We work with local schools to help show physics is exciting, relevant and important and studying physics can broaden career possibilities. Our dedicated programme of activities focuses on engaging children from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented within the STEM community.
Working in partnership
We have run lots of exciting projects in partnership with our local schools, including:
- Recreating parts of the ATLAS detector in Minecraft
- Designing space-themed parade structures for a local carnival
- Building a working interferometer for classroom teaching
- Understanding infrared radiation by exploring planetary science and heat-loss in schools
Events for local schools
We have a number of activities available for local local students. Many of these events have been on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, we are looking forward to visiting schools again as soon as it is safe to do so.
Connect Physics (Key Stage 3)
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 delivered in-person and 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. They are able to find out about careers that are available after studying physics and they are given a chance to develop their skills using the scientific method and the peer-review process by tackling an open-ended problem with no given solution. Connect Physics is available for schools by invitation only.
Key Stage 3 Challenge Day (Key Stage 3)
We work in collaboration with The Ogden Trust School partnership for Oxford to run a hands-on day that focuses on core physics concepts and the applications of the subject knowledge to both real world situations and physics research. The Key Stage 3 Challenge Day is open to all schools within The Ogden Trust partnership.
Telescope evenings (Key Stage 3, 4 & 5)
Around 12 times a year, we open up the Philip Wetton telescope to local schools to introduce young people to the excitement of practical astronomy. The 0.4 metre telescope can be found in the purpose-built observatory at the Department of Physics and during the evening visit, students are able to observe the night sky as well as enjoy a series of space-themed activities. The Telescope Evenings are open to state schools within Oxfordshire.
"It is one of the most popular, enjoyable and educational trips that we do" Physics Teacher
Summer Roadshow (Key Stage 3 & 4)
Each year we tour local schools with a fun and interactive demonstration lecture about our research. The Summer Roadshow is available to state schools within Oxfordshire with priority given to our four target schools.
Career talks, stalls and events (Key Stage 4 & 5)
We can visit school with a stall or give a talk about the benefits of studying physics and wide-range of exciting careers available. These activities are open to state schools within Oxfordshire.
Flying Start (Year 12)
We provide a weekly programme for A-level Physics students from four local schools. The goal is to equip students with the skills they will need for pursuing undergraduate studies in Physics. Each class will consist of a mixture of lectures and problem solving sessions that will supplement the school curriculum. Whenever possible, astrophysical examples will be used to illustrate the topics presented.
Our target schools
We work closely with four secondary schools that have been identified using the POLAR3 (participation of local areas) classification of areas across the UK based on the proportion of the young population that participates in higher education. The schools are located in Oxford within quintile 1 which have the lowest participation rates.