I took part in the Explorathon (a.k.a. European Researcher’s Night) not long ago. We ran an event with the Glasgow chapter of Science Grrl – “I’m a Science Grrl, Talk to Me!”
This is a great event – it’s so easy to run, the kids love it, we can very quickly reach a wide audience and share science without the participants needing training. It takes almost no planning and successfully delivers and important message – that scientists don’t all look like elderly white men with crazy hair and safety goggles and that the kinds of science that people are doing in real life are hugely varied.
Sold? Ok, it works like this: All the volunteers being a small prop that they can carry around with them, something to help them explain their work. We give them each a big “I’m a Science Grrl, Talk to Me!” badge and let them wander around the venue. Meanwhile at our main desk we hand postcards to kids and tell them to go looking for people wearing the badges – they need to find them and ask them “what do you do?” The volunteers will tell them a bit about the science they do and will sign the postcard. When the kids have collected 6 postcards they can return to the main desk to collect a prize – a Science Grrl button badge of their very own.
This was fantastic for the Explorathon because it also meant that we could let our Science Grrls wander around and go check out all the other exhibits – they’re not stuck at the desk missing out on everything. They can go and get involved. It’s also a great activity for recruiting extra helpers on the fly, we didn’t need to do that this year, but a person who’s working on one exhibit can easily act as a Science Grrl to be found as well. It works well for them too because it’s an extra reason for the kids to come and see their exhibit.
So, we did really well. We handed out 212 postcards and 116 badges and 21 parents (and some teachers) signed up to our mailing list to hear more about what we do. The Explorathon has only been running for two years and I think that was all it was funded for, although I’ve heard that more funded will be sought for future years. Given how busy it was I’d be surprised if that funding is impossible to get. If it does run again I strongly recommend picking up a (free) ticket and going exploring.
Originally posted here: http://unazukin210.tumblr.com/post/130748260295/explorathon-2015-science-grrl-glasgow