Learning and Teaching News [Archived stories]

From bed bugs to bicycles

Riding a bike like Chris Hoy, cleaning up with Aggie Mackenzie or firing rockets across campus: just a few of the 50 science activities at the Leeds Festival of Science for Yorkshire school children.

Also joining the Festival this year will be BBC One Show science presenter Marty Jopson, whose demonstration of the wonders of solar science is likely to be accompanied by more than a few explosions. And in the first event organised by the newly established West Yorkshire branch of the British Science Association, Aggie Mackenzie of 'How Clean is your house?' will be searching for bed bugs and dust mites and checking out the science of detergents.

Organised by the University of Leeds, the Festival will bring around 3,000 children from Key Stages 2-5 to the University campus over the next ten days to sample hands-on science and technology workshops in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, maths, environmental sciences, food sciences, medicine and engineering.

Other highlights include using forensic science to solve a murder mystery and parachuting Wii remotes to test speed and impacts.

The aim of the Leeds Festival of Science is to inspire and enthuse children about science and show them the importance - and relevance - of science, engineering and technology in their lives. It forms part of the UK-wide National Science and Engineering Week which started on 12 March.

"It's a hugely popular event, and we're hard-pushed to accommodate all the schools who want to come," says Maura Bond, one of the University's Festival organisers. "But we want to give all school children the chance to experience science and engineering and be inspired by students and professors from a leading university."

Biological Sciences Dr Charlotte Haigh who chairs the West Yorkshire Branch of the British Science Association, believes it's not only the children that benefit: "Many of our PhD students volunteer to help out and run the sessions, but seeing the children get excited and motivated by the science really makes the time and effort worthwhile."

12th March 2010