ISSUE 5 Best of Both Worlds
Human Health The Bigger Picture FREE School Places
Coming to the BIGGEST Screen BodyWorks on Tour
Glasgow Science Centre is a charity whose mission is to inspire, challenge and engage everyone with the wonders of science.
Exploring the bigger picture of human health With the BodyWorks exhibition set to launch on 27 March 2013, work on the most ambitious project undertaken by Glasgow Science Centre in years is really picking up pace.
“Our role is to raise awareness of the science that underpins human health and well-being,” says Dr Robin Hoyle, Director of Science at Glasgow Science Centre. “Rather than tell people smoking is bad for them, BodyWorks will provide our understanding of the science of why it’s bad for you. By explaining that a smoker might have a foot or leg amputated because smoking affects your cardiovascular system, it makes it real. “Instead of preaching to visitors we’ll be encouraging them to ask questions about what they see and experience. We have ‘drunk goggles’ that mimic the effects of alcohol for the wearer, and full body slices of overweight and healthy bodies to show how and why fat is deposited in the way it is. The health messages will be implicit in the interpretation.”
“ Our role is to raise awareness of the science that underpins human health and well-being Dr Robin Hoyle Director of Science
BodyWorks focuses on the science of the human body and has been designed to play directly to the Scottish Government health agenda. Although Scotland is home to some of the world’s leading researchers in life sciences, medical science and other health related fields, the population continues to experience some of the worst health outcomes anywhere.
A new angle As well as being part of the agenda to develop health literacy within the country, BodyWorks aims to showcase some of the big ideas that our scientists and medical experts are currently working on. A highlight of the immersive environment will be the research capsules, which provide a space for more concentrated engagement with visitors. Each of the five capsules will focus on a different area of innovation in the field of health and well-being. “Museums and Science C entres can be thought of as being on a continuous spectrum, with objects in a glass case at one end and pure interactivity at the other,” explains Robin. “The research capsules move the visitor experience further along the spectrum towards a museum experience. They’ll be rich in information and perhaps make the visitor think a little bit harder or deal with ethical concerns or more difficult concepts. Out in the interactive areas, it’s about a quick, hands-on approach to learning the fundamentals.”
Outside input The support of a great number of partners has been invaluable in the development of the exhibition, and not only in terms of providing essential funding.
“ Partnerships are crucial to the development of BodyWorks “
Dr Gillian Lang Partnerships Co-ordinator
“Partnerships are crucial to the development of BodyWorks because it’s really important that we get the science right in the exhibition and content to put in it,” explains Partnerships Co-ordinator Dr Gillian Lang. “But we also want our partners to come here on an ongoing basis to make use of the exhibition as a vehicle to deliver their own public engagement. Many are employers of science and engineering graduates or universities keen to encourage people onto their courses, so this is a great showcase for them too. “GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is the second largest funder of the overall project and has been actively involved since the start, when we launched BodyWorks On Tour. GSK sits on the science advisory committee for the outreach and in-house projects, and keeps a close eye on the development process. We proved with On Tour that the partnership is a mutually beneficial one. Going forward, we want to continue to attract similarly active partnerships with others.”
How we work with partners Some of the most exciting research capsule content is the result of our strong collaborations with academia and industry. A major partnership is with the Bioengineering Department of the University of Strathclyde. Professor Terry Gourlay has designed and built a complete artificial heart especially for our ‘How to mend a broken heart’ capsule. Inchinnan based company Vascutek will provide the vascular grafts and surgical equipment that will sit alongside this heart and can be picked up and held by visitors. Partners are also involved in the development of main floor exhibits. Dr Kim Dale, an embryologist at the University of Dundee, has been instrumental in creating ‘Find the humans’. In embryological form, all animals look almost identical; the challenge to visitors will be to reproduce an animal’s pregnancy from start to finish by identifying its embryo at key stages. Elsewhere in the exhibition the University of Glasgow’s Museum of Human Anatomy is lending three human tissue specimens for display; in return, GSC is in discussions about designing new mounts for the specimens. The University’s
Professor of Parasitology Mike Turner has provided for display images and samples of various vectors of disease such as the Tsetse fly, which transmits sleeping sickness. Not all partnerships are with scientists or solely two-way. GSC has teamed up with seven mums-to-be to create pregnancy diaries to explain what happens to the body month by month. In return for divulging details of what is a very intimate and personal experience, each has been given a 4D 12-week scan courtesy of Baby Scanning Ltd. In turn, GSC will share research that results from the diaries with the company, resulting in something of a virtuous circle. BodyWorks is all about continuing to refresh and rejuvenate the Glasgow Science Centre experience. In trying to achieve this aim, we seek support from all kinds of sources. Even games manufacturer Winning Moves has had an input, allowing us to use the highly popular Top Trumps® card format to create our own cell biology version of the game. We’d like to thank everyone involved for their continued support.
For regular updates on how BodyWorks is taking shape, read our blog:
GSC welcomed nearly 20,000 pupils in 2011/12 through the Glasgow free places scheme – 2.5 times the number of local pupils who had visited us the previous year. Transport funding from the Scottish Government has also been imperative in widening accessibility to our facilities.
Free school places for 2012/13
“Many of the children at many of the schools hadn’t been to GSC before, so the initiative has been very successful in terms of being inclusive and helping to provide a balanced education,” says Science Learning Manager Dr Sharon Macnab. “We’ve had very strong feedback from teachers indicating that if it hadn’t been for the free entry, they wouldn’t have been able to come. Some have said that pupils in their classes perhaps wouldn’t have had any other opportunity to visit GSC other than through this scheme.” Ninety-nine per cent of teachers also told us that they hadn’t arranged a visit simply because it was free. They had decided to come to GSC because visiting us fitted in with one or more areas of their Curriculum for Excellence topics. So although the free places initiative has certainly improved accessibility among Glasgow schools, it isn’t the key driver in getting teachers to bring their classes here. Our interactive, hands-on approach to learning has been highly praised, as has our broad range of topics. Classes exploring Ancient Greece to fit in with the London 2012 Olympic Games were able to find out all about sport, the human body and science. Teachers have enjoyed the opportunity to do simple experiments that they can’t readily do in the classroom as much as our high impact exhibits and activities.
“ Visits have been integrated better with school curriculum
More than 60% of the teachers who visited us through the scheme said that their own attitude towards science has become more positive as a direct result of visiting GSC. That we can help to shift attitudes away from science being inaccessible or difficult can only benefit pupils’ own attitudes and learning. Some teachers have even mentioned the visit influencing pupils’ career choices, because of the opportunities at GSC to understand better what it is that scientists actually do.
Dr Sharon MacNab Science Learning Manager
“As well as increasing our numbers, the initiative has led to a boost in the staff and visitor experience on the floors,” Sharon adds. “It’s great to have GSC busy every single day. Traditionally, June was our peak month, since schools would perhaps come for an end-of-year self-funded trip. June figures for 2011/12 were still strong, but less so than previously. It’s nice to see that visits have been integrated better with school curriculum, and a steady stream of school visits aids management and results in greater vibrancy.”
On the back of the enthusiastic uptake of our free places for Glasgow schools, Glasgow City Council Education Services are to continue to fund the initiative for a second year.
Last issue we announced that GlaxoSmithKline has promised further funding for our BodyWorks On Tour outreach programme. This time, we look at how we’ll put the £500,000 to good use over the next three years. Our key focus for the additional funding is to deliver a newly refreshed programme of activities. In future, schools will be able to opt for either the BodyVision or FitLab package, both of which push the Government’s health agenda as much as they promote science in and of itself. Some of the current range of outreach activities will stay, but the packages will also feature entirely new activities. Each addresses the national outcome to reduce rising levels of obesity. BodyVision will examine the anatomy and physiology of being active and the health related areas of fitness. For secondary pupils, a new 3D BodyVision show is in the pipeline. Working with one of our partners on the in-house BodyWorks exhibition, GSC will develop a journey through the human body using volume rendered human body CT scan imagery. Through their special 3D glasses, students will be able to look in detail at the heart, lungs, muscles and blood vessels – all of which are related to fitness and activity. In contrast, FitLab will see the student become subject and scientist in their own investigations to explore the skills areas of fitness: power, agility, speed, coordination and such. Exhibits like ‘How high can you jump?’, a Simon Says-style co-ordination game, and a light gauge to measure speed will let students collect data about themselves as individuals and a group. This highly interactive task will end with the class using the data to uncover comparisons and correlations.
“ In the first three years, we took our outreach activities to 190,500 people in total “
Clare Abel Science Education Co-ordinator
“We completely blew out of the water our estimations for the first phase of the project,” says Science Education Co-ordinator Clare Abel. “In the first three years, we took our outreach activities to 190,500 people in total – four times the figure we had originally envisaged. We hope to sustain and perhaps grow our popularity even more in phase two, to reach 195,000 people across education and community audiences. “More and more people want us at their events. Our involvement with the NHS Scotland SmokeFree scheme is really taking off and we’re also looking at reaching out into new areas like music festivals.” Some schools and communities that we visit are too geographically distant to follow up outreach activities with a trip to the BodyWorks exhibition; others with be positively encouraged to do so. Schools in Glasgow for whom the barrier to visiting us is largely financial will be able to apply for free places once again in 2012/13.
Coming to the biggest screen As part of their visit to the Science Centre, schools can choose to visit the IMAX theatre. New educational films Sea Rex 3D and To the Arctic 3D promise to appeal just as much to individuals and families visiting GSC. To the Arctic has been produced by McGillivray Freeman Films, the company behind The Last Reef. The subject matter is the Arctic Sea ice and the impact that its ever-changing nature is having on the local wildlife, in particular the polar bear and the caribou. Spectacular shots of ice fields and the wider environment are interspersed with accounts by human characters. Triple Academy Award winner Meryl Streep narrates. Science and education content covers the environment, the likely causes of global warming, and the lifecycles and biology of the two key animals introduced. Some social commentary from an Inuit narrator is also included, giving a brief glimpse into the day-to-day lives of those living in the far north. N3D Land Productions film Sea Rex takes viewers on a different kind of journey, back in time to the prehistoric age. An imaginative young woman called Julie enters a modern-day aquarium only to travel back in time to the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Beneath the waves, she encounters an incredible, unexplored universe and comes face to face with the creatures that ruled the sea long before dinosaurs walked the earth. Both films come with a suite of support materials that includes packs for teachers, students and families, and there is the possibility of developing Meet the Expert events around either or both.
The best of both worlds Glasgow Science Centre provides a unique setting for corporate events teamed with all the facilities and services you’d expect of a hotel or conference hall. GSC offers everything corporate clients could want in an event space: a dedicated team and event planners, in-house catering and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, plus the technical people to operate it. But unlike your average hotel or conference hall, we also have an incredible range of facilities and entertainment to set a typical seminar or dinner apart from the rest.
The architecture of the Science Centre makes for some amazing spaces, both intimate and more substantial in size. We are happy for clients to hire out our various auditoria, and we can make available our trained educators to engage with and entertain corporate guests. The environment blends science with modernity, and there’s the added incentive that hosting an event at GSC supports a charity.” GSC also runs our own in-house ‘Events By GSC’ series of events hosted by pre-eminent figures from the world of science to help us raise awareness of our mission. The next event is a dinner hosted by Professor Robert Winston, which takes place on 11 October. With networking opportunities at the pre-dinner reception and a ‘Question of Science’ quiz on the cards, the event should again serve to bring together academia and industry through our first-rate hospitality and some friendly competition.
“ We support education by getting the income in through other revenue streams “
“We are an educational venue first and foremost and that will always be the driver,” says Corporate Events Manager, Judy Rae. “But we then see how can we support education by getting the income in through other revenue streams. Bottom line, all businesses need to drive income.
Judy Rae Corporate Events Manager
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whose mission is to inspire, challenge and engage everyone with the wonders of science
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