10 must-see school holiday science events and exhibitions

If you’re looking for something different to do this Easter holiday, have a read of our 10 must-see science events and exhibitions.

There’s something to suit all tastes, whether you’re fascinated by robots, dream of becoming an astronaut or love nothing more than a game of Pong. Find out what pop-up science events, interactive activities, talks, demos and exhibitions are happening near you…

UK-wide 

The story of a scientific rebel: your local community
Have you heard of Lynn Margulis? She was a scientific rebel who in the 1960s challenged the conventional theory about how life evolved on Earth – and was ridiculed by the male establishment for it. Filmmaker John Feldman has travelled the world to meet Margulis’ colleagues and make a film about her. Called Symbiotic Earth, it’s available for screenings in universities and communities around the world. To request a viewing where you live, contact Bullfrog Films.

Power, robots and bugs: Explore an EDF Energy Visitor Centre
You won’t just learn about how we produce energy when you pop into our visitor centres this school holiday… You’ll also get the chance to make the most of the spring weather and explore the local wildlife. There are all sorts of different daily activities taking place: take your pick from creating an eco-friendly bottle garden, building a Star Wars Droid™ robot or seeking out Easter eggs...We have eight visitor centres across the UK and all their activities are free – find out more on Visitor Centre pages and be sure to book in advance – spaces fill up quickly.

Scotland

Life, the Universe and Everything: Edinburgh International Science Festival
There is so much to see and do during this two-week festival exploring ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ that you’ll want to set aside some time before 31 March to bookmark your favourite events. From pop-up science activities to interactive exhibitions, immersive theatre performances to cutting-edge scientific debate… There’s something for all tastes and ages: build a Droid™ using littleBits kits, explore how life came to be on earth, wander through a low-carbon village of the future and help a lone astronaut survive in space. Plus: there are some truly inspiring female scientists in attendance this year – including renowned astronomer Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell – so get in quick for any ticketed events to avoid missing out. 

North England 

Chocolate and gas: Life Science Centre, Newcastle
It wouldn’t be Easter without chocolate, and at the Life Science Centre this school holiday you can learn the science behind why we love the stuff so much. Also taking place in the Centre’s Science Theatre is a show called The Secret World of Gases. Discover lots of interesting facts – did you know that air can become a liquid, for instance? – and take part in some gas-fuelled activities over the weekend of 7-8 April.

Follow in Tim Peake’s footsteps: Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
For six months, the UK’s first official astronaut, Tim Peake, communicated with us from space – even joining in the London Marathon from 220 miles away – before crashing back down to Earth to a hero’s welcome! For a limited time, you can see his spacecraft up close – complete with scorch marks from its re-entry through the atmosphere! – along with Peake’s spacesuit, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

Wales

Exploding science: The Big Bang Fair South Wales 2018
The Big Bang Fair explodes into Parc Y Scarlets, LLanelli on Thursday 19 April, with a huge assortment of interactive exhibits, science shows, and hands-on activities – plus all sorts of scientists and engineers ready to share their experiences and give advice on pursuing a career in these fields. So, whether you fancy racing your own cardboard car, playing the LEGO maze game, building your own version of the Severn Bridge or learning how to decode a fingerprint, you can jam it all into this one-day show. Pre-booking is essential for some activities – visit the website to register your attendance.

South-West England

Sounds interesting: Winchester Science Centre
Listen up! Winchester Science Centre is set to amaze its visitors using audio this Easter holiday. There will be pop-up sound demonstrations, weird and wonderful visualisations of music, unusual instruments on display and the chance to create your own sound inventions in the Invention Studio. Live science shows, demonstrations and activities are included within your admission price – pre-booking is recommended.

London and South-East

Game on: London’s Science Museum
Hit play and fast forward to one of the best gaming exhibitions around… Power UP is back for a third year at the Science Museum in London, boasting 180 consoles from the past 40 years. Whether you’re a fan of Pacman, Minecraft or Mario, you’ll get the chance to try out all the retro favourites, join in multiplayer showdowns and sample some of the latest virtual reality experiences.

Forgotten women: Brewhouse Gallery, Woodstock
Head to this exhibition in Oxfordshire to discover 14 forgotten ‘trowelblazers’ whose contributions to archaeology, paleontology and geology helped pave the way for today’s earth scientists. In recognition of their valuable contribution, the 14 female scientists from the past – like dinosaur hunter Mary Anning and Egyptian expert Margaret Murray – are represented in beautifully shot photographs by their modern-day counterparts: women like Dr Lorna Steel, Senior Curator in Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum; and polar scientist, Jane Francis. The exhibition runs in Oxford from 21 March to 20 April, before heading to the Atrium Gallery in Bournemouth from 30 April to 22 June.

Online activities 

Inspiration from your living room: Download a TED talk
If you’ve not yet discovered TED, you’re in for a treat. These 18-minute talks – usually presented at breakneck speed – were initially about technology, entertainment and design, but now you can find an online TED talk on pretty much any subject. TED2018 kicks off on 10 April in Vancouver – and there are several inspiring female scientists taking to the stage. Ones to watch include YouTuber Simone Giertz, who uses robotics technology to automate everything in the world around her – from brushing her teeth to bartending! And Karen Meecher, who has one of the coolest jobs on the planet: investigating if there’s life on Mars. Join the 9 million subscribers of TED Talks via their YouTube channel or download the TED Talks app from your app store.  

Pretty Curious avatar builder and quiz
For those school holiday days when you’re stuck indoors, use your creativity skills to design an avatar of your future self. Will you be an app developer? Architect? Or what about a biotechnologist? If you want to explore careers further, try our personality quiz to discover what science career best matches your interests. You might be surprised by the results! 

This blog post comes from Pretty Curious, our programme to help teenage girls discover more about careers in the ‘STEM’ subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). We have quizzes and tools to help you explore different careers options, and videos and interviews with women working in these areas to give you an insight into their daily lives.

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