How to Outreach: multidisciplinary science in schools and for schools
Utilizing public outreach skills to demonstrate STEMM projects
- Offered to 3rd Year students in Spring Term, Thursdays, 16:00-18:00
- 1 Term module worth 5 ETCS
- Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore
This course is a practical introduction to STEMM outreach, where you will learn how to effectively communicate science to a wider public and develop the confidence and skills to carry out a demo or talk for a school. The course will give you the chance to work within multidisciplinary groups to develop an innovative kit or activity to be delivered in schools, to demonstrate to pupils how different STEMM disciplines work together to solve real-world problems.
This course will teach you about the importance of outreach and how to differentiate between different methods of science communication. You will learn about using different methods of delivery as you communicate to a wide audience, and the importance of tailoring your communication to suit the relevant age-group. You will also learn basic public-speaking skills and presentation techniques. By the end of the module, you should be comfortable working in a team and explaining to children how STEMM subjects can help solve global problems.
By the end of this module, you will better be able to:
- Be aware of the importance of outreach and differentiate between the various methods of science communication (to public, schools, children, scientists…)
- Properly and confidently communicate big scientific subjects, global challenges and multidisciplinary research to a wide audience, and tailor the delivery to the appropriate age-group, with an aim to inspire and enthuse
- Use different methods of delivery and communication including talks, kits, demos and hands-on activities
- Explain to school children of any age group that real-world problems are multidisciplinary in nature and how a range of different STEMM subjects contribute the solutions of these problems
- Collaborate and communicate effectively within a multidisciplinary team
Indicative core content
The module will take place over 10 weeks. Every week there will be a 2-hour face to face session with a member of staff which could be either a workshop, lecture or group work. Initially you will be given a brief overview of different types of outreach & public engagement work – including different audiences and types of delivery. You will then be immersed in workshops to actively learn to be a better public speaker and communicator and will receive the basics on school engagement and requirements. The workshops will include effective public speaking and hands on experience in the outreach lab, to learn how to communicate through demos.
After this initial introduction you will then be assigned to a multidisciplinary group based on a series of multidisciplinary real-world STEMM topics and you will be guided through the planning, prototyping and making of an outreach activity or talk to explain these subjects to selected schools. Each group will be assigned a mentor to help throughout the development of the project until the delivery. Each member of the group will provide a different point of view from the perspective of their current studies or experience, resulting in a strong interdisciplinary approach to the delivery of one of the topics provided.
Topics to choose from have a wide reach and background and include subjects such as: the weather, global warming, materials of the future, rail travel, online security etc.
You will then be delivering the activity or kit to peers as a practical trial run (and assessment) in communication before being delivering it in the selected partner schools. The delivery in the school will be the main part of the assessment and will help school children understand the multidisciplinary nature of most STEMM subjects and will provide them with a selection of possible careers for their future, stimulating their enthusiasm for science.
The kits and activities will be then kept at Imperial College and used for future events.
The final piece of work and assignment will consist of a piece of reflective writing to feedback on the activities, outcomes and potential improvements to the delivery.
Learning and teaching approach
This is a practical module where most work will be done in multidisciplinary, diverse groups and learning will be active and collaborative, mainly through workshops. This includes:
- Group work
- Group presentation to a a class of school students
- Short reflective pieces about your experiences
Feedback will be provided within 10 working days from the submission of your assignment. You will meet with your mentor regularly and will receive formative oral feedback on your ideas. You will also get feedback on the formative reflective writing you submit. You will also receive feedback (both formal and informal) from your peers, as well as pupils and teachers involved in your activity.
- Initial plan (10%)
- Reflective piece (1000-1500 words) (30%)
- Initial presentation of outreach activity (5%)
- Outreach activity (55%)
- Requirements: It is compulsory to take an I-Explore module during your degree (you’ll take an I-Explore module in either your 2nd or 3rd year, depending on your department). You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 105 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes for example reading and preparation for classes, researching and writing coursework assignments, project work and preparing for other assessments
- I-Explore modules are worth 5 ECTS credit towards your degree; to receive these you will have to pass the module. The numerical mark that you obtain will not be included in the calculation of your final degree result, but it will appear on your transcript
- This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 6 course
- This module is offered by Mathematics & Materials – Outreach Collaboration