21st Avon Sci Tech Annual Meeting

21st Avon Sci Tech Annual Meeting
The 21st Avon Sci Tech annual meeting was held at Broadlands Academy on
Thursday 2nd July 9.00am – 3.00pm.
210 Science technicians from 112 schools/colleges in the West of England and South
Wales attended.
Dean Anderson – Principle of Broadlands Academy gave a warm welcome to
everyone. He spoke about the school and the 21 years the meeting had been held
there. He commented on the technicians’ important contribution to the running of
school departments and hoped everyone would enjoy their day and take away lots of
new ideas.
The first speaker was Stewart Rowden from the Avon Bat Group. The title “Bats=
Arghh! No, Bats = WOW!!! He gave an interesting talk on the educational value of
bats which could cover a lot of topics in the sciences eg. Habitat, food chains,
hibernation, echo location, flight, aerodynamics to name just a few. He spoke about
the different types of bats and a series of experiments on echo location. Bats were
good for the environment and pollination and should not be portrayed as evil.
The second speaker was Steve Jones the Director of CLEAPSS. He gave an
entertaining but worrying talk on “What Price Practical Work”
He spoke about all the changes that were coming to science GCSEs and A levels. He
was very concerned about the introduction of exam questions on just a few named
experiments and wondered how wide this was to be. He explained how the pressure
on schools to obtain good exam results could lead to a narrowing of science education
by just doing the exam experiments with less funding and support. The current joined
up approach could be lost.
The third presenter was Keith Gibbs with “The Spinning Jelly at Broadlands”. Keith
explained how most of his demonstrations were done with everyday items such as
forks, glasses, raisins, lemonade etc. He invited some technicians to participate in a
wide range of activities such the disappearing glass tube in a flask to tug of war in the
aisles. Keith has provided wonderful support to the technician meetings over the years
and had stepped in to cover a cancelled workshop.
During the day there was an opportunity to speak to many suppliers who give
financial contributions to the group to help with costs of the event
There were stands promoting the work of the ASE, Royal Society of Chemistry,
CLEAPSS, Bugfest and the Avon Bat Group also book displays.
In the afternoon 12 different workshops ran for 2 one hour sessions, including the
suppliers and other presentations from Earth Science ; 2 from the Institute of Physics
; 2 from the University of Reading ; ASE ; Bugfest and Keith Gibbs .