Teaching Science at the Observatory Science Centre

Date Posted: 25/03/2015

We spoke with Kim Twinn, Science show presenter at the Observatory Science Centre in Herstmonceux, East Sussex about a typical day working with schools.

Can you describe a typical day’s work?

I mainly work with educational groups who come to visit us here at Herstmonceux.

This is a thriving science centre, offering the unique opportunity to enjoy astronomy and hands on science amongst the domes and telescopes of a former world observatory.

We welcome school visits and, with over 100 interactive Science-based exhibits and activities, we enjoy making Science fun and inspiring for young minds.

How did you get into teaching Science?

I am a mother of two boys which has helped me develop good communication skills for working with children of all ages.

Before having children, I worked in several scientific laboratories in and around Oxford. I have two degrees in Science, a BSc in Cell Biology and a PhD in Plant Biology.

Most of my scientific career has been spent looking down microscopes at cells and so it was quite a challenge when, in 2008, I started here at the Centre and began talking about telescopes and the enormous objects we can see with them!

During my time at the Centre, I have been able to increase my knowledge of astronomy, physics and chemistry and use my scientific skills in workshops, shows and talks.

What are your favourite elements of working at the centre?

For myself, every day at the centre is always different and always interesting.

I am very proud to be one of the purple people team (our uniform is purple) and really enjoy working with all my fellow colleagues.

It is lovely when we get feedback from schools highlighting how friendly they found the staff at the centre; we always try to make everyone feel welcome and do our best to make their time here as special as possible.

What’s your favourite activity?

My favourite activity is presenting the Science shows in our spacious Geodesic dome.

All of our shows are fun, interactive, entertaining and (of course) educational. Watching the children enjoying a show and knowing that they are also learning important scientific information is very rewarding.

I really enjoy our bridge building activities and telescope tours as they help pupils see Science in a very practical way.

Our bridge building activities are fun, hands-on experiences that encourage pupils to work together as a team to build a structure that they can actually walk over!

During these activities, teachers often comment that it has been very helpful for them to see the way their pupils work together on such a big, practical task.

During our telescope tours, I never cease to be amazed at how many questions the children have about space.

My favourite part of the tours is when I get to open one of our green domes and make the dome rotate – it always gets a ‘wow’ from the audience!

For further details about organising school trips to the Observatory Science Centre, call 01323-832731 or visit www.the-observatory.org.

School Travel Organiser's Guide