Sunday, 2 March 2014

Management "Roller Coaster" theme for College Science Festival

Aptly situated up the curved staircase, through a ninety degree right hander and in the lee of a slow left bend in the upstairs corridor of Royal Holloway's show case conference centre Windsor building, this years Management stand chose the theme of roller coasters to entertain children visiting this popular annual science outreach activity.
Families from around the area, school groups and even the uniformed 1st Egham High Cub pack came onto campus to engage with senior academics and students from the full range of science departments.  One school boy from Gordon's Sandringham house found the maths puzzle workshops particularly interesting. The Cubs have made an annual event of attending during the morning, able to access a wide range of activities for free as Royal Holloway seeks to encourage enthusiasm for studying science. 
The Harry Potter theme saw an interactive display of beautiful owls, whilst in the I-Robot room, live images of a miniature steam railway, using historic technology, were streamed into a seminar space that allowed participants get hands on with a range of 21st Century IT kit, including a raspberry pi mini-arcade pac-man game and a movement sensitive, mobile phone driven, mindstorms robot hill climb challenge.  With 'sold out' shows (tickets were actually free !) such as seamonsters in the 400 seater auditorium, an alternative village fete using a February friendly indoor location, a treasure hunt and access to the prized Victorian picture gallery (as featured in the most recent Christmas special episode of ITV's Downton Abbey) for talks and an art challenge there was more than enough interest to fill an entire day.
The management stand, staffed by academic and administrative volunteers Laura, Marie, Helen, Sameer, Andy and Justin, offered a big 5 of roller coaster activities designed to appeal to a range of age groups.  For the younger ones, designing a poster to show how it feels to be on a roller coaster and on a corner blanket to use Lego bricks to build coaster trains.  One boy suggested eating ice cream before a ride, because it tastes the same going down and coming up !!   Rather surprisingly many of the images created by children on the feeling of roller coaster comprised of  big, wide grins. (see image right)  Pre-teens were attracted to the laptop based simulators.  Inbetweeners were invited to design a roller coaster theme and offer up ideas for partner Thorpe Park on what children would like to do whilst waiting in their new virtual queuing system. 
A wide range of ideas were collated, such as watching TV, playing with toys (e.g. Lego, Play Doh, Soft Play, puzzle games), eating (pick n mix, coffee, snacks), a ride simulation screen, visiting other rides, benches for sitting down, playing on mobile phones, singing, visiting the toilets, and a live video feed of riders faces. Ideas which will be shared with Education facilitator and Royal Holloway alumni Jack Du Pile. 
MBA Director, Justin O'Brien, who co-ordinated the management stand, said "It was fantastic to see the School of Management join the Super Science Saturday event again.  Volunteering with colleagues to help Royal Holloway offer a free family day out based on stimulating interest in learning underscores the strong sense of community that permeates our campus."