The Thomas Hardye School

Thomas Hardye Family Festival of Science a huge success


Jurassic Coast

A recent Dorchester Area Schools Partnership’s family festival of science, held at The Thomas Hardye School, drew in record crowds for a fun-filled, action-packed afternoon of hands-on science and engineering activities and demonstrations.

With 20 new attractions, including a spectacular laser theatre show “The Light Express”, joining perennial favourites it provided a fitting celebration of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technology, International Year of Soils, Earth Science Week, Biology Week and The Big Draw.

Visitors of all ages fed back warm appreciation for the hard work and enthusiasm shown by the merry band of professionals from partner organisations, dedicated teachers and students who volunteered their time. “Terrific event – see you all again next year”, “Never too old to learn (76), thanks!”, “Interesting + fun + cool + exciting + lovely + fantastic J want to come next year”, “Every year it’s the best ever”, “Wish it is a bit longer – too much to do, too little time! We have had lots of fun and learning”, “Such a fab interactive day out for the whole family J Thank you”, “Illuminating light show – learnt loads” were just a few encouraging observations.

They found out about environmental concerns - measuring carbon footprints and greenhouse effects, choosing cosmetics free of micro-beads, understanding soils and local archaeological finds. They made and took home bug hotels, model insects, painted fossils, soaps, lotions and potions, musical instruments, light-inspired collages, candy floss and popcorn! They tried out new technologies included flying drones, Raspberry Pi mini-computers and discovered how smartphones rely on chemistry. They survived close encounters with live Madagascan hissing cockroaches, beautiful moths (including a much-sought Clifden Nonpareil, conveniently attracted to a moth trap the preceding night), glow-in-the-dark and other microscopic organisms, minibeasts in leaf litter and stick insects revealed hidden delights. And youngsters ran the gauntlet of the Dorset Police Road Safety team’s camera in an attempt to be caught speeding!

For a first time, the Tank Museum showed how science helps battlefield visibility, the SW Ambulance Trust gave first aid demonstrations and Dorset Police Forensics shared new techniques using electrostatically generated fields to attract and reveal ‘hidden’ writing on documents and ‘hidden’ shoe marks on floors. As well as packing out theatre twice for the laser show, the University of Southampton’s astronomers gave four space dome shows on the wonders of the universe which were as popular as ever.

The Thomas Hardye School would like to thank representatives from the Universities of Bath, Bournemouth, Exeter and Southampton, South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership, Communities Living Sustainably in Dorset, Litter Free Coast and Sea Dorset Coast Forum (with LUSH and Neal’s Yard), Butterfly Conservation, Farming and Countryside Education, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Bovington Tank Museum, Dorchester Middle School, Dorset Studio School, Institute of Physics, Dorset Police, South West Ambulance Trust, Siemens, Jurassic Coast World Heritage Trust and Junior Geo, for joining our staff and students to produce this special extravaganza. The school is very grateful for grants received from British Ecological Society, Royal Society of Biology, Geological Society of London, The Royal Society, Ernest Cook Trust, Ogden Trust which supported the event and hope that together we will have helped inspire the next generation of Dorset scientists.

The school’s Stratford College charity team and Trenchard College raised a magnificent  £364 + £85 for their nominated charities Weldmar hospice and UNICEF by selling refreshments.

It was estimated that well over 1000 visitors took part with more than 300 families registering more than 500 children of average age 8.7 from far and near ...........Stroud Valley, Oxford, Devizes, Cranborne, Lyme Regis, Bournemouth, Wimborne, Portland, Sherborne – we hope to see them all again and more in October 2016!

See a short video overview of the event.


October 2015