What is the Wohl Reach Out Lab?
State-of-the-art space on campus
The Wohl Reach Out Lab (ROL) is a state-of-the-art laboratory at Imperial's South Kensington Campus, located on the ground floor of the Skempton building.
It was set up in 2010 to provide a dedicated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) space where our team of subject experts can deliver educational activities to raise the aspirations and scientific literacy of young people aged 6–18.
The Lab is equipped with the latest technology so that the young people we support – of all abilities from a range of backgrounds – can engage in the sort of hands-on science experiments that lack of equipment in their own school or college often puts beyond their reach.
Being based in the heart of Imperial, a world leading centre for science, engineering, medicine and business, we can – and do – draw on the expertise of our academic staff and students to bring the activities to life.
So, you can find our staff and students working as STEM activity leaders, running sessions for all ages; we've also created Reaching Further, a programme enabling our Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to create hands-on science practicals for schools, based around their own research themes and expertise. Find out more about these programmes.
The Lab is also used extensively in our two-year STEM potential programmes for Year 10–11 students and Year 12–13 students.
Bringing science to life
Children from many different schools in the Greater London area attend the Wohl ROL with their science teachers. They undertake hands-on experimental work in five key areas:
The emphasis is very much on inspiring the school children and showing them something new or exciting that brings the subject to life. So they might get to see what it's like to perform an operation in our pop-up surgery, carry out titration experiments or handle live bugs, for example.
At the end of each day they are encouraged to present their experiments and communicate their results – all part of the educational process.
During their time in the Lab the school children interact with our university students who take a role in leading activities. This experience is not only beneficial for the school children who get to meet a range of science role models; it's also beneficial for our students who learn the importance of making their science and research accessible to the public.
Assessing the impact of ROL activities
It's not only school children and teachers who we are aiming to educate; Reach Out Lab activities also provide a research base that we can use to find out the best ways to inspire school students going forward.
We are also assessing the effect on the university community to see how contact with the Wohl Reach Out Lab changes university students' professional aspirations.
Online professional development
The Wohl Reach Out Lab is not just a physical space; it also exists online in the form of our online professional development tool for primary school teachers.
Reach Out CPD is an online resources bank, which gives every primary school teacher free access to a range of support and materials they need to teach science with confidence. And to make it fun!
Through specialist films produced by Tigtag, teachers can learn about scientific concepts while gaining imaginative classroom ideas to inspire students and encourage them to engage with science.
Introduced by our academics, Reach Out CPD features wide-ranging supporters of the programme, including Olympic athlete Katherine Grainger and experts representing the Royal Academy of Engineers and the Royal Observatory.
Parents can also access the films in a tailored area of the Reach Out CPD website, supporting them to teach their children about science at home.