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IOP goes science busking at Culpeper Community Garden

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Last week we brought science to Culpeper Community Gardens in Islington to enthral and entertain children living in the local community in the run-up to our move to the new office in 2018.

On the sunny afternoon  of 18 August, dozens of kids and their parents were wowed by physics demonstrations carried out by our public programmes manager Toby Shannon, and regional officer for London and the South East Dr Olivia Keenan, and gathered around our table to learn how to:

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The enthusiasm of everyone creating light-up cards prompted more curious kids and adults to come over and have a go themselves, and all who took part took their card home with them.

Managed by local people for the community, Culpeper Community Garden is both a city park and an environmental community project that allows people from all backgrounds to enjoy the space, and for local children to learn more about wildlife and preserving the environment.

One of the mothers told us that during these summer holidays: “I’ve found it very hard to entertain the kids. Then I found this place last week and now they want to come every day. It may just be three hours a day, but it’s getting them out of the house to do something.”

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Culpeper is one of the local community projects we were keen to work with to engage with families and spark their interest in science, and Garden worker Martha felt that bringing our physics demos has made a positive impact.

She said: “I think it’s great and there have been so many kids excited to take part, and they might not have had encountered these sort of things, so it’s really exciting and it’s bringing a whole new area of knowledge to the garden outside of what we could normally offer.”

Olivia said that: “It’s really important to connect with local people and show them the importance of physics and sciences to our society. I think sometimes you can go through schools, but if the child doesn’t have a really enthusiastic teacher you’re not going to reach them, whereas if you can reach through the parents, that gets down to the children and it’s a really powerful way to engage them.”