These are the questions we get asked most often when teachers are enquiring about a booking.
Err.. what is a science show exactly?
Our science shows are normally delivered by a single, enthusiastic presenter and they engage a large group of pupils with exciting science demonstrations and a variety of audience involvement activities. They are highly interactive presentations, using volunteers and constant exchanges with the audience.
What area do you cover with your outreach shows?
We work with schools across Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, at the moment, we are unable to present shows in schools in the Republic of Ireland and mainland UK because of the distances involved for one-off bookings. We do, however, present outside NI at festivals and events where we have a longer run of consecutive bookings in the same area.
Which age groups do you offer shows for?
We have shows designed for Foundation, KS 1, 2 and 3. We can adapt some of our shows for older audiences or for special needs groups if required.
We have found that the shows work best if audiences are restricted to within an age range of three years in primary schools, and within a year group in post-primary schools.
Which shows are available for each age group?
The shows available for each age group are described here. More shows will be added each year.
How long are the shows?
Foundation stage show tend to be 30 minutes, key Stage 1 shows 40 minutes, and Key Stage 2 and 3 shows are 60 minutes long.
Other timings to be aware of when planning the show timetable – we need 60 minutes in the performance area to set-up the shows, and about 40 minutes to pack up; turn-around time for the same show is a minimum of 10 minutes, and to set-up a different show is at least 30 minutes.
How many pupils can attend each show?
The demonstrations and shows are designed to accommodate a maximum of 120 pupils. With larger audiences than this we have found that, without tiered seating, the pupils struggle to see properly and they do not feel as involved in the show. Also, the intimate and interactive nature of the performance is damaged.
How much do the shows cost?
From as little as a £1 per pupil (+VAT), but the full prices are outlined here.
Is the content of the shows accurate and age-appropriate?
Ok, you’re all far too polite to ask this directly, but we appreciate that these are vital concerns for any teacher.
The content of our shows is very carefully researched and developed. Also, our presenters are chosen because of their ability to relate well to pupils of different ages and to be able to pitch their explanations accessibly for each group in front of them. The interactive nature of our shows means they also need to able to respond spontaneously to the questions which arise in the audience. You can find out what other teachers think of our shows, and more about our educational philosophy.
What kind of performance space do you need?
Most of our shows take place in the school hall/gym/ dinner area. We prefer to present from the floor on the same level as the pupils. For primary shows we recommend that the pupils sit on the floor; and for post-primary shows, rows of chairs facing the longer-wall of the hall work best.
Stair-free access to the space is important because of the way our props and equipment are transported.
What else do we need to provide?
We bring almost everything we need for the show. All we usually require you to provide is access to two electrical sockets, a couple of 6-foot tables and … an audience. We don’t even insist that you remove the brown M&Ms from the hall (ask us to explain when we arrive, or if you can’t wait, click here)
How do you ensure the performances are as safe as possible?
All of our demonstrations and activities are subject to rigorous risk assessment, both in developing the show and dynamically during the performance at each venue. Written risk assessments are available on request.
Our presenters have public liability insurance for up to £5 million.
How can we create the best environment for pupils to benefit from the shows?
Our shows are presented in an informal and interactive atmosphere, and because pupils tend to enjoy the shows very much, control issues are thankfully relatively rare.
As you know, teachers are legally responsible for the care of their pupils, and we require at least two teachers to be present throughout the show. Having said this, our presenters are thoroughly trained in large-group management, and they will expect to manage the behaviour of the audience themselves, unless in exceptional circumstances.
We also find that teachers enjoy the shows, and the more interest they can demonstrate, the more powerful the experience is for their pupils.
When and how do you expect payment?
An invoice will be emailed to you immediately after the visit and payment is by cheque or electronic transfer within 30 days. If you prefer, we can email the invoice in advance of the visit to facilitate payment on the day.
What if we have to cancel or re-arrange a visit?
We understand that very occasionally circumstances arise within a school which mean that you need to cancel or re-arrange a visit. We don’t believe in holding people to cast-iron cancellation policies. All we ask is that contact us as soon as you reasonably can.
What if you have to re-arrange a visit?
Equally, learn differently is a small organisation and exceptional circumstances may arise which mean we have to postpone a visit. For example, presenter illness, extreme weather, and vehicle accident or breakdown. We can assure you that we always ensure that “the show must go on” whenever we physically can, and will we seek to re-arrange any postponed bookings as soon as possible.
Enough with all the questions, just tell me how to make a booking.
We thought you’d never ask. Find the simple steps to making a booking here.