Examples of Events: Secondary

Free one-day event for Year 9-12 students

Workshops typically include:

Science is all you need or is it?

This workshop begins with the assertion, I love my children but that’s just because of my genes. Children then explore the question, ‘why is my hair the way it is’ through the lenses of a ‘rainbow’ of disciplines to notice what is added to their answer as they bring in a richer set of questions, methods and norms of thought. Students construct their own journey through the disciplines working with the question ‘who am I?’. The aim is to introduce the idea that disciplines can be complementary and not only in competition.


Can a robot fall in love?

RobotInLove-RoseANDDaisyStudents critique a headline which announces the existence of robots that now fall in love. They examine different possibilities to explain why a robot might say it is in love.

We compare and contrast the way that a person develops values and beliefs with the functionality that engineers plan to build into robots.
The workshop helps students find the critical questions to ask when reporters use words associated with human experiences and capacities when talking about technology. It also introduces the idea that some questions are more amenable to science than others.

Extra Sensory Deception – Dr Matt Pritchard

What can you believe? In this workshop the worlds of magic and science collide to deceive and surprise your senses. Can you discover the sneaky scientific secrets behind the surprising illusions? The show will challenge you to think creatively like both a scientist and a magician. The interactive show encourages enquiry and critical thinking, using magic tricks to inspire. Where does faith, belief and the supernatural fit in with rational science? Or are they enemies?

Genetic Selection and Genetic Engineering – Can we make better humans? – Professor John Bryant

Modern science, from information technology to genetics, has given us great power to intervene in human life. Indeed, some have claimed that we can now improve the human species (or at least individual members of it). We will focus on the genetic features of these claims. Can we really make ‘better humans’ and, if so, should we?

How to clone a plant – Jane Fieldsend

240914(5)You’ll be surprised by how straightforward it is to clone a plant and even more surprised to learn how commonly cloning technology is used to support food production. In this hands-on workshop be ready to get up close and personal with some vegetables and the equipment you need to clone your own.

Neurons and Chips – Martin Coath, University of Plymouth

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, does it think like a duck? The answer is ‘no, not really’. Any machine in the 21st century that mimics being alive is certainly driven by a digital computer – and although we know very little about the brain we can be pretty sure that it is not digital, and doesn’t run a program. Is it possible to build a machine that actually works like a brain? Dr Martin Coath who has worked designing brain-like devices leads a lively workshop on what is and is not possible, and where we are going in the near future.

What cannot be imagined cannot even be talked about – Professor Andy Kempe

But how do you use words to convey what we can imagine? When we put words to what we imagine, how sure can we be that the people we’re saying those words to will end up imagining the same as what we are? This is going to be a playful workshop in which we will explore how the limits of our world may be limited by the limits of our language.

Science and Time – Denise Balmer

The workshop provides an opportunity to discuss the formation and development over time of our planet Earth. The session will be interactive and students will put together a ‘washing line of time’, and discuss whether this is at odds with ‘religious time’ and the biblical explanation of how Earth developed.

Robotics Workshop – David Kempton

240914(7)This workshop involves writing and then downloading programs to run on a small Lego Robot. Students will firstly be challenged to get the Robot to execute various geometric manoeuvres across the floor. Later, the students will be challenged to program the Robot to patrol its environment and use sensors to avoid obstacles in its path.