Rural children are disadvantaged with regards to learning science versus their city cousins – they need to use the school bus so many cannot stay for after school science clubs; Nor can they get transport easily to the nearest science centre for the activities they provide. We have always seen working with local schools to help them with their science agenda as highly important as a result.
Pre-pandemic, we ran science clubs and an annual science Festival which visited 14 local schools. Sometimes sponsors say to us “Shouldn’t the Council do it?” but we work with reality, and the reality is that small rural schools cannot all easily be equipped with plenty of science equipment. They have neither the space nor frequently the expertise to design and store experiments to support the knowledge in the curriculum.
So we have worked with our local school and Heriott Watt University to design, test and provide individual hands-on kits (enough for each child in the class to have a go at the experiments). Supporting them also with sessions and training to the teachers who want to use them. These are available to any local school teacher who wants to use them.
Current kits available to local schools cover :
- Electric circuits – basic circuits, switches (various), the effect of parallel and in-series wiring, generating electricity, measuring voltage, how electric motors work.
- Making a battery.
- Understanding atoms and molecules : Composition of an atom – particles and shells. Proablistic nature of an atom. Introduction to the Periodic Table and how elements are formed.
- The four main states of matter : solids, liquids, gases and plasma.
- An introduction to fundamental forces – what is a force; the fundamental forces gravity, atomic, and electro-magnetic forces; reactions to a force – friction.
- Magnetism – what is it, how does it work, why are some materials magnetic and others not?
- Light – what is it? Particle and wave duality. Waves and how they interact. Role in solar generation of power.
- Basic chemical and non-chemical reactions – the difference between insolubility, emulsions, dissolving and reacting with water. Reversability of interaction.
- Still in design are density, hydrostatic power, and cleaning hands and the effect of soap.