You’ve given us quite a few suggestions for themed zones for next year. Along with the ones we used last year, there’s a good list here for you to vote on. Please vote for the zones you think you’d like to take part in.
HOWEVER, you’ll see that some suggestions I haven’t put up. This is because I wasn’t quite sure how they’d work, or they were a bit vague and I wasn’t sure what the right specific suggestion would be.
I’m explaining why (i.e. rambling on about this) below the poll. Please can you help me work this out?! Use the comments to add your thoughts and when we’ve worked out more suggestions I can keep adding things to this list.
A discussion on How Science Works (HSW) zone topics
One suggestion was a HSW zone. The problem with this is, who would we put in it? Sadly we don’t have enough time/money to develop extra teaching materials for each zone, so the topic has to sort of be covered (as much as it’s going to be) by the people in the zone.
So surely any scientist could go in a HSW zone? In fact they are all HSW zones! The main idea of the event really is that students learn HSW more than anything else (and that’s why the info sheets and lesson plans are all on HSW topics). I can’t quite see how a HSW zone would work, but I can see how we could have zones on some HSW topics.
For example, Verity suggests Investigative Science and Evaluating data. But again, who would we put in those zones? Surely any scientist could go in there? What would make it specifically an evaluating data zone?
Emily suggests a moral/ethical debating zone. I’m not sure whether she means one ‘ethics’ zone, or having zones on different issues. Which would you prefer? What issues would you want to see a zone on?
I would definitely LOVE to have zones on different issues – and potentially have some relevant scientists, but also social scientists or philosophers, who could bring a different angle. I think this would be a fantastic HSW exercise, showing the students that different sorts of evidence and points of view need to be considered.
One specific example, we’ve just brought out the cannabis legalisation debate kit. I would love to have a cannabis legalisation zone. Then I think it would make sense to have scientists who’ve studied the effects of smoking cannabis, for example whether it’s likely to cause psychosis. But also have a sociologist who could talk about the social effects of it being illegal, etc, etc.
Or would broader topics be better – for example, ‘Medical ethics’ which could then include medical researchers whose research has ethical implications, as well as, for example, a philosopher who specialised in ethics?
Would you like zones like ‘Philosophy of science’ zone? Although I’m not sure that we could have any actual scientists in that…
Would you feel OK in general about including non-scientists in zones where it seemed relevant? For example,last year we had a Drug Development zone. If we did that again, would it make sense to have a medical ethicist who could discuss the ethical issues in drugs trials?
Please contribute your thoughts, requests, etc and together we can work out some things that will work well for teachers and in the classroom, but also are feasible for us to organise:-)
I can’t promise that whatever we decide, I’ll be able to recruit the ideal people anyway! Of course I’ll do my best, but bear in mind that to an extent, broader suggestions are more feasible to put into practice (like I can’t promise to find five experts on the science of climbing Everest). But too broad and topics become a bit meaningless.