EVER wondered which ice-cream melts the fastest, what material would make a good parachute for Batman or whether bigger snails are faster than smaller ones?

Science Oxford is encouraging interested young minds to take their curiosity one step further and take part in its Big Science Event at Home.

All children need to do is come up with a question that they really want to find the answer to, design and carry out an investigation that might help them answer it – and share what they discover.

Aimed at families with young children at home, the aim of the event is to celebrate curiosity and creativity and have fun with science.

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Investigations can be on any topic covering such hot topics as which soap is the best to use when you have to wash your hands a lot? Which bag for life is the strongest? Which seeds grow fastest? Or which garden bird sings the loudest?

Youngsters can work on their own or with their family, with a friend via Zoom or as part of a group at school. Findings can be shared in a short film, photos, poster, short report or a set of slides.

All entries must be sent to judges by July 13.

Prizes include £500 worth of Playforce play equipment for the winner’s school, 25 subscriptions to The Curiosity Box, and tickets to the Science Oxford Centre in Headington, when it reopens.

Bridget Holligan, Director of Education and Engagement at Science Oxford said: “Thanks to funding from the Evolution Education Trust, we are launching the Big Science Event at Home to enable families in lockdown and pupils at school to enjoy the creativity and challenge of doing their own science investigations.

“Science Oxford is passionate about making people feel at home with science and we know from the Big Science Event we’ve run for schools over the last 10 years what a difference it makes to young people when you let them follow their own ideas and interests.

“We will provide lots of guidance and resources to support people and we’re really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.”

Banbury Cake:

Dr Chris Lennard, head of the Evolution Education Trust, said: “The Big Science Event at Home will inspire young people into science by helping them use rigorous scientific enquiry to better understand the world around them.

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“The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the important role that parents and carers play in complementing formal education, and this event will encourage and support STEM learning within the family environment. The Evolution Education Trust is proud to support this innovative hands-on science programme.”

Banbury Cake:

Oscar Sorabjee, Director of Play Services at Playforce, said: “We have been supporting the Big Science Event every year for many years now and so we were delighted to be able to continue to do this and encourage children to have fun with science in a slightly different way this year. We can’t wait to see all of the investigations that children come up with at home with their families!”

Lockdown has severely impacted children’s access to experiential learning by taking them out of the classroom and removing access to clubs and activities. Parents are now taking a larger role in how their children learn and supporting and extending what teachers are providing on-line. During this period Science Oxford continues to support families and teachers in school with opportunities for science learning – that’s why we are launching the Big Science Event at Home. We hope that it will give children the opportunity to learn about scientific enquiry and see science as something creative and fun.”

The competition is based on the popular Big Science Event at School run by Science Oxford.

More than 16,000 pupils from 94 schools across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire took part in the Big Science Event last year.

See scienceoxford.com