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Resources from Oxford University (mostly)

Hello again,

I thought I'd highlight some  Oxford University activities and resources this week (although I have sneaked in a non Oxford suggestion at the end). 

Oxford Sparks have an enormous collection of different resources for children of all ages with some particularly good resources for older children and young adults. I'd recommend exploring their website to see what is there. There are great interviews with Oxford researchers about their work as well as lots of animations with accompanying educational resources designed for secondary school pupils.  These are divided by key stage and include both teacher information and resources for pupils and are well worth a look (I should confess at this point that I wrote some of these, so am probably more than a little biased!)

If you have younger children, then I'd recommend Just add imagination - which has a range of ideas for experiments you can do at home together with your children as well as links to a diverse range of scientists and their research. I rather like the look of the rock making activity and I'm slightly sad I don't have any crayons at home to give it a go (in the name of research, of course).

Oxplore is a website that is based round questions and often how you feel about a particular subject.  It allows you to find out more information which may (or may not) alter your views and encourages you to think about how and why you think certain things.  So if exploring ideas around questions like 'Is the internet bad?', 'Should you pay everyone the same?' or 'Could you survive a disaster?' sounds intriguing, then give it a go.

Nowadays there are lots of citizen science projects where people can help do research from counting penguins to identifying constellations in old pictorial star maps.  There are many of these around the world, but a good starting place is Oxford University's Zooniverse platform which has a wide range of projects to chose from.

The various University gardens, libraries and museums of Oxford may be closed but many of them have great resources that allow you to explore them or their collections virtually. Do explore the general link above as there is far more than I can mention here. Being a huge egg-laying mammal fan, I particularly liked the hatching platypus activity (dinosaurs also available!) from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (although, again, I'm probably biased as I occasionally volunteer there). Similarly, the Pitt Rivers is an old favourite of mine and although the fire-lighting case is one of my my go-to exhibits when I visit, unsurprisingly this isn't suggested as a 'do it at home' activity! Instead, why not create some shadow puppets (scroll to the bottom of the page for the things to do at home section).

Live science shows (not Oxford University)

Just a quick plug for the live daily science shows at  every weekday morning at 11am packed with interactive quizzes, special cameras, brilliant guests, and plenty of simple activities that families can try at home after the show.  You can also watch them after they've been broadcast and I really liked many of the cardboard creations from the team at Life in Newcastle featuring this week.  The loopy lifter looks like amazing fun.

That's it for this week folks.  If you've been reading these blog entries and finding them even slightly useful, do let me know.  Similarly, if you'd like me to write about something specific do ask me to (I'd be delighted!).  I'd also love to see any photos that you have of you doing any the activities suggested.

Until next week,