Starting a cafe
The primary mover in starting a cafe is likely to be a member of
staff, with the enthusiasm to set up and run the cafes until a group of
students able and willing to take over has formed. It doesn't have to be
a science teacher - the issues students are likely to want to talk about
are wide-ranging and would be of interest to teachers involved in
citizenship, media studies, environmental science and other subjects.
The Project Organiser will help in the early stages with advice and
liaison with speakers.
The format is very simple - the speaker (who will be a practising scientist or
researcher) will introduce the topic and their interest in it. This
introduction will last about 10 - 15 minutes. After that, it's up to the
students as the cafe is open for debate and questions between speaker
and audience, audience and speaker and very likely among the audience
Cafes are informal; the only 'don't' is not
in a classroom. Cafes have taken place in libraries, cafeterias
and common rooms - places where students can relax, eat and join in.
Lunchtime or after school, whichever suits your school best. Some schools provide low-cost drinks to help
generate a good atmosphere and encourage students to come along. Student
organising teams have been very ingenious in getting sponsorship for
this bit! How
often the cafes happen depends on the level of enthusiasm but pilot
schools aim for about 6 in the school year.
Suggestions for topics will come from the students themselves.
Typical titles might be:
'The Physics of “The
Matrix”'', 'Will Robots Have Feelings?", 'Science and Religion' and
'Which Is Safer, GM or Organic Food?' See
Resources for more information.
You can call on the project organiser and assistant organiser for help and
contact page for