Bristol Dinosaur Project Education Programme Evaluation

The Bristol Dinosaur Project is a research and education programme based round the fossilised remains of the dinosaur Thecondontosaurus which were found in a quarry in the Bristol area.

In 2009, the project received Heritage Lottery funding to develop public engagement and schools’ outreach activities. Under this funding, the project has been running schools’ workshops delivered by the project’s Learning Officer, Ed Drewitt with the assistance of postgraduate students from the University of Bristol School of Earth Sciences.

Our evaluation looked at the success of these workshops through focus groups, debrief sessions, direct observation and teacher feedback questionnaires and made recommendations for future roll-outs of the workshops.

Options Research for London 2012

The Wellcome Trust commissioned Graphic Science to conduct a small options research study to generate ideas for a potential partnership with the Steve Redgrave Fund, to coincide with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The proposed project should satisfy the aims of the Wellcome Trust, the Steve Redgrave Fund and Sport Relief and should use sport as a mechanism to motivate disadvantaged young people with biomedical science.

Desk research carried out by Graphic Science included: an analysis of documents provided by the Wellcome Trust (including evaluations of previous Steve Redgrave Fund projects); telephone and email conversations with stakeholders; and internet research to discover activity currently taking place during London 2012, and how PE departments and community sports networks are currently coordinated.

Informed by their research, Graphic Science submitted six ideas to the Wellcome Trust and the Steve Redgrave Fund.

Investigate-UK Evaluation

Investigate-UK was an outreach project developed by At-Bristol and the Science Learning Centre (SLC) South West.

An Investigate-UK exhibit into liquid friction. From the Forces set.

The project aimed to pilot an integrated approach to providing enriched learning opportunities for investigation at Key Stages 2 and 3. Together At-Bristol and SLC South West developed three sets of engaging and robust ‘table top’ interactive exhibits, designed specifically with Scientific Enquiry in mind. These were developed as a direct response to repeated teacher requests for additional help in delivering Sc1 skills to students. Between August 2007 and January 2008, Investigate-UK piloted a model of rolling out the three sets of eight interactive exhibits (Energy, Forces and Structures), to schools in Bristol, Winchester and Cornwall.

We provided an independent evaluation, which was on-going throughout the project. We attended consortium meetings throughout the process to feedback findings and inform development of the project and, in order to achieve consistency, we designed evaluation materials and observation protocols for use by all members of the evaluating team.

Data was gathered via observations, unstructured and semi-structured interviews, pupil questionnaires, and a telephone survey with teachers. We also authored a case study of best practice which could be used in marketing of the project.

After School Science and Engineering Clubs Evaluation

In 2007, the Centre for Science Education (CSE) at Sheffield Hallam University was engaged to evaluate the After School Science and Engineering Clubs, organised by STEMNET. CSE asked us to evaluate those schools with clubs in the South West.

A dome used as the focal point for one of the after school science and engineering clubs.

We selected three schools in Cornwall, Gloucester and The Cotswolds with whom to arrange visits. Research involved in-situ observations and interviews with both students and teachers, along with the collection of visual evidence. Our findings were used to inform case studies of best practice, which new after school clubs could then use as a model for development. We were asked to produce case studies of best practice for the After School Science and Engineering Clubs (ASSEC) programme.

The case studies produced continue to be used today by the STEM Clubs and STEM Ambassadors programmes.