Medic Demonstrating Tips

by Kate Stretton

The medics stuff could get really boring because it's all explanation; please read on to make sure this is never the case when you demonstrate :)

  • The trick is to ask lots of questions and get them to think about it, point to things, look at where things are on them or you (we're in the unique position to be able to do this with our medic experiments - make use of it!), relate to their personal experience (eg have they had an xray, do they have friends with glasses etc) think about what would happen to them if... etc, etc.
  • Never goes more than a couple of sentences without a question, or you just lose them.
  • Don't be afraid to sometimes just let the kids play with the stuff. Remember they are not there for a science lesson, but to become interested in science! Usually you will find that whilst playing you can slip in more information then if they instantly become bored by some formal speach. For instance with the models, a lot of the time the kids just want to take them apart and put them together - let them!
  • Be careful not to assume that the kids now things that you take for granted. For instance a lot of younger children don't know what the concept of a cell is - so be careful not to just slip it in. When adults hear something they don't understand they either ignore it or try and assign some meaning to it. Kids just switch off - so keep your eyes on their faces and monitor what is working and what is going straight-over their heads.
  • Some of the explanations written for experiments are quite long now. By no means are you meant to say all this stuff. Its just ideas from different people and what they find interesting to talk about. Always try to tailor an explanation to the particular situation - i.e. age (but knowledge varies a lot independent of age!), how interested theyre acting, how interested the parents look, what time in the day it is, the weather (!) etc.
  • There is no harm done in explaining things to parents. Often they are very interested, it can make a change for you, and they can always pass info onto their kids another time (also some of misinformation kids have seems to come from their parents...). But do beware of becoming a medical consulting service (i.e. give a disclaimer about anything you say unless you're very confident its right!)