School of Physics and Astronomy

Connect Physics

Connect Physics is a set of three workshops primarily for Key Stage 3 science students, though they can be used for older groups up to adults as well. They answer the questions:

What is physics?
Why do physics?
How do we do physics?

The workshops are suitable for students of medium-high science abilities. The workshops encourage students to think of the bigger picture through connecting different ideas, such as familiar topics from science, the latest physics research or their everyday lives, through physics; find out about careers that are possible through studying physics; and get a chance to develop their skills using the scientific method and peer-review process through an open-ended problem with no presented final solution.

Details on each of the workshops can be found in our Connect Physics Teacher Information [PDF 739KB].

Format of the workshops & Booking

Each workshop fits into a 45 to 60 minute science lessons. If your lessons are slightly shorter or longer, please let us know beforehand so the workshops can be altered. Each workshop will be delivered by our experienced and fully trained Undergraduate Ambassadors. Ideally the workshops would be delivered one a term, across the year, to the same students. However timetabling is never easy!

Connect Physics allocations for 2019/2020 are now closed

Note that we may not be able to deliver the workshops to your school as we have a limited numbers of schools that we can work with. Schools will be prioritised based on Widening Participation requirements, distance from QMUL, and other indicators.

SEPnet have also developed the workshops as a teacher resource so all schools can access them. You can register for them here.

Why three workshops?

For many years QMUL and other partner universities across SEPnet have been delivering one-off workshops with many schools. Sadly these workshops had very little long-term impact with students, especially those that hadn’t already identified science as a pathway to their future career. Instead SEPnet is now focusing on fewer schools, instead having a greater number of interactions with the students from those schools. Once a term allows us to still be that exciting external visitor, but often enough that students should remember the workshops and be able to link the three.

By the end of the workshops all students should start to realise that:

  • Anyone can do physics.
  • Physics is exciting, relevant & important; it goes beyond the classroom.
  • Studying physics further broadens career possibilities.

The workshops have been developed using the ASPIRES research. The workshops are designed to maintain and grow the science capital of the students that take part. For those with medium science capital, these workshops should encourage them to view STEM as a pathway to a potential career, for those with high science capital, they will be encouraged to think specifically about physics.

The workshops have been developed by Science Theatre on behalf of SEPnet.

Links to Curriculum 

The Connect Physics workshops supplement the KS3 Science Curriculum. KS3 science presents students with a very large number of ideas. With so many ideas to get through, science can sometimes be interpreted by students as a collection of singular concepts.

Connect Physics is designed to bring these ideas together, Connect them through physics. Not only Connect the ideas within the science curriculum, but take these ideas and Connect them with aspects of everyday life that students will be familiar with; Connect these ideas with careers and pathways to get there; Connect ideas with the methods of carrying out science.

These workshops help relate ideas in KS3 science to phenomena in the world around them, bring in connections between different subject areas, connect KS3 science ideas to the big ideas at the forefront of physics research and introduces the idea of modelling and peer review to develop and evaluate explanation, all key components and skills-building that work alongside all of the KS3 Science National Curriculum.

Testing and Evaluation

The workshops and their content have been tested throughout the South-East in over thirty different schools. This testing forms part of a wider evaluation process which included focus groups with Key Stage 3 students and teachers. The results of this evaluation so far are available here.

Please contact SEPnet if you would like more general information about Connect Physics.