Read more about our Lab Life: Art meets Science event for Home Education students.

On 9 February 2018, we ran our largest Home Education session at the Imagination Lab to date, Lab Life: Art meets Science. We welcomed home educators and their children aged 5-12 to the Imagination Lab for two half-day sessions. Our aim was to use the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) learning approach to introduce home educators to unique ways of learning and teaching, by combining subjects that are often disparate in traditional education. This workshop was designed to provide home educators with new ideas and resources that they could take home with them, and students with the opportunity to take part in diverse activities and to interact with others in a creative and open environment.

We welcomed 80 children and 60 adults across the morning and afternoon sessions from across London and even as far afield as High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

We offered several different activities throughout the day, with each activity station providing a platform for art and science exploration and creation. Participants practiced coding and creating virtual environments, using 360-degree photography and the CoSpaces Edu virtual app to bring ideas to life.

Engineering and scientific experimentation was combined at the chain reaction station, where chain effects were formed with lollipop sticks and wooden blocks. Children and adults moulded and shaped forms using Kinetic Sand (a modelling sand toy that mimics the physical properties of wet sand), created vibrant artworks with specially engineered fidget spinners, and attached Hexbugs (the autonomous toy robot bugs) to pipe cleaners, pencils and pens to build self-drawing mechanisms and create abstract artworks. Over the course of the session both children and adults were encouraged to explore each station and spend time playing, creating, building and imagining.

This home education session crossed traditional boundaries within learning and public engagement. The carefully curated activities gave parents and carers new take-home skills, taught them about exciting resources and apps and shared innovative ways to incorporate day-to-day items in their personal home-schooling programmes, to further support their child’s interests at home. Each of our activities enabled participants to become makers, creators, and inventors, not just consumers of content.

Being able to discover and explore 3D creations in virtual reality gave participants the possibility to become immersed in their own work, while exercising inventiveness. Several home educators approached the iOi team at the end of session enquiring about future sessions; this gives us confidence that our free rotation approach to activities, crossover of arts, sciences and digital technology and space for provocations and questions is welcomed within the home-schooling community.