On a secret mission, our team of spies was captured. Now they must use science to escape. Can you help?
Operation: Science Rescue is a new initiative in live science shows, that allows viewers to interact and impact the show, even when they are not in the same room.
The show is themed around an escape room, where viewers vote from their device to select what the spy investigates, which experiments to perform, and what path the spy will take to escape the room. All the experiments come with additional "Case Notes" for the viewers to access to learn more about the scientific background and find examples of similar experiments they can perform in their own house.
The script, decision tree, experiment instructions, and safety guidelines are available to all demonstrators online so they can lead the show from wherever they are. The show is hosted on the Google Classroom platform using the Pear Deck Extension, making it secure and accessible for school children.
This project utilises existing collaboration technologies in exciting new ways. We are harnessing Google Classroom as a live-streaming resource to be able to show the demonstrators in real time and using the free Pear Deck extension to allow students to vote from their devices and the demonstrator to see the results.
We are also using collaborative work platforms like Google Docs and Miro for demonstrators to be able to work together to plan their sessions.
Finding enough experiments that directly fitted together was tough as we wanted each element of the story to offer a choice and have a function at a later point in time.
Additionally, finding ways to explain the scientific principles behind the experiments in terms that kids could understand without giving up accuracy or making it seem like we are talking down to them. Overall, the pitching of this project was probably the most difficult thing to determine.
We started with this project completely from scratch, so we are most proud of being able to go from nothing to having managed to work out how this would happen, determine and test a suitable platform, and create all the required resources for this to go ahead.
We are also proud of how well we worked as a group. This project had no proposer present so we didn't have anyone to refer to and we just had to all contribute to the planning and execution of the challenge.
We have all learned more about working in a team, and working across the difficulty of multiple time zones.
We have also all learned more about planning and the practicalities of live science shows, and the safety of doing this at home. Many of us used the platform Pear Decks for the first time during this weekend and learned how that can be used in an interactive learning setting.
The next steps would be to finalise all the resources and make them into a proper pack available for use. We also discussed utilising Instagram as a platform for informal live science shows to get greater engagement from teenagers and be able to present the format in a more familiar, more public space so anyone could join in with it. Additionally, the activity would have to be pilot tested with a focus group to finalise the design before deploying the show.
Furthermore, all of the documents available are right now in English, one of the next steps after packs are complete will be making them available in different languages, so we can engage with more presenters and audiences.
Ultimately, being able to produce more shows like this one with different experiments would be excellent, and having an online hub like a website to make this accessible to everyone across the world would be a future goal.