Why deliver a workshop?
By running a workshop at Skirting Science you will help young people make informed decisions about their future. You will also help address commonly held misconceptions about scientists such as ‘all scientists wear white coats’ and ‘science is for boys’. Most workshop presenters find the experience rewarding.
What to expect
You will be asked to run a one hour workshop and repeat it three times. Between seven and fifteen Year 9 (14-year-old) girls will attend each workshop. The girls come from different schools so might get lost and arrive late. Also, they might not know each other and be reluctant to speak out during discussions.
- To give participants a chance to try an activity linked to your science career
- To give participants a chance to talk to you about your science career
The workshop is not for teaching science theory. If participants pick up some theory along the way that’s fine, but don’t make this a focus.
Engaging the audience
The participants will respond to your genuine enthusiasm. Ask yourself: ‘What is it about my job that gets me up in the morning? How can I give the young people an opportunity to try that for themselves?’
Participants will be interested to hear your personal story. Be prepared to talk about:
- Your career path including subjects you liked at school, subject choices, university and relevant hobbies
- What a typical day at work involves
- What you find rewarding about your career
- Be honest and tell them about the boring bits as well.
A well designed activity will bring your career to life and provide a memorable experience for participants. Here are some tips for designing an engaging activity.
- Problem solving. Young people enjoy creative challenges; for example building a model rollercoaster, or cracking a code to find a hidden message.
- Right level of challenge: It’s hard to anticipate what participants will know so it’s best to avoid difficult scientific concepts, especially those that involve equations. Avoid using scientific jargon unless you have the time to explain it.
- Make it relevant. Can you use examples from the local area? Can the participants carry out experiments on themselves? Can you link the activity to contemporary music, computer games or popular television shows?
- Teamwork. Working in groups helps break the ice and also reinforces the importance of people skills in science and other careers.
- Speaking. Don’t spend too much time speaking. As a rough guide try not to speak for more than ten minutes at any one time. Spread speaking over the course of the workshop.
- Instructions. Provide clear and easy to follow instructions for any practical work. Instructions on handouts or displayed on a projector can be useful.
- Be flexible. Plan your workshop so that you can shorten it if participants arrive late. Also be prepared with extra activities in case the participants complete everything you set them.
Ask yourself: ‘Am I excited about delivering my workshop?’ If the answer is yes there’s a good chance the young people will enjoy it. If the answer is no you need to go back to the drawing board! A fun workshop will increase your enjoyment of the day and give you a bigger buzz when you see the reaction of the young people.