By London Local Section
To celebrate one hundred years of The Optical Society, the London Local Section launched an Optics Discovery Programme for London schools. Through our prior outreach work with the local community, we had identified that some schools lack resources to teach optics in an exciting and engaging way, which encouraged us to develop a new scheme to inspire teachers and students using the power of light.
We felt that the greatest impact could be achieved by working directly with schools and teachers, as by providing resources and experience to them, the benefits could be felt by future students over many years. The Optical Society generously provided sixty ‘Explore Optics’ kits and resources to catalyse our work showcasing how to explore optics through hands-on classroom experiments, and relating the underlying phenomena to important technologies in our day-to-day lives.
Our initiative started with discussion groups with local teachers, helping us to map our planned optics experiments to key curriculum areas, and promoting the OSA Centennial through OSA100 material to show the wealth of educational resources offered by OSA. Local Chapter members delivered various workshops to local schools, integrating the hands-on experiments into sessions such as ‘Optics and the Internet’ and ‘Quantum Information’, which received positive feedback and more rewardingly: questions regarding optics careers. Finally, we hosted a ‘Workshop on Optics and Photonics’ for teachers at the Capital Physics Annual Conference, including an interactive session to demonstrate optical experiments that could be recreated in the class room and giving away the ‘Explore Optics’ kits. This also introduced our relatively new OSA Local Section as an approachable community body of resources and experiences to the benefit of local schools, and work continues as we develop a new ‘teacher membership’ of the Local Section.
We thank OSA for the Centennial Special Events Grant which enabled these activities and as the year draws to a close, we look forward to continuing to work with our school partners to continue OSA’s legacy by celebrating and promoting the science of light.
Posted: 1 December 2016 by
London Local Section
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