Great Science Share

Thu, 20 Jun 2019 12:12:00 BST

Tuesday 18 June saw the celebration of the fourth Great Science Share for Schools – an annual campaign to inspire young people to share their scientific questions with new audiences.

This year a record number of children - approaching 60,000 across the UK and as far away as Nigeria, Brazil and India - were linked together by their enthusiasm for and commitment to this pivotal subject. We were particularly delighted to welcome the contribution of children from Great Ormond Street Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary – a new and hopefully expanding area for our campaign.

The flagship event, held in the stunning Whitworth, located in Whitworth Park saw a coming together of art, dance, music and science with 50 schools from the Great Manchester area celebrating their children’s work. There was a whole range of investigations from different areas of science and engineering with questions including: Are left-handers better at remembering? Does the thickness of a liquid affect its position in the glass? What happens to the machine when you change the size of the gears on the JCB? There was definitely a buzz of excitement through the galleries with all the children communicating their ideas.

One of the highlights was the showcasing of five short films produced by schools, in collaboration with the Manchester Museum, as part of their INSIDE OUT project - a scientific enquiry and communication project for local primary schools in partnership with SEERIH – the Science and Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub. The questions generated and researched by the children were very thought-provoking and took full advantage of the museum’s resources: sorting plant specimens; finding out why a statue spun, answering curatorial enquiries; checking pest traps, and designing an (ethical!) experiment with tadpoles.

The event was opened by Professor Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester, with the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Abid Latif Chohan, on hand to cut the ribbon and be part of the audience, engaging with the children.

The message this year focused on how we can respond to the problems of climate change and this was skilfully reflected in the Derby High Schools Dance – entitled ‘Pollution Revolution’.

Other focal points of the day included the final of the Siemens Rollercoaster Challenge, which is judged at the Great Science Share for Schools each year. This is an annual competition aimed at school pupils aged between 10 and 14 which asks them to design a rollercoaster using a K’NEX kit. As usual, the entries were very inventive.

The celebration closed with a rousing rendition of the Great Science Groove – aptly arranged by James Holt to the tune of ‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang.

Thanks go to all at the Whitworth who made it possible for us to share our science in such a wonderful and awe-inspiring location.