Connect Physics

Connect Physics is a set of three workshops for Key Stage 3 science students which answer the questions:

What is physics?
Why do physics?
How do we do physics?

The workshops are suitable for students of all science abilities. The workshops encourage students to think of the bigger picture through connecting different ideas, such as topics from KS3 science, the latest physics research or their everyday lives, through physics, find out about careers that are possible through studying physics and get a chance to develop their skills using the scientific method and peer-review process through an open-ended problem with no presented final solution.

Details on each of the workshops can be found in our Teacher’s Guide.

Why three workshops?
For many years SEPnet has been delivering one-off workshops with many schools. Sadly these workshops had very little long-term impact with students, especially those that hadn’t already identified science as a pathway to their future career. Instead SEPnet is now focusing on fewer schools, instead having a greater number of interactions with the students from those schools. Once a term allows us to still be that exciting external visitor, but often enough that students should remember the workshops and be able to link the three.

By the end of the workshops all students should start to realise that:

  • Anyone can do physics.
  • Physics is exciting, relevant & important; it goes beyond the classroom.
  • Studying physics further broadens career possibilities.

The workshops have been developed using the ASPIRES research. The workshops are designed to maintain and grow the science capital of the students that take part. For those with medium science capital, these workshops should encourage them to view STEM as a pathway to a potential career, for those with high science capital, they will be encouraged to think specifically about physics.

The workshops have been developed by Science Theatre on behalf of SEPnet.

Links to Curriculum:
The Connect Physics workshops supplement the KS3 Science Curriculum. KS3 science presents students with a very large number of ideas. With so many ideas to get through, science can sometimes be interpreted by students as a collection of singular concepts.

Connect Physics is designed to bring these ideas together, Connect them through physics. Not only Connect the ideas within the science curriculum, but take these ideas and Connect them with aspects of everyday life that students will be familiar with; Connect these ideas with careers and pathways to get there; Connect ideas with the methods of carrying out science.

These workshops help relate ideas in KS3 science to phenomena in the world around them, bring in connections between different subject areas, connect KS3 science ideas to the big ideas at the forefront of physics research and introduces the idea of modelling and peer review to develop and evaluate explanation, all key components and skills-building that work alongside all of the KS3 Science National Curriculum.

Format of the workshops & Booking
To book Connect Physics at your school, please get in touch with your local SEPnet Outreach Officer. Please note that we may not be able to deliver the workshops to your school Officers have a limited numbers of schools they can work with.

Officers will prioritise schools based on local Widening Participation requirements, along with other indicators. We are looking to develop the workshops as a teacher resource so all schools can access the workshops.

Each workshop fits into a 45 to 60 minute science lessons. If you lessons are slightly shorter or longer, please let us know beforehand so the workshops can be altered.

Ideally the workshops would be delivered one a term, across the year, to the same students. However timetabling is never easy! If possible please book the workshops in before the Autumn Half-Term, as the Officers’ diaries do tend to get full-up, especially during the months of March, June and July.

Each workshop will be delivered by the same Outreach Officer throughout the year, or one of their experienced and fully trained Undergraduate Ambassadors.

Testing and Evaluation
The workshops and their content have been tested throughout the South-East in over thirty different schools. This testing forms part of a wider evaluation process which included focus groups with Key Stage 3 students and teachers. The results of this evaluation will be made available in September 2018. Please drop us a line if you would like a copy.

Additional Information
If you would like more information, please get in touch with Dr Dominic Galliano, the Director of Outreach & Public Engagement at SEPnet.