On the spot
Blackpool is dominated by the tourist industry, so our pupils really have no idea of science outside the classroom. This trip is a way of bringing chemistry to them and showing them that it's out there.
At Catalyst, science is visible all around the area. The view from the glass elevator, with the chemical industry so plainly visible, is just as valuable as the shows and exhibits. Even the smell from the factories adds to the experience.
There seems to be little interest in science these days. University chemistry departments are closing down and top scientists are going overseas. It's important to raise the profile of science and to generate enthusiasm and awareness. A trip like this is one way to do that.
Of course the trip enhances the curriculum and children's studies, but it's just as important that they enjoy it. We visit every year and the shows are always entertaining and informative. There's lots of audience participation, and that's the right way to go about it.