Gabriele Butkute, events and administrative assistant at the Society of Biology, writes about attending Winchester Science Festival on the 25th July 2014 at the Discovery Centre in Winchester.
The festival was buzzing all weekend, attracting over 3000 attendees on Friday alone! It was a great way for families to add variety to their summer holidays by engaging in games and other activities, attending talks and even having 3D toys made for them during the festival (we had a glimpse at some brilliant 3D geckos being made, so fascinating!).
The Society of Biology stand was one of the most popular ones at the festival, engaging over 200 children with their parents, more than half of whom made a fortune teller and played the matching pairs game. It is quite an art in itself to neatly fold a fortune teller, which is then followed by picking a number, folding the fortune teller as many times as the number picked and revealing a scientist with his or her most significant discovery. While folding a fortune teller needs concentration and dexterity, matching pairs game was all about memory and speed! Children could open only two cards out of sixteen at a time to try and find their scientist from the fortune teller with the matching discovery. Kids were very excited about the games, as some of them had already tried them at school, and those who hadn’t – picked it up very quickly and sometimes even came back for another one!
The matching pairs card game became a real hit! Children tried to be as quick as possible, later sticking their times on our inflatable dinosaur Trevor. Within a couple of hours Trevor was nicely dressed in Post-its and ready to pose for photos. Our winning time was 0.5 seconds! Amazing, isn’t it?
The feedback wall wasn’t forgotten either – we had 18 children naming areas of biology they knew, from anatomy to microbiology. And those who didn’t know any at the time, surely do now after playing the fortune teller game. Winchester Science Festival was our second outing of Biology: Changing the World public engagement activities and proved to be a huge success among children and adults alike.
It was fascinating to hear children talk about biology, and share their ideas and curiosity. Some children enjoyed making fortune tellers so much, that they came back later and made some more for their siblings or friends. Our stand attracted all ages – from those folding their fortune tellers in the stroller with their mum to the sixth form students enquiring about biology careers. In addition to all the games, we were able to engage children into our specimen drawing competition and raise awareness of other Society projects.
Biology: Changing the World is a heritage project of the Society, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and in partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
The public engagement activities taken to Winchester Science Festival are available for use and copyright free.