Connect Physics

Connect Physics is a set of three workshops for Key Stage 3 science students which answer the questions:

  • What is physics?
  • Why do physics?
  • How do we do physics?

The workshops are suitable for students of all science abilities. The workshops encourage students to think of the bigger picture through connecting different ideas, such as topics from KS3 science, the latest physics research or their everyday lives. They are able to find out about careers that are available after studying physics and they are given a chance to develop their skills using the scientific method and the peer-review process by tackling an open-ended problem with no given solution.

By the end of the workshops all students should start to realise that:

  • Anyone can do physics.
  • Physics is exciting, relevant & important; it goes beyond the classroom.
  • Studying physics further broadens career possibilities.

To book Connect Physics at your school, please get in touch with Erin McNeill, Physics Outreach Officer, at e.mcneill@leeds.ac.uk.

If you are looking to deliver the workshops yourself, you can register as a user.

Please note that we may not be able to deliver the workshops to your school as we have a limited numbers of schools they can work with as we will prioritise schools based on local Widening Participation requirements, along with other indicators. If you are looking to deliver the workshops, please register as a user at the link above.

Why three workshops?

For many years SEPnet has been delivering one-off workshops with many schools. Sadly these workshops had very little long-term impact with students, especially those that hadn’t already identified science as a pathway to their future career.

Multiple visits allows us to still be that exciting external visitor, but often enough that students should remember the workshops and be able to link the three.

The workshops are based on the recommendations from the ASPIRES research. The workshops have been developed by Science Theatre on behalf of South East Physics Network (SEPnet)

What is the format of the workshops?

Each workshop fits into a 45 to 60 minute science lessons. If you lessons are slightly shorter or longer, please let us know beforehand so the workshops can be altered.

Ideally the workshops would be delivered one a term, across the year, to the same students. However timetabling is never easy, so arrangements can be made to deliver the sessions across one term as well.

Each workshop will be delivered by the same Physics Outreach Officer throughout the year, or one of their experienced and fully trained Undergraduate Ambassadors.

What are the curriculum links?

The Connect Physics workshops supplement the KS3 Science Curriculum. KS3 science presents students with a very large number of ideas. With so many ideas to get through, science can sometimes be interpreted by students as a collection of singular concepts.

Connect Physics is designed to bring these ideas together, Connect them through physics. Not only Connect the ideas within the science curriculum, but take these ideas and Connect them with aspects of everyday life that students will be familiar with; Connect these ideas with careers and pathways to get there; Connect ideas with the methods of carrying out science.

These workshops help relate ideas in KS3 science to phenomena in the world around them, bring in connections between different subject areas, connect KS3 science ideas to the big ideas at the forefront of physics research and introduces the idea of modelling and peer review to develop and evaluate explanation, all key components and skills-building that work alongside all of the KS3 Science National Curriculum.

Have these workshops been tested and evaluated?

The workshops and their content have been tested throughout the South-East in over thirty different schools. This testing forms part of a wider evaluation process which included focus groups with Key Stage 3 students and teachers. The results of this evaluation can be found here.