Hi, I’m Katie the main moderator on In the Zone. It’s been great fun getting to know all you scientists, teachers and students and with the event over, it’s time to reflect on everything that’s happened!
The big run up!
This was the first I’m a Scientist event that I’ve moderated on my own, and with it lasting 11 weeks I was a little daunted at first. The initial challenge was finding enough scientists, who fitted into the mind and body in motion theme. After spreading the word to sports institutes and our base of scientists who’ve taken part in previous events, it was great to see so many scientists signing up!
In total we selected 42 scientists, based on their research, one sentence summary and student ratings. Scientists were studying anything from pole vaulting pensioners to growing muscles in the lab.
The next challenge was getting teachers on board. We sent out emails to teachers and got a mention on the In the Zone site. We soon had plenty of teachers signed up and I was particularly happy about the number of primary school teachers for the 7 – 11 Zone, as our previous events have focused on secondary schools.
The calm before the storm…
On the 11th April, scientists’ profiles went live, meaning students could see the scientists for first time. These first scientists didn’t have many live chats or student questions to answer. April and May seemed like a very busy time for schools, with lots of exams, Ofsted visits and curriculum pressures taking priority.
Despite the slow start, I found the first live chats really exciting and students and scientists got a lot out taking part. As teacher Tom Holloway from Westfield Primary School said:
“It was fantastic! The children loved it! We’re all still buzzing!”
Things really picked up towards the end of May and in June live chats were fully booked, questions came flooding in. It seemed like as exams had finished teachers started to have more time to take part.
There was LOTs of work to do during these weeks and the highlight for me, was checking what weird and wonderful questions students had asked overnight. And I felt students really started to make the most of the scientists’ mind and body in motion expertise, including the 40 bone questions in the 7 – 11 Zone, 23 sport questions and 36 brain questions in the 11 – 19 Zone.
Live chats were also pretty intense in June, and scientists definitely stated feeling the heat. As scientist Tess Newman said after a live chat:
“was happy about their keenness – looking forward to questions actually Ooh – got all hot and sweaty now!!”
Reading Liz Nicholson’s report on how much her students enjoyed taking part was amazing, and made all the hard work very worthwhile.
The finish line
Over the 10 weeks, In the Zone scientists had worked very hard to make sure students’ questions got answered and got lots out of live chats. But on July 6th it was time to announce the final 5 scientists, students had voted to be in the final week. It was great to see so many familiar faces. From conversations with scientists in the staffroom and in person, it was clear the pressure was on for the finalists. On the 13th July the votes were in and I got to announce that Alison and Pete were the winners of their zones. It was great to see that all their time and effort had paid off and judging by Alison’s face they were pretty happy! I believe In the Zone has been a success, and as it’s the first time we run such an extended version of the event, we’re now busy evaluating to make sure.
Let us know what you think…
It’d be great if you could let us know any feedback you might have. Whether it’s improvements to the site or general organisation of In the Zone, this will really help us improve future events.