Discovery Planet opened the doors to its Ramsgate HQ again last weekend to hold a series of workshops called ‘Magical Materials’, all about atoms, materials, and how they respond to changes in temperature.
Around 250 Thanet school students and 200 members of the community were helped to understand scientific concepts through experiments which involved sticking their head in a cloud, smashing a banana, and crunching up chrysanthemums. The gasps of amazement from the crowds as billowing clouds filled the room were testament to how much fun the learning experience was.
The workshops, which are funded by a generous grant from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, were delivered by Dr Vicky Mason from the University of Kent, who is working in partnership with Thanet based Discovery Planet to make sure that as many local people as possible get to understand the wonders of science and its relevance to everyday life.
The grant is supporting a two-year programme of regular workshops on a wide range of topics, linked to research being undertaken at the University.
All of the sessions are being held at a science ‘shop’ at number 47, Ramsgate High Street, which has the added advantage of bringing a disused commercial unit back into use in spectacular fashion.
The distinctive new shop front and smart interior have been fitted out through a generous donation from London Array, with Array staff attending previous events about clean energy to talk about wind energy and the offshore windfarm visible from our coastline.
The next workshop dates to watch out for are the 19th to 21st of May when people can explore how we observe space with telescopes; 16th to 18th of June when we’ll be thinking about meteorites; and the 7th to the 9th of July when we’ll be examining how science can help us explore heritage.
Schools can book sessions on Thursdays and Fridays. Saturdays are set aside for members of public who do not need to reserve a place and can simply turn up for the workshops which start on the hour, every hour from 10am with the last one starting at 3pm. Attendance is free of charge for schools and members of the public alike.
There is now a special quiet session for people who specifically need a calmer environment at 10am on Saturdays.
Discovery Planet Director Nikki Hildesley said: “We observed that some people were struggling a bit with the bustle and noise of the large groups, so in order to be more inclusive we decided to set aside an hour on Saturdays to create a quieter experience which caters better for those who have special needs.
“So far this has worked well, but we welcome any suggestions as to how we can improve people’s experience and make all of our sessions as accessible as possible.”
Watch out for information by following Discovery Planet’s various social media accounts or looking out for posters and flyers.