Blog posts

National Volunteers' Week: Safa Iqbal

Blogging science to life

Tue 3 June 2014,

This week (1-7 June 2014) is National Volunteers' Week and as an educational charity, we use the generous support of many volunteers in all areas of At-Bristol from school workshops, events we run, helping in the venue during busy times, community open days and outreach events like Cheltenham Science Festival. Throughout the year, our volunteers put in hundreds of hours between them and we wanted to give an insight into a few of them this week - as well as saying a big THANK YOU for all the amazing work they do!

 Today we're hearing from Safa Iqbal, who loved visiting At-Bristol so much as a child that 6 months ago she started volunteering here!


Q. Why did you decide to volunteer and how long have you been doing it?

At-Bristol has been with me from the start. From primary to secondary school, At-Bristol visits have been a regular part of my development, as I learned about science in a fun and interesting way through the various wokshops, exhibits and of course, Live Lab. None of this would be possible without the fantastic Live Science Team - the staff! They were always so full of energy and enthusiastic, no matter what time of day. 

The bangs, pops and bursts in experiments were always sure to make my jaw drop in amazement. At-Bristol definitely pushed me towards following science and a science career. I started volunteering to increase my passion of science and help to be behind the magic of encouraging children to enjoy science, which has been so worthwhile!

I have been volunteering for over 6 months, but that isn't the end!

Q. What do you enjoy about volunteering with At-Bristol?

I am proud to say that I have taken part in every workshop at At-Bristol. I love how varied and relaxed the workshops are and the expressions on people's faces when they realise how fun science really is, all thanks to At-Bristol. No two days are the same, which makes volunteering so fun and enjoyable. It's so much fun, and I look forward to going in every time! Everyone is so welcoming and you feel like a big family. 


Q. What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer whether with At-Bristol or elsewhere?

There is something for everyone - literally! No matter your interests or hobbies, you'll definitely find something that attracts you. Volunteering at At-Bristol is so worthwhile and an amazing use of any spare time! You'll want to do more and more! 


Thanks to Safa for answering our questions!  If you're interested in finding out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.

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National Volunteers' Week: Ruth Evans

Blogging science to life

Tue 3 June 2014,

This week (1-7 June 2014) is National Volunteers' Week and as an educational charity, we use the generous support of many volunteers in all areas of At-Bristol from school workshops, events we run, helping in the venue during busy times, community open days and outreach events like Cheltenham Science Festival. Throughout the year, our volunteers put in hundreds of hours between them and we wanted to give an insight into a few of them this week - as well as saying a big THANK YOU for all the amazing work they do!

Ruth Evans - At-Bristol volunteerWe catch up with Ruth Evans, an At-Bristol volunteer and former science teacher, as she gives us the low down on what volunteering means to her and our visitors. Ruth has only been with us for a couple of months but has already done over 50 hours!

Q. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with At-Bristol
I have quite a varied background. I did my degree at Lancaster University in Biochemistry then came to Bristol and worked in Clinical Chemistry at Southmead Hospital. I later took a PGCE at Bath University, worked as a computer programmer and finally as a science teacher. After a number of years teaching, I decided to retire from the profession so stopped working and was not quite sure what to do next. Just by chance I came across the At-Bristol volunteers’ page on the website and decided to apply as I thought it would be interesting and involve both science and teaching; so here I am!

Q. Why did you decide to volunteer and how long have you been doing it?

I started volunteering just before Easter this year and have tried to attend for one day a week; I was really surprised how quickly the hours added up and already I have done 50 hours and got my first certificate.

Q. What do you enjoy about volunteering with At-Bristol?
Everyone here is really friendly and I enjoy talking to visitors, although I almost lost my voice last week! I prefer supporting the formal learning team, probably because this is similar to teaching in a classroom, and there are specific objectives as well as specific jobs to be done that I’m familiar with.

Q. What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer whether with At-Bristol or elsewhere?
If you enjoy talking to people give it a go, you don’t have to know everything about science, everyone in At-Bristol is happy to share their knowledge - it is more about encouraging visitors to try something new!

To find out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.


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National Volunteers' Week - Christy Nunns

Blogging science to life

Mon 2 June 2014,

This week (1-7 June 2014) is National Volunteers' Week and as an educational charity, we use the generous support of many volunteers in all areas of At-Bristol from school workshops, events we run, helping in the venue during busy times, community open days and outreach events like Cheltenham Science Festival. Throughout the year, our volunteers put in hundreds of hours between them and we wanted to give an insight into a few of them this week - as well as saying a big THANK YOU for all the amazing work they do!

Christy Nunns - At-Bristol volunteerFirstly, we catch up with Christy Nunns, an At-Bristol volunteer and former home-educated pupil, as he gives us the low down on what volunteering means to him and our visitors. Christy has been with us for a year now, having started in June last year, and has already clocked up 85 hours. Here's a little more about what he's been up to:


Q. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with At-Bristol.
After being home-educated for most of my life, having used At-Bristol as a child, and with the intention of studying and working in science, one day I just decided to volunteer. I walked in and asked what I could do, and I’ve been here ever since!

Q. Why did you decide to volunteer and how long have you been doing it?
When I was much younger, and still home-educated, centres like At-Bristol (particularly At-Bristol) were extremely beneficial to me and my early education, as they encourage the freer, discovery-led way of thinking and learning that is so invaluable to kids, and that, for me, school did not provide.
One aspect of my visits to At-Bristol as a kid that has certainly stuck with me is being inspired by the red-shirted presenters, who all seemed so passionate and enthusiastic about science – as people should be! I intend to work in science after university (studying physics), and I’m sure At-Bristol played a part in that decision. My main reason for volunteering was simply to have the opportunity to don my own red shirt, and potentially provide some inspiration to the next generation of scientists.
I’ve been volunteering for nearly a year, and in that time I’ve volunteered over fifty hours; I don’t intend to stop anytime soon!

Q. How do you think that your own experiences have added to the Home Educator days?
Because I have “been through the system”, as it were; having been home-educated and “out of the loop”, and then returning to formal education for GCSEs, and finally onto A-levels and university, I can empathise with the difficulties that home-educators and their parents face (such as how to get qualifications). I have spoken to a number of parents on H.E. days whom I’ve reassured that it is possible to be home-educated and successful, and I think that my experience in that sense allows me to interact with home-educated visitors differently.

One of the things that makes home-educator days so interesting for me is the fact that each interaction is so different; the range of abilities in a single age range is unique to home-education, and always makes age-targeted workshops interesting. I also know from experience that the very same child who can’t sit still in a classroom may be at peace in the Planetarium, and the kid who doesn’t seem to pay attention to their teacher might give their undivided attention to a difficult group task in a more hands-on workshop.

Q. What are your plans now?
Currently, I’m studying A-levels in mathematics, physics and computing at college, and in October I plan to study physics at the University of Bristol.
Part of my desire to stay in Bristol for university is so that I can keep involved with At-Bristol and the people I have met through volunteering here.

To find out more about volunteering in At-Bristol, visit our volunteer page.


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How to set fire to bubbles

Blogging science to life

Fri 30 May 2014,

Bubbles can float, pop, and... burst into flames!? Ross & Heather investigate the secret behind turning water into bubbles and how to set a bubble on fire!

To keep up to date with all our latest videos, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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Tales from the Workshop…

Blogging science to life

Wed 21 May 2014, Jen

Tales from the Workshop…

In this first instalment from our new series ‘Tales from the Workshop’, we’re going behind the scenes with our Exhibitions team as we gear up for the opening of our brand new exhibition ‘Food’, opening at the end of July.

Recently we’ve been out and about at Make Sundays Special, Food Connections Festival and at the Daylesford Summer Festival – we’ve been testing some tasty science experiments and also giving people a sneak peek at some of our exhibits as we took our prototypes out for the first time.

Make Sundays Special

Pop Goes the Kernel! 

One of the key exhibits for Food, and one that you might have helped us test during the Food Connections Festival, is our amazing popcorn bike machine! This exhibit showcases how to pop a popcorn kernel using a bit of old-fashioned arm cranking power combined with some high-tech LED lights!

Food Connections

On our last visit to the workshop, it certainly looked and sounded like an engineering challenge with so many variables to contend with.  The team have been devising an ingenious solution that makes sure all of the all-important energy is directed in the right way – to making corn pop. At the time of writing, the workshop team had trialled and tested over six different set-ups; science and engineering in action!

Modifications have involved changing the position of the lights and lenses to ensure even coverage of the kernel, while the trough ensures kernels are held in the same position.

Next we looked at making sure all of our visitors could pop their own corn so we made changes to the hand crank. The latest update has involved changing the white LED lights to blue, as blue light is better absorbed by the yellow kernel.  This maximises the amount of light energy that gets absorbed, all helping to pop that kernel!

And after seeing it in action the workshop team have a couple more changes up their sleeves…

Daylesfood Festival

To find out more visit www.at-bristol.org.uk/food , and keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment  of Tales from the Workshop.

 

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How to make honeycomb - The Science of Sweets

Blogging science to life

Fri 16 May 2014,

What's the difference between toffee and fudge? What makes the bubbles in honeycomb? Sarah and David of the Live Science Team investigate the science of sweets as they show you how to make honeycomb treats in your kitchen at home.

To keep up to date with all our latest videos, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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Future Sushi!

Blogging science to life

Fri 9 May 2014,

As our population grows and the climate changes, what are some of the foods we might have to eat more of in the future?  Ross Exton from the Live Science Team went to After Hours last night to tuck into some surprising sushi....

To keep up to date with all our latest videos, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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What Makes Things Glow in the Dark?

Blogging science to life

Fri 2 May 2014,

Ever wondered just how some things glow in the dark? Here's Nerys and Will of the Live Science Team to shed light on to the science of glowing, as they investigate deep sea fish, fireworks, and flame-guns!

To keep up to date with all our latest videos, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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What Does the Liver Do?

Blogging science to life

Fri 4 April 2014,

What exactly does your liver do?  How does your body get rid of toxins?  Here's Nerys from the Live Science Team to investigate how enzymes help our bodies work (with the help of a pig's liver!):

To keep up to date with all our latest videos, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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What's Inside the Lungs?

Blogging science to life

Fri 4 April 2014,

Join Ross for a breathtaking (literally!) journey through some lungs:

To keep up to date with all our latest videos, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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