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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 itself.


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 support. See contact page for details.


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