• Question: how do you inspire people to get involved with science ?

    Asked by racheal to Lauren, Stuart on 18 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Stuart Atkinson

      Stuart Atkinson answered on 18 Mar 2016:

      I think pretty much all subjects you do at school can be made both really interesting or really boring! It really depends on the person doing the teaching and how interested they seem to be. Someone genuinely passionate about science will tend to have the same effect on people they teach.

      If you’re dealing with difficult subjects then I find it always helps to put things in another way that is easier to understand. Eg if I’m trying to explain how the electrons fill up the shells in an atom I use my Match Attax football trading card analogy! Ask if you want to know more about that!

      It’s also important to keep it practical by doing lots of demonstrations, preferably noisy ones – and science is great for making loud bangs!

    • Photo: Lauren Laing

      Lauren Laing answered on 18 Mar 2016:

      Hi Racheal – Great question! I think this is important for both scientists and teachers alike!

      Personally I think the best way to inspire people to want to become involved in science is to get them practically involved! I think learning facts is very important, but this can also be quite boring if it is very two dimensional. When I was at school the theories and fact I remembered best where the ones I got to test myself, through designing my own experiment, collecting data and analyzing it.

      I think positive and realistic demonstration, and putting things into the context of real life scenarios is really important. That way it is much more engaging! It’s one thing being told the laws of gravity, it’s another being able to test it yourself.

      I also think it is important to be able to talk to real scientist, events like this one are really great for that. Other ways this can be done is through enabling students to visit real science labs and do some of the science themselves! This is the sort of project I would like to set up with the prize money were I to win.