Magnetic to the Core – communicating palaeomagnetism with hands-on activities

van der Boon, Annique ORCID: 0000-0003-0781-371X, Biggin, Andrew J ORCID: 0000-0003-4164-5924, Paterson, Greig A ORCID: 0000-0002-6864-7420 and Kavanagh, Janine L ORCID: 0000-0003-0274-9843
(2022) Magnetic to the Core – communicating palaeomagnetism with hands-on activities. Geoscience Communication, 5 (1). pp. 55-66.

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<jats:p>Abstract. Palaeomagnetism is a relatively unknown part of Earth sciences that is not well integrated into the school curriculum in the UK. Throughout recent years, there has been a decline in the number of Earth science students in the UK. In 2018 and 2019, we developed outreach activities and resources to introduce the scientifically engaged general public to palaeomagnetism and raise awareness of how geomagnetism affects society today, thus putting palaeomagnetism, and Earth sciences, in the spotlight. We tested our ideas at local events that were visited mostly by families with small children, with tens to hundreds of participants. Our project culminated in the Magnetic to the Core stand at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in 2019, which is visited by members of the general public, students and teachers, scientists, policymakers and the media. At this event, we communicated the fundamentals of palaeomagnetism through hands-on activities and presented our recent research advances in a fun and family- friendly way. To test the impact of our exhibit on knowledge of palaeomagnetism and Earth's magnetic field on visitors, we designed an interactive quiz and collected results from 382 participants over 8 d. The results show a significant increase in median quiz score of 22.2 % between those who had not yet visited the stand and those who had visited for more than 10 min. The results from school-aged respondents alone show a larger increase in the median score of 33.5 % between those who had not yet visited and those who had spent more than 10 min at the stand. These findings demonstrate that this outreach event was successful in impacting visitors' learning. We hope our Magnetic to the Core project can serve as an inspiration for other Earth science laboratories looking to engage a wide audience and measure the success and impact of their outreach activities. </jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 13:59
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:05
DOI: 10.5194/gc-5-55-2022
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