The Catalyst Saturday Science Club meets on the second Saturday of each month.
The science club, based in Widnes, is run for young people aged between 11 and 16 who enjoy science and want the opportunity to explore more than they could usually do in school.
The education team invites a range of real life scientists to come along and share their work or favourite science experiments or even their pet project with the group. The best session are when we get ‘hands on’ and can experience the fun of science through experimentation.
Towards the end of 2007 it became obvious that the group was getting very large and the older ones were not leaving when they reached 14. As there was a limited number of places we made the decision to split the group into two : 11 – 13 and 14+.
The younger group still runs on the original principle of a guest speaker and hands-on fun but the older group explores specific areas of science at a deeper level over a few months.
Sponsorship from SCI has meant that we can continue to offer the club for free to anyone who signs up – this is extremely important to the Education team as we are passionate about involving local children who often would not come to something they had to pay for. The club is the only event at Catalyst that children can come to unsupervised by an adult – the education team work extra hours to ensure proper supervision. The picture shows Mike Pitts from the Liverpool and North West group presenting a cheque to Sue Halliday, the head of Catalyst's education department.
We can also invite speakers from further afield and offer travel expenses and organise any resources they might need.
The older group have been able to buy robot kits, chemistry equipment and the latest Robolab kits which will allow them to program and create some exciting robots.
Part of the agreement between Catalyst and SCI is that the club will act as a platform for emerging scientists to share their experiences with the public in a safe and controlled environment. The Catalyst staff are on hand to help and to encourage participation from the young people and should there be a need, to maintain order!
The average attendance at the younger group is 20 with 15 in the older age group.
Without the sponsorship of SCI it would be impossible to offer this level of experience to such a number of young people.