On Saturday I travelled up to Scotland to be Poet in Residence for the day for Dumfries &
Galloway Science Festival. This year their theme was a celebration of the work of James Clerk Maxwell, mathematical physicist and versatile polymath, who observed for the first time that electrical fields and magnetic fields can couple together to form electromagnetic waves.
I set up a drop-in workshop to introduce James Clerk Maxwell and his work to young children at the Festival. They were provided with a scientific vocabulary, and paper boats, and a tank of water. Some children made their own boats with me, some chose boats ‘made earlier’. They selected words that appealed to them from my battered ‘sailor’s mess plate’, and with more or less support from me, wrote a short poem which they then transferred onto their boat, in various creative ways.
We observed that you can read a boat in many more and different ways than you read a conventional book…
It was great fun.
And watching the children ‘launch’ their boats on the tank of water was just priceless.