literally! However, this can lead to everyone dressing up in a white lab coat, goggles and ‘mad scientist’ hair, perpetuating stereotypes about science and scientists. Can you preface this activity with a lesson around different types of scientists to prevent this?

Parent volunteers

Do you have any parents, guardians or family members that work in genomics, healthcare or science more widely? Can you bring them in to speak to a class or give a lunchtime or after school talk? Not only is this a great way to tap in to some easy-to-access visitors, but it can empower young people to see people they can relate to speaking about science.

Another way of utilising parents is to flip the dynamic – instead of parents talking to students, could your parents make up an audience for your students to present their science project to?

Science challenges and competitions

There are a growing number of science competitions and challenges run by societies and companies to support young people engaging in science. From experimental competitions, knowledge based competitions, to creative challenges such as communicating science via a video format, these can be a great way to give your students ownership of their scientific interests. This website provides a great list of the many national and international competitions open to young people on a range of STEM topics.

If there isn’t a competition suitable for your region or student group, could you set one at a school level? This is another great opportunity to encourage students to think outside the biology lesson, utilising artistic, creative or writing skills to explain a scientific concept.

Have you run science events at your school? What do you find works? What type of event would you like to run if you haven’t done so before?

© Wellcome Connecting Science
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