Great Science Share brings science investigations into homes
Tens of thousands of young people, parents, teachers and carers are participating in a mass programme of scientific discovery and communication across the UK while access to schools is limited.
This year’s Great Science Share for Schools (GSSfS) campaign has registered over 45,000 young people during the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown to share their scientific questions and home investigations on things they’re curious about.
The national campaign designed and led by The University of Manchester to inspire 5-14 year olds from across the UK and overseas to share the science that they’re most interested in with new audiences. This year’s campaign has seen registrations double since the COVID-19 lockdown began in the UK.
A swift move to take the campaign fully on-line has seen weekly themes linked to Global Sustainability Development Goals and celebratory days – such as International Dawn Chorus Day, World Ocean’s Day and the Royal Astronomical Society’s 200th Birthday. Each week inspirational live science lessons and activities have encouraged question asking and sharing via social media. The response has kept Twitter alive with posts that are now shared on the Great Science Showcase Blogs.
You can really feel the enthusiasm that people are showing in getting involved with the Great Science Share which has enabled thousands of disadvantaged young people to engage in hands-on and minds-on science learning wherever they are. The involvement of families this year is a real bonus.
52% of registrations for GSSfS come from teachers or parents engaging young people from areas with the highest social disadvantage in the country. This is helping to narrow the opportunity gap in traditional learning and participation being experienced currently across much of the world. A recent Sutton Trust report states that 23% of pupils are reported to be taking part in live and recorded curriculum-led lessons online every day. However, pupils from middle class homes are much more likely to do so (30%), compared to working class pupils (16%).
Dr Lynne Bianchi, Director of SEERIH (Science & Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub) said: “You can really feel the enthusiasm that people are showing in getting involved with the Great Science Share which has enabled thousands of disadvantaged young people to engage in hands-on and minds-on science learning wherever they are. The involvement of families this year is a real bonus. ”
The annual award-winning event has attracted major industry partners keen on encouraging the next generation of science and engineering superstars.
Dr Geoff Mackey, BASF Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Director, says: “To create a strong, bright future we have to encourage young people to be full of questions, creativity and innovative thought, the Great Science Share for Schools is a fantastic example of an evolving and growing initiative which encourages this on a massive scale.
“Currently, when school age children aren’t having the same access to their schools and teachers as they’re used to, this event shows the appetite for new ways of collaborative scientific learning and thinking.”
We have always believed in the Great Science Share for Schools. For all our futures we have to collaborate and invest in these types of outreach initiatives. We are proud to be working closely with The University of Manchester and the other partners on this year’s GSS campaign, which we expect will be better than ever.”
Dr Bianchi acknowledges the support that the STEM sector has offered and wishes to thank everyone for sharing science in creative and meaningful ways. The key values of the campaign being child-focused, collaboration, inclusive and non-competitive are palatable in this year’s campaign, which is open for registrations and involvement over the summer months.
The 2020 campaign sponsors are: The University of Manchester, BASF, Manchester City Council, Siemens, Zen Educate, Association for Science Education and Practical Action.