Earlier this month Dr Andrew Manches took part in the 2021 Midlothian Science Festival. The event ‘Embodied Learning & Gesture’ saw Andrew welcome 7 primary schools and over 600 learners to his home-office.
During the event, which ran for around 35 minutes online, learners from P1, P2 and P3 were encouraged to think about what scientists do before learning about Andrew’s recent project which has led to the creation of a game – STEM Charades. Children played the game, acting out and gesturing a range of concepts (e.g., dinosaur, twisting, magnet) to encourage them to think about how they and their teachers communicate ideas through more than words. Schools received a pack of cards in advance of the session to play STEM charades during the event. They also received a template to create their own STEM charades cards in class. The STEM charades card packs used for the activity have been developed as part of the Move2Learn4Teachers project funded by a Wellcome Trust Scottish Public Engagement Network award.
After the event, Andrew shared how the need to deliver the sessions online has presented a wonderful opportunity to reach a much large audience of children, and create possibilities for extending these knowledge exchange sessions to children anywhere that has an internet connection. The engagement has also informed the research – notably seeing variation in how children acted out and gestured different concepts as well as how many children were not aware if their own teachers gestured or not (teachers were confident they did).
‘We just wanted to say how much the children enjoyed the workshop and we appreciate all the time and effort that went in to organising it for us’ (Lasswade Primary)
Midlothian Science Festival has been running since 2012 to share science with communities in Midlothian. Andrew’s sessions were organised by Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre which coordinates schools activity as part of the festival.