Clippy Crazy at Manchester Science Festival

Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 October saw the Manchester Science Festival 2009 Schools Event take place with Year 8 pupils from all over Greater Manchester packing into Pure Nightclub in the Printworks for a day filled with engaging and educational workshops, shows and activities exploring science, engineering and maths.

Image, Clippy Island in action at the Manchester Science Festival

I went out with our Clippy Island: An Investigation into Natural Selection activity to deliver a 45 minute workshop to the students. In Clippy Island, the students become a population of bird called ‘Springbeaks’ where they experience first hand how adaptions created by natural variations within a species allow a population to change over time.

We ran the workshop for about 180 students from 5 different schools over the course of the 2 days who all seemed to really enjoy being springbeaks and experiencing natural selection in action. The competitive edge of the students was certainly clear to see!

Pure nightclub was a bit of a bizarre location, particularly as my session was allocated the ‘Lounge Bar’ complete with sofas and comfy chairs and a long bar along one side.  I have to say it is the oddest place I have ever taught in, but it was a great space and the students were clearly excited by the environment.

It was nice also to be able to work with friends such as Lauren Furness from MOSI and scientists from Faculty of Life Science at The University of Manchester and take part in a day that I hope will enthuse the students about how fun and interesting science can be and see some of the direct applications of science in the real world.

Image, Manchester Science Festival Logo

I’d just like to say thank you to a few of the volunteers from Manchester Science Festival who helped me out during the sessions, especially on the fist day when I was on my own as unfortunately Louise was ill and couldn’t make it.

It was a fun but exhausting few days and I hope the students took away a new found enthusiasm for science and consequently made the most of other exciting science related events that took place during half term as part of the Manchester Science Festival 2009.

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