Lightyear Foundation grew out of a project supported by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in April 2010 that took an inflatable planetarium (from the Ghana Planetarium Project) around universities in Ghana. Our focus was on empowering and enthusing teachers “in training” and all varieties of science students, to help them understand that science could lead to great careers, great improvements in all of our lives, and see if we could share some ‘fun’ ways of making science inspiring.
Well received at three different universities, several schools and having presented to over 1000 people in two weeks, we realised our ideas had potential. It wasn’t the tour – it was the message we were spreading. That science could be fun, participatory, and help people answer whatever questions they had.
Now we’re expanding the scope of our projects and have piloted a number of new ones in 2011. Please keep checking back. Do you have ideas? Please let us know!
In our first years we will be working primarily in Ghana but would be keen to hear of other places around the globe where our projects could go next too.
We believe a basic knowledge of science can be used to solve a variety of everyday problems. Many of these ideas can then be commercialised, ensuring sustainable business development and lasting impacts on the community.
We believe in giving people of all ages the skills to be curious about the world around them. Curiosity should have no boundaries.
We believe scientific breakthroughs happen more frequently through collaboration. We see so many potential links between people, institutions, businesses, governments and groups. We all have so much to learn from each other! Among these, we want UK schoolchildren to have the opportunity to partner with overseas schools to solve development challenges.
We believe science should be fun, whatever age! Come to our events, test our experiments and contribute to ‘science for development’.
The Lightyear Foundation is a fully registered UK charity (no. 1150231).
SCIENCE FOR ALL
Lightyear Foundation works to make science education more accessible for children in the UK, so that more children have the opportunity to explore, get excited by, and gain a deeper understanding of science. We help to break down the barriers to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) participation for disabled children, at the same time using science to help them to deal with specific challenges and development issues.
Sensory Science is an immersive, creative sensory experience breaking down the barriers to science participation for disabled children. Led by drama professionals, we use entertaining science experiments as a way to teach life skills. We use space exploration, for example, to help disabled children cope with unexpected outcomes and make choices, while our biology workshop helps familiarise them with medical environments. We are currently exploring how we could address barriers to disabled young people pursuing science careers.
JESSICA BUTLER – SCIENCE TEACHER
“Sensory Science gives all children the chance to children the chance to explore through sensory learning. All too often disabled children are overlooked in this area, with people assuming they will be unable to participate. Yet actually science has a great appeal – particularly when applied practically, as children can begin to learn there is no right or wrong when exploring and things can go wrong, which is fine, a valuable life skill which special needs children often have difficulty with in life. It can even offer a viable career path for some of our children. All special needs students can benefit from Sensory Science. For some it’s a support to what the session is about, for others it’s a reinforcement to further scaffold or consolidate learning.”
BEN PICKETT – SENSORY SCIENCE
“Thank you, we thought it was brilliant! It was great to see them all involved – a number of the pupils in that group are notoriously dif cult to engage with anything like this, and they all participated in your workshop without much prodding. They were all talking about it on the way back, and it was pitched at a good level.”