It’s hard to decide what I should write about. The things that I’ve been up to, or the things I’m about to do.
I returned to the Cheltenham Science Festival to provide activities in the BBC Science Zone. Accompanied by my fellow science presenters, Andrew Smith, Nathan Adams, Chris Hampsheir and Vicki Dennison, we provided four days of non-stop science activities. Pictures will be filling up the gallery soon enough, but I must reflect on the highlights of the festival for myself.
As we wrapped on Saturday evening and I was picking up bits of burst balloon from the field, a fine gentleman with white hair approached to thank me for what we had done as a team during the day. His grandchildren were so excited by having shared in our demonstrations that they were insisting his daughter brought them back the following day, despite them living miles away.
And come back they did. Over the course of the festival I was really surprised at how many visitors came back repeatedly. Some said they wanted to do the interactive aspects where they had only seen it the day before.
I am aware that there is a trend away from providing a demonstration and that ‘theories of learning’ suggest that people learn best from problem based learning and discussion. But ask yourself, what was the last thing you learned? I’m willing to suggest that you might have learned it from the television, rather than from undertaking a problem based learning task.
Now I no longer own a television, so I don’t get caught up in the possibility of watching something I don’t really want to watch while waiting to go to bed. By choosing to only watch selected programmes on iPlayer when I have time, I’ve found that there is a wealth of excellent programming provided.
Anyway, important to this view is that I really enjoyed Andrew Cohen’s questioning the audience on what we thought of the first drama undertaken by BBC Learning in 20 years, the story of Richard Feynman and the Challenger enquiry. Later, Helen Czerski backed up everything we presenters had been doing outside by advocating her audience to start playing with the toys of everyday life in order to explore science. Helen, will you joins us outside next year? You can talk about bubbles in Marmite.