Ever wanted to get a science club up and running at your school, club or even your home and don’t know where to start?
Already run a science club in a volunteer capacity but need extra support? Fizzics Education has been running science clubs for years and has created a viable model that can not only help you deliver a science club in any location across Australia but also employ you to do so.
Informal science clubs are a fantastic way to get science technology engineering and maths (STEM) experiences to students in a creative way and many parents are looking for avenues for their kids to participate. A science club is affordable; with the cost of after school care increasing it is actually cheaper to send kids to a science club than to have them attend an Out of School Hours Centre, plus the hosting school or library can use the funds raised from room hire to buy much needed science equipment for student use in formal lessons.
Running a science club with Fizzics can also benefit you as a club leader, as this activity could be used as part of Teacher Identified Professional Development for new scheme teachers maintaining accreditation at the level of professional competence. Lesson plans, risk assessments and full insurances are already prepared and there is room within the budget to cover setup costs and ongoing consumables
To get involved all you have to be is a teacher, science communicator or an interested scientist that wants to run these of an afternoon straight after school or alternatively in a designated room during lunchtimes. Fizzics Education is also interested in engaging suitably qualified retirees who wish to supplement their income with a rewarding activity. Working with children checks and first aid certificates are of course an important part of the process.
There are two versions of science club offered by Fizzics, both of which have hundreds of lessons available.
1. Face to face science club
This club is run on the grounds of schools primarily, however any scout or girl guide hall, rotary club or similar can have it operate too. With a set minimum cost of $280 inc. GST to run the program the funds cover:
- Development costs
- Staff and insurance costs
- Equipment and consumables
- First aid materials
- A stipend to the school or similar to hire the site
- Administration, insurance and business systems costs
This science clubs is designed to be run by one club leader with support by at least one parent helper or a similar.
The clubs can support up to 20 children with one club leader or up to 30 students if two club leaders are engaged with a small extra fee to cover the extra staffing.
Find out more: www.fizzicseducation.com.au
2. Video conferencing science club
Fizzics Education also can run science clubs directly from their head office through the use of web conferencing. By simply connecting a laptop or tablet to a TV, interactive whiteboard or data projector your students can work in real time with one of the science communicators at Fizzics Education.
Basically take the above situation and transfer this into a digital medium; students can still run their own experiments and ask questions of the science communicator only in this case the presenter is not physically in the room. In this case the cost drops per site to $150 inc. GST as one of their staff can run it directly from our office and support up to 3 remote classes at the same time. The costs cover:
- Development costs
- Fizzics presenter and insurance costs
- Internet costs and web conferencing room fees
- Video conference system payments and room lease
- Administration, insurance and business system costs
- First aid supplies
- Training and support of each remote site leader
The materials used are easily accessible even in remote regions and are of low cost so that each site does not have a large financial burden. It is irrelevant where the sites are; some sites could be running in their lounge room where as other run it in a library or school.
Last year Fizzics Education ran two pilot programs in partnership with Sydney Olympic Park Authority and the GWS Giants (see video here). The first program had two schools in Western Sydney and one in Casino through the GWS Indigenous Academy and the second program involved Blacktown library, Auburn library and Hurstville Gallery & Museum. This videoconference science club has also been run in the morning to USA schools as the time difference works out perfectly. Find out more about Fizzics science clubs
Recently Fizzics has taken its science club model to China! Find out how Australian science is being received in China and what the experience has been like for the Australian science communicators involved in this project.
About the author
Ben Newsome is the Director of Fizzics Education. Please get in touch with Holly Kershaw or Justine Bellamy on 1300 856 828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Inspiring Australia is also developing alternative models for science clubs that will be released later in the year.