Blog posts

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!

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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.

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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....

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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!

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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!):

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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:

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How To Make A Chicken!

Blogging science to life

Fri 4 April 2014,

What's the difference between an egg and a chicken? Can a boiled egg have a chick inside the shell? Ross Exton and Joel Sanderson of the Live Science Team investigate the secrets of life, from hatching chicks to genes and DNA...

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How to Walk on Red-hot Coals: The Science of Firewalking

Blogging science to life

Fri 28 March 2014,

Things are really hotting up in our latest video as Ross explores the physics behind firewalking!  With thanks to St Peters Hospice, who let us film their sponsored Firewalk, and put Ross through his paces!

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