The ChaT Lab attended the fantastic Bright Sparks Science Festival in Brighton this year and ran an exhibition about using technology to support the learning of linguistics.
For those who live locally, this is a really great event to go to with your children. It is all run by volunteers, and they have so many exhibits that children really love. From bugs and reptiles, to cooking activities, and how to use robots to learn coding, it is really great for getting children interested in the different facets of science.
Here, I will give you a little low down on what we got up to this year. This may give you a tiny little window into the type of work that we do in the ChaT Lab, but do visit our webpage if you want to know more.
We had three ‘stations’ in our classroom. We try to give a balance of activities, some that are lively, and others that allow the parents and children to have a bit of a quiet sit down after the bangs and pops of the chemistry exhibit, or the excitement of holding a snake!
Silly sentences (aka live sentences) was the main event for the ChaT Lab’s exhibition this year. The game is designed as a group activity; it connects four iPads, each connected to an interactive white board. Each iPad has a selection of words; one is the ‘subject’, one is the ‘adverb’, one is the ‘verb’, and one is the ‘object’.
The players scroll through their words and choose one to send to the whiteboard to build a full sentence in collaboration with their peers. The result is a silly sentence!
Using silly sentences, children can swap places, choose different words, and be supported by parents, or exhibitors in this case, to discuss the structure of the sentence and what makes it funny. The amusing element can aid memory of the concepts and word types in the game.
Quite amazingly, this simple game generated a lot of fun an laughter. The interactive nature helps to make the learning of sentence structures enjoyable for children. At key stage 2, they are now expected to have a broad understanding of language, including simple, compound, and complex sentences. This can be challenging, and not hugely motivating, for children at this age.
Tell us a Joke!
I was amazed at how some simple activities could be so popular and make language learning so much fun for children. The premise of our second activity was to help children think about the ambiguities of words and how these can be turned into creative jokes.
Our ‘tell us a joke’ table was easily the most popular activity (it did help that there were furry book marks and squishy brains as prizes). All we asked the children to do was write down, and read out to us, a joke – simple! We received over 300 jokes in one day. Some children returned from last year as they wanted to tell us a new joke!
WeChat’s Logo Competition
We also received lots of entries to our logo competition, which is being conducted in association with Edinburgh University. The deadline to come up with a logo for our new We Chat project is 1st June 2018, so get your children’s entries in to win vouchers for them and their school!
WeChat is a collaborative research project, investigating how children talk to each other and make good conversation. Check out the WeChat webpage for more information and to enter the competition.
We look forward to seeing your entires and hope to see you at Bright Sparks next year!