Communicating STFC research with a mobile planetarium

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We have purchased a mobile planetarium and developed a planetarium show that describes STFC-funded exoplanet research at Warwick to an audience of y10/11 school pupils. To date we have presented the show to 690 pupils, focussing on ten schools in Coventry with high percentages of students qualifying for free school meals.
Exploitation Route We are continuing to use the planetarium purchased with this grant to engage disadvantaged children in STFC science. This work is currently supported by a grant from the University of Warwick Science Park Trust.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education

 
Description We have delivered our planetarium show based on our STFC research to 690 yr10/11 pupils in disadvantaged schools in Coventry. By engaging in this way we are increasing the uptake of STEM A-levels in these schools, with longer term societal and economic impact.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Internal support by Department of Physics, University of Warwick
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Warwick 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2011 
End 09/2013
 
Description Warwick Science Park Trust STEM Project Innovation Programme
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Warwick 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2013 
End 09/2015
 
Description Planetarium shows in Coventry schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Our planetarium show is highly interactive and results in enthusiastic questioning of our presenters (academic staff and PhD students) by school pupils. We are often asked how one becomes a research scientist. School students are often particularly surprised that they would not have to take out additional student loans to fund PhD study.

We target disadvantaged schools and aim to increase the uptake of STEM A-levels in those schools through repeated interventions (of which the planetarium visit is one). We are formally evaluating our programme, but we do not yet have data on A-level uptake.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
 
Description School group visits to University of Warwick astronomy group. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact As part of our astronomy engagement activities we invite school groups to visit our astronomy research group. As part of a full day of activities we describe out STFC-funded research activities using our inflatable planetarium. The shows are highly interactive with enthusiastic questioning of presenters (academic staff and PhD students) by school pupils.

This is part of a larger programme aiming to increase the uptake of STEM A-level in disadvantaged Coventry schools. We are formally evaluating our programme but we do not yet have data on A-level uptake.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014