I took a group of year 4 and 5 children to the London Science Museum this week.
We were amazingly lucky with the journey both there and back so maximised the amount of time we had to spend there.
The museum is just an incredible place to visit. There is nothing like it in Dorset, @Bristol isthe nearest hands-on visitor centre. The explora centre ( link ) that is hoped for would be of such benefit to the schools in and around Dorset. It could also provide great opportunities for young people considering teaching as a career to work with children. In fact, a wonderful opportunity for anyone who has time to spare .
The science museum , London, has the launchpad area - totally hands on zone full of activities for the children to experience. Having been many times now, I leave the children to explore for the first ten minutes or so before directing them to different exhibits and talking them through the whys , hows and wherefores. Staff at the launchpad are super enthusiastic, but far too few in numbers.( no doubt due to financial constraints and by no means a critcism to the great staff who are there!) To raise impact further , why not iinvolve students from Imperial college (a stone's thow away) in outreach work? Ot trainee teachers in the area? I would have loved that chance as a trainee.
When the explora centre project is up and running, it could really make the experience for visiting children even better if there are plenty of people there to explain the activities to the children. Science is such a fun subject to teach. Many practicals can be carried out easily in primary schools, but budgetary constraints mean that visits to centres with super powerful microscopes, dry ice, large scale models , super strong magnets and pulleys, can bring small scale science experiences from class to larger than life experiences.
So, get to the science museum in London if you can; it is FAB! And , if you're in the SW check out the Explora website http://www.explorascience.co.uk/index.php