First up, I want to make it clear that this blog is not going to be dedicated to coronavirus for the next few months. There is enough news in the world to cover just about every perspective on the virus, how it’s changing lives, and how it’s taking lives. This blog will cover lots of different aspects of science and society, but for my own personal sanity the details of coronavirus will not be the focus here. If you would like to know more about coronavirus I suggest you head to the World Health Organisation website, or if you’d like something in a more easily digestible format, follow Dr Samantha Yammine on Twitter and Instagram.
Right, let’s move on to today’s blog post!
In this post I’ll be sharing a few examples of where entertainment and science education overlap. If you’re one of those parents on a steep learning curve to a new teaching career, consider these the perfect way to alleviate the (unnecessary) guilt of setting your child up in front of a screen, to give you time to check your email and make a cup of tea in peace.
The Global Science Show
The Global Science Show is probably the most impressive science spectacle I’ve seen come together recently. Led by Sam Langford, the show features more than 50 scientists from around the world. Once a month, scientists talk about a topic of their choice in a designated 5-minute slot, some include videos (e.g. Claudia Antolini demonstrates how to make a pH indicator with tea, lemon and bleach), others share written articles (e.g. Ruhi Soni shares her article ‘What’s the fuss about (hydroxy)chloroquine and COVID-19?’). Once you’ve heard from one scientist, that presenter links to the next, and the show continues from there.
The next Global Science Show runs on Friday 22nd May, and in the mean time you can catch up on the last show’s events by searching #GlobalScienceShow. An honorable mention must also go to Jemma Naumann, who has been joining in with the Global Science Show as well as sharing demonstrations using #ScienceFromHome.
Let’s Go Live with Maddie and Greg
Maddie Moate and Greg Foot are to science what Joe Wicks is to PE.
You may know Maddie as the presenter of CBeebies series ‘Do You Know?’, and Greg is an established science journalist working with the BBC on podcasts, radio and TV. Luckily for us this duo of science enthusiasts happen to be a couple (so they’re in lockdown together – hoorah!). Every weekday morning at 11am BST, they stream their ‘Let’s Go Live’ family science show from their spare bedroom. Each week the shows work to a theme, and episodes are saved to Maddie’s YouTube channel to catch up on later. Let’s Go Live was started explicitly to help families out with home-schooling, so it’s largely aimed at children. That said, I’m not ashamed to admit that I watched and loved the ‘How To Make A Poo!’ episode.
Twin brothers Drs Chris and Xand Van Tulleken present Operation Ouch, a two time BAFTA-winning children’s health show on CBBC. If you’re in the UK you can catch up on previous series on the BBC iPlayer, and the hilarious pair also have a YouTube channel that boasts over 64 million views to date. The channel aims to demystify hospitals for younger viewers, while exploring medicine and the amazing things that the human body can do. More recent videos include Coronavirus Question Time episodes such as ‘Why it’s Important to Wash Our Hands’, and ‘Did a Government or Mad Scientist Create This?’, which are clear, well explained resources that provide children (and adults) with the information required to combat mis-information around the coronavirus pandemic.
Science Centres and Festivals at Home
- Aberdeen Science Centre have a curated list of stay at home science activities including input from Maths Week Scotland, STEM Ambassadors and TechFest.
- Glasgow Science Centre’s #GSCAtHome project brings a little bit of science into your home every day at 10am BST.
- Edinburgh Science Festival usually takes place in April, but obviously couldn’t go ahead this year. Instead, they hosted a digital alternative, Elements of #EdSciFest, which includes online entertainment, curated articles, downloadable resources.
- New York Hall of Science have a variety of free digital resources in both English and Spanish
- Cheltenham Science Festival will be going ahead in an online format this year, with a mix of live online events, pre-recorded events with live Q&As, and online workshops streamed for free between 2nd and 7th June via the Cheltenham Festivals YouTube channel.
This list is by no means exhaustive, I just wanted to share some details of brilliant initiatives that I’ve seen being shared online. The Scottish Public Engagement Network (ScotPEN) has also put together a list of online learning resources, which they’ve helpfully split into recommended target age groups. Take a look here.
Please also share links to other resources in the comments so that others reading this can look into those too!