Day: March 11, 2008

Science at work – Blue Fusion 2008

I’ve previously written about the annual Blue Fusion event that we run as part of National Science and Engineering Week at IBM’s Hursley Lab in the UK. It is one of the highlights of my year… I have been volunteering to help host school groups and run activities for a number of years now and I never fail to enjoy the time I spend on it.

Blue Fusion HostAs a volunteer, you get to choose to either host a school for the day and stay with a single group, or host an activity and see the various different teams that come around during the day. Both options have their own advantages. Yesterday I took a wonderful group around all day, so I had an opportunity to get to know the students, and also to see the whole range of activities that my colleagues have invented. Today, I spent all day on a single activity and got to meet all of the groups (well, to be fair, half of the groups, since there are two “instances” of this activity and someone else is hosting the other one). Being with one group all day definitely has the advantage of getting to know the students well and being part of the team. Seeing all the different groups though, you get to see how the teams interact and behave, which is a whole separate stream of interest.

(side note: you also get a nice badge and a t-shirt)

No monkeys this year… but we do got rubber ducks, which is a bonus.

As usual, the activities are a great mix of practical and computer-based tasks. Without giving too much away… one involves an articulated biomechanical arm (plus the aforementioned rubber ducks), and learning about muscle groups. There are some game-based activities too… the DTMF telephone game I ran today, an activity where the students have to run a taxi company, remote-controlled cars delivering medicine around a 3D body maze… it’s all great fun. The feedback we had yesterday was really good and it’s great to see the students enjoying themselves.