Hull Science Festival
Last weekend, my science-mad son, Noah, and I visited Hull Science Festival at the University of Hull. Following on from the success of the British Science Festival, held during the week, Hull Science Festival aimed to get youngsters involved in learning about how and why things work.
When we found out about the two-day Hull Science Festival, we were amazed at how many free activities catered to kids. Unfortunately, some of our preferred workshops (like the slime making workshop) had already sold out. This was a bit of a disappointment but now we know to look out next year for early announcements!
We picked a few workshops and shows that looked interesting to us, but found that visiting for a day wasn’t nearly enough time to get around everything we wanted to see.
I’m actually studying at the University this year!
This September I am starting my MSc in Social Research at the University of Hull so I was quite excited to take Noah to see where I would be studying, pitching it as a ‘big school for grown ups’. The grounds of the university are quite beautiful and, since I worked there over a decade ago (as a Library Assistant), have undertaken so much transformation. I feel really proud to be going to this university because, from what I’ve experienced so far, the facilities are absolutely top-notch!
Destroy this Book in the Name of Science
We had no idea what to expect from this workshop but it turned out to be one of the highlights for Noah. We met author and illustrator, Mike Barfield, who introduced us to his series of fun, slightly-silly, educational books titled “Destroy This Book in the Name of Science”. These books are a brilliant introduction to educational books for children, even if they cannot yet read. The concept is to snip and fold experiments from the perforated pages of the book, while learning valuable lessons about tricky scientific concepts.
Auntie Ruthie had joined us for the day and we all enjoyed making our own versions of the world’s simplest paper plane. Noah got a huge amount of joy out of making an origami paper banger. He was further amused when Mike produced a massive, more deafening version! I was really impressed with this little trick we did where we balanced a cut out of Isaac Newton’s head on the edge of our finger.
The Demo Show: Tricks of the Mind
We rushed over to The Demo Show: Tricks of the Mind where we learned a few things about how our mind can play tricks on us and the role this plays in illusions. Part-magic / part-educational show, there were plenty of opportunities to take part. Noah became quite restless during the show. For me it was really interesting because I am always curious about how illusions work. I won’t spoil it, but we learned how you can quite easily fool anybody (and an audience) into thinking that a “magic clip” can stop them being pushed over.
The finale of the show, demonstrating the effects of air flow, was a real hit with all the kids (including Noah!)
SWAT! A Fly’s Guide to staying alive
After a bit of lunch at the pub across the road, it was time for another show. Mike Barfield returned, but this time dressed in costume as a fly. Again, there were so many opportunities to get involved. We all learned a heap about flies, including the fact that the fly has thousands of eyes! They also really like poo which all the kids found amusing!
The day had flown by and we hadn’t even had a chance to explore the discovery zone. This area had a whole host of scientific activities appropriate for all ages. There was only time for Noah to try his hand at a virtual reality program. He loved it!
Hull Science Festival is a wonderful opportunity to teach and engage young people in science. It was so encouraging to see children really enjoying the festival. We would definitely go again and Noah says that Mummy’s school is better than his!