How to create a great SciFest activity

Here are some tips on how to create a good activity based on your research.

Behind this advice are museum educators Leif Hallsén and Cecilia Ödman from Museum Gustavianum, who are part of the project group working on SciFest 2024.

Bilden visar en forskare med provrör och vätska, som han visar upp för några intresserade barn.

En aktivitet som når fram är stimulerande för alla.

1. Decide the purpose of your workshop

What do you want the students to learn? You probably have a lot you want to convey and explain, but the students cannot learn or do everything during a workshop. Choose first, and then focus on your choice!

2. Determine your target audience

Think about which target group your workshop would be most suitable for – younger or older students? If you are unsure, you could test run the activity with some children before you decide.

3. Think simple

Create a relatively "simple" workshop with few steps. This makes it easier for the students but also for you. If it’s not too complicated, then there is less that can go wrong.

4. Don't talk too much

It can be difficult for students to stay focused at Fyrishov, with everything that is going on around them. So try not to talk for too long!

5. Activate the participants

Try to activate the students as early and as much as possible. This does not have to mean that the students are always doing something purely physical or practical. You can, for example, give the students short questions or tasks they must solve through discussion/collaboration.

6. Use simple language

Don't assume students know a lot about your topic, but don't try to explain everything either. It's better that it is a little too easy than way too hard. Before Scifest, feel free to test your ideas on someone you know who is not familiar with your subject.

7. Make sure you finish in time

A workshop is 45-60 minutes, but you never know what will happen. The class could arrive 10 minutes late. In addition, there can be a lot of variation between classes in how long they take to complete an activity or task. Make sure they can finish the workshop in the time available: it is better to finish too soon than to finish before the activity/task has been completed. If the class finishes early, you can add a short extra activity that is not time-sensitive, or you can just let the group leave a little early.

8. Do not work alone

SciFest is great fun, but the days are long and intense, so you need to take breaks. It is also much more fun if there are several of you working together.

9.Be flexible

Things rarely turn out exactly as planned and that's OK. It can also be good to have a plan B in case something doesn't work.

10. You are the greatest asset in your activity

Do not forget that you and your colleagues are the most important asset in your activity. It is to interact with you that the visitors come to SciFest.

11. SciFest is candy-free

It can be tempting to compete for attention with sweets. Unfortunately, the focus is on the candy and the children and young people will pay less attention to the scientists. If you offer something edible, it should be part of the activity.

12. Think carefully about the space available

You can take a tape measure and measure the area you have available even before you start planning. This will give you a realistic idea of the space available.

There are two types of activities:

  • Unbookable non-stop activity, surface2x3m, furnishing one table and two chairs, at least one wall.
  • Bookable workshop, surface 5x5m, furnishing two tables and 16 chairs, two or three walls.


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