Despite great progress over the past two decades, there is still a significant gender imbalance in the physical sciences – especially within Physics. Badminton School’s Science Outreach programme aims to help redress this imbalance in three key ways:
Our events are almost always aimed at both girls and boys. Girls need the inspiration of seeing young women doing exciting practical work and speaking confidently about Physics and other sciences. Meanwhile a key element of overcoming gender-based stereotypes in science is for boys to see that it is normal for girls to be engaged in practical science.
The outreach work we do delivers material with a deep level of engagement from girls in Years 10 to Upper Sixth and has three core components:
Shows for primary age school children. These are mainly based on low temperature physics in a lecture and demonstration format, with the girls, depending on experience, either helping with or conducting the demonstrations. Visiting 22 schools in 2021-2022, we reached over 1,250 Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils.
Workshops aimed at Able, Gifted and Talented (A, G & T) pupils. These are usually based on magnetism and involve Sixth Form girls teaching younger children for a day, producing presentations to share with their parents and classmates. The days produce a high level of engagement for both the presenters and the children. These events reach around 100 children a year.
Participation in science festivals. We have been invited to present at numerous Festivals of Physics hosted by the Institute of Physics over the past ten years. More recently as our reputation has grown we have presented at the UK Big Bang (2019, 2022), the Cheltenham Science Festival (2018) and the Northern Ireland Science Festival in person in 2020 and remotely in 2021 – you can see our video on states of matter here:
Since 2016, the Science Outreach Team has been involved in several major festivals. In 2019 we had our busiest weekend ever with one team at Jodrell Bank as part of the bluedot festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, and another team in the Czech Republic appearing as CERN’s special guests at the Colours of Ostrava Festival. In the summer of 2022, we will be participating in WOMAD for the sixth time and Green Man for the third.
Badminton School does not charge for outreach sessions as they are a key part of our Public Benefit work.
Submissions to the National Physical Laboratory for their teacher training material have been accepted and will gain 10 girls acknowledgement for their help.
Up to three papers may be published in the next year, with girls involved as authors in all three projects. We hope to approach the National Physical Laboratory for help with one paper.
Read our two papers published in the peer reviewed Institute of Physics Journal ‘Physics Education’: