Boosting the appeal of school science experiments
In March 2020, the governments in the UK shut schools, nurseries and colleges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School-aged children rejoiced, while parents suddenly needed to assemble afternoon lessons and brainstorm five-minute-meal ideas. Until the governments of England, Wales and Scotland announced reopening dates, parents had to substitute for teachers: a tall order, as teaching is a skill developed over years of training and practice. There are numerous challenges involved in providing educational support for children, and parents could not suddenly become experts in the vast number of subjects that children learn at school!
A colleague approached the RSK communications team with an idea to help beleaguered parents around the country. Her father, a retired teacher, had drafted a booklet of simple science experiments, including instructions and basic, hand-drawn illustrations on how to conduct them. Our team was asked to enhance the source material and illustrate it in a way that would appeal to kids stuck at home, cut off from their friends. The simple experiments, which illustrate important principles in chemistry, physics and biology, were aimed at keeping kids entertained and exciting them about STEM subjects. They included creating a pinhole camera, producing optical illusions and manipulating atmospheric pressure to lift heavy objects. Each experiment could be set up quickly and required objects that you could find around the house.
A clean but slightly comical illustration style was chosen after the team brainstormed possible design and image templates, with caption boxes added, where appropriate. An informal hand-drawn typeface was chosen as the font to complement the illustrations and a dark background colour was used to help the images “pop” out of the page. The finished product was an interactive PDF document with very simple navigation.
To get this resource to parents as soon as possible, the project was delivered to a tight deadline.