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Following the success of our online hands-on activities, we wanted to promote them to as wide an audience as possible. In the first of two posts, Lauren Ding, Digital Editor, Learning for the Science Museum Group, shares why we chose to develop videos.

Over the years we have taken steps to make sure families and schools can be actively included in our experiences. Having our hands-on activities available online has helped to ensure families and schools can engage with, and access, our content wherever they may be.

In this post I’ll share the reasons behind our decision to make the videos as well as links to the three we currently have out, but, to start with, here is one of the videos:

Our Learning Resources website brings together resources from our museums, including activities, games and videos. Our hands-on activities are quick projects that are easy to make. They use everyday objects that people might have around their homes, helping to dispel the myth that you need special scientific equipment, or a prior knowledge of science and maths, to do them.

Why did we decide to develop videos of some of our resources?

Making video versions of our hands-on activities was a big ambition for the Learning team even before I joined – we actually discussed it in my job interview! Some activities such as Rocket Mice and Instant Ice Cream have been among our most popular pages, and we felt that having videos showing these activities being made could really enhance our offer and potentially reach new audiences as well.

All of our hands-on activities were developed using the science capital research and our engagement reflection points to make them as accessible as possible. We realised, however, that not everyone finds this format ideal. The downloadable PDFs of the resources work great for lots of schools and families, but, they don’t always work for those less confident with science/ with lower science capital, or for those with English as a second language.

Not wanting anyone to miss out, we asked ourselves, how can we make our activities even more accessible for our audiences?

We recognised the value in actually seeing an activity being created, rather than just reading  instructions and seeing how to pictures. Videos mean people can make along and feel more included, increasing their confidence in doing science activities. We also knew that videos would be great for sharing on different social media platforms across the web, so we could reach an even broader group of people.

We have three videos currently out with more coming:

We developed these simple to follow hands-on activities videos hoping that they would catch people’s attention, help empower people to create the activities themselves, and get them to start discussing science and maths.

It’s been really lovely to see such a positive response from families who have given the activities a go during lockdown. I hope that it’s inspired a little bit of curiosity and discussion about how down to earth science really is.

In my second post, Translating our hands-on resources to video, I share more about the development process.

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