This guide will help students to get the most from their visit to the Summer Science Exhibition.
It will be difficult to visit every single exhibit in the time available, so some prior research can identify which exhibits might be most relevant or interesting.
The Summer Science Exhibition provides an excellent opportunity to question scientists directly, and this website provides a lot of background information that can help you prepare questions in advance.
Now online - you can watch a recording of the schools show 'A voyage around the function of the human brain' here.
On this website, the main sources of information about each exhibit are:
- Exhibit summary: Explaining the scientific research that will be showcased by the exhibit.
- Photogallery: Photos submitted by the scientists that illustrate the research they do.
- Meet the scientists: A profile of one of the scientists who you might meet when visiting the exhibition. They have answered several questions about what they do, and why they are excited by science.
- Journal papers: Related research articles published in scientific journals. Most of these contain a lot of technical and specialised language related to the topic, but may be of interest to KS5 students. Look out for our teaching resource on how to read a research paper which will be on our Invigorate website in the autumn.
- Ask a scientist: This exciting new feature gives you the opportunity to have your questions answered directly by the scientists from some of the exhibits. Questions which get selected will be posted online with their answers. This feature will be available between 20 June – 1 July but the sooner you ask the question after 20 June, the more likely you are to get an answer, so start thinking of some good questions now! [Please note that all questions are moderated, and due to the volume of requests, unfortunately not all questions will be selected.]
- Podcasts: Audio and video podcasts from the scientists in the exhibit teams will be uploaded during June – look out for them on the exhibit pages.
Materials from the Exhibition will also be incorporated into topic-based resources for KS4 and KS5, which are due online on our Invigorate website in June 2011.
Don’t forget to stay in touch with the exhibition through our blog and twitter account.
Before your visit
Here are some ideas about how you could explore the online material before your visit.
1. Deciding which exhibits to visit
Have a look through the exhibit web pages. You can search by subject from the homepage, or browse through them individually. How about choosing a couple of exhibits from each of these categories?
Directly related to your studies
Might have an interesting impact on our lives in the future
A topic you know very little about
Carry out at least one hands-on activity on each of your chosen exhibit stands when you visit the Exhibition.
2. What is the research?
All of the science that you will learn about at the Summer Science Exhibition – and all the activities you can take part in - are based on some of the most up-to-date research. You might like to find out more about the research that will be showcased in the exhibit before your visit. This may help you think of interesting questions to ask the scientists when you meet them on the exhibit stands.
Have a look at a couple of the scientists’ research papers (‘journal papers’), which are linked to from the exhibit web pages. These research papers are the way in which scientists share their findings with other scientists, and they are published in scientific journals.
- Make a note of who the author was, and see if you can find them on the exhibition stand.
- Read the abstract (the first paragraph of the research paper) – can you understand it? Why do you think scientists use complex or technical language to convey their findings?
Some of the exhibit pages also have photos and images illustrating their research.
- What do you think the image is demonstrating?
- Why is it important?
- How does it relate to the exhibit?
3. Questioning the scientists
The exhibition provides a fabulous opportunity to ask questions of the scientists directly, to find out what they do and why they do it. All the scientists on the exhibit stands are keen to talk about their research, and explain what motivates them to discover new ideas. To get the most out of your visit, prepare some questions in advance.
This year, there are two ways in which you can engage with the scientists at the Exhibition – in person at the event, and by asking questions online between 20 June – 1 July.
Read through a few of the scientist profiles:
- Which scientists would you really like to meet when you visit the exhibition?
- Which scientist’s job would you most like to have?
- What do you think might be the advantages of having a career in science?
Now think about what sorts of questions you could ask. These could be questions about:
- Their research. What is their biggest discovery? What is the point of the research they are doing? How might their research affect your life?
- Their career. What do they do day-to-day? What is the best thing about being a scientist, and the worst? Who else do they work with? What sort of a place do they work in?
- Their inspiration. What made them want to work in science? What did they study at school and university?
- What other questions would you like to ask? You might get some ideas by looking at the scientist profiles.
Remember: you don’t have to wait until your visit to put your questions to the scientists, you can ask questions online via the exhibit web pages between 20 June – 1 July.
After your visit
After your students have visited the Exhibition, you might like to ask them to report back on what they have learned – to each other, or maybe to the wider school. This could be especially useful if not all students had the chance to visit each of the exhibits.
You might also like to watch or listen to some of the video/audio podcasts which were produced during the Exhibition week – see the events pages. All of these will go online during the Exhibition week.
You could hold a class discussion, produce written reports, or design posters to showcase ideas such as:
- What new research did you learn about that will have the biggest impact on your everyday life?
- Which exhibit interested you most and why?
- Which researcher who you talked to did you find most inspiring and why?
- Has anything you experienced changed your impression of science/scientists?
All the materials on the site will remain after the Exhibition has finished, so you will be able to continuing accessing them in future years.