Currently, fewer than 15% of 10-14 year olds aspire to pursue a career as a scientist, leaving the UK with a potential skills shortage. The BBC partnered with leading universities to create a series of child-friendly nationwide scientific investigations for a campaign called Terrific Scientific. The goal, inspire primary school pupils to discover their inner scientist as possible.
After a competitive pitch process via their Digital Services Framework, the BBC chose us to design the centrepiece of the campaign, interactive science map that will display the results of experiments of 1 million primary school children from 30,000 schools across the UK.
What We Did
Run by BBC Learning, the Terrific Scientific project is an exciting national campaign that has been curriculum matched to get Key Stage 2 pupils excited about science by joining a national journey of scientific discovery. The campaign is based around a set of mass participation investigations that the BBC created in partnership with some of the UK’s leading universities.
One of the most important aspects of the project was to create the feeling of a live and exciting science community with a spirit of collaboration and information sharing. To achieve this the BBC asked us to create an interactive map that would be both visually appealing to the target demographic but also able to show large amounts of user generated data in an easily accessible way.
School experiments and data collection on this scale had never been attempted before so the visualisation of the data had to work from a very local school level right the way up to a national level.
The map is designed in a bright and friendly style to make it appealing and approachable for the young target audience. We also designed a series of illustrated iconic landmarks help pupils identify different areas of the UK and familiar places near them.
There are five main investigation covering Taste, Water, Time, Trees and Forces. Each investigation looks at a different element of the science curriculum relating to these areas. Students work with their teachers in their classes to record data against each experiment over a series of weeks.
Each school taking part in the campaign appears on our map and the user interface includes a search bar where teachers, students and visitors can put in their postcode or school name and find their nearest schools results.
The map, changes to display different information based on each different experiment and the results that need to be visualised allowing pupils to see first-hand the impact of their contributions to a nationwide science community.
Clearly for such an important national initiative it is important to make sure that the look and feel is tested at all stages so that feedback from the target audiences can be used to amend and enhance the look and feel.
The BBC loved the initial concept designs we pitched so once the initial direction had been chosen we held a number of user acceptance testing workshops with schools and other groups of young people from the target age group to evaluate the design direction and ideas.
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