How do we know what the sun is made of? What really happens at CERN? In Learning and Programmes, we’ve been finding out how to answer some of these questions! We’re now planning a series of school and family programmes so we can share those answers with people who come to our museum too.
Explore Your Universe is an exciting new project for National Museums Scotland. It’s led by the Association of Science and Discovery Centres and the Science and Technologies Facilities Council. We’ve joined twenty partners throughout the UK in the projects, which aim to inspire children, young people and their families about the physical sciences. Over the past two months, the Learning and Programmes office has been filling up as lots of weird and wonderful pieces of science equipment have been appearing. Metal that springs back to a pre-set shape when immersed in water, a camera that can identify the hottest place in the room, and diffraction slides that create a mini-rainbow when held up to the window are just some of the mini-experiments we’ve been testing out.
As part of the project, Fiona from our team has also visited CERN, to see the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world! Those who’ve visited the museum might have spotted our Atom Smasher in the Grand Gallery. This is an early version of a particle accelerator. During 2015, we’re planning a series of ‘Meet the Expert’ events where visitors can hear from scientists about their latest discoveries through demonstrations and hands-on sessions to explain some of these concepts, like particle physics, in a child-friendly way. If you’re a scientist, whose studies relate to the physical sciences, we’d love to hear from you.
School groups will also be able to find out more about our universe through our ‘Searching Our Skies: Explore Your Universe’ workshop. Suitable for Primary 4 to 7 classes, this workshop involves pupils discovering how telescopes have developed from some of the earliest examples you can see in the museum, up to present day. The workshop uses cutting-edge research by the Science and Technology Facilities Council to give pupils an insight into technologies used in the latest telescopes. Campie Primary, in Musselburgh, are bringing their Primary 7 class to test the new workshop for us in early February. Families can also look out for our Lab Rats in Space: Explore Your Universe workshops for 5-8 year olds coming up in Edinburgh International Science Festival. We’re hoping visitors will think it’s out of this world!