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Engaging the Younger Generation in Science

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  • 1. Engaging the Younger Generation In Science Welcome to Brunel Professor Julia Buckingham Vice Chancellor and Principal Brunel University www.axiseducationaltrust.org
  • 2. What is the point of studying science?• It is inherently interesting and a key component of our culture• Scientific discoveries have changed the world and shaped the world that we now live in• Scientists in the UK have been responsible for many of the major scientific discoveries• Future scientific discoveries will bring further changes, some desirable, some not – – we need a scientifically literate society to contribute to the ethical debates of what is acceptable and what is not
  • 3. The need for a scientifically literate society• Everyone needs a basic understanding of science and maths to manage their lives in the developed world• Our future economy is heavily dependent on science – we need to well qualified engineers and scientists of all grades• Scientists are in demand in the job market – employers value staff who are numerate and who have strong analytical and critical thinking skills
  • 4. What are the challenges in teaching science? • Anti- science culture – all too often science is not perceived as ‘cool’ and scientists are perceived as ‘geeks’ • Paucity of well qualified specialised teachers • Limited resources for practical teaching • Perception that science is ‘boring’ or more ‘difficult’ than other subjects
  • 5. Science teaching in primary schools• Make it fun – Engage interest and curiosity – Science doesn’t always have to be labelled science – Integrate science and maths overtly with other parts of the curriculum – e.g. sport, music, cooking, art, visits to museums, galleries etc – Facts are important – don’t make them ‘boring’
  • 6. Science teaching in primary schools• Make it fun – Engage interest and curiosity – Science doesn’t always have to be labelled science – Integrate science and maths overtly with other parts of the curriculum – e.g. sport, music, cooking, art, visits to museums, galleries etc – Facts are important – don’t make them ‘boring’
  • 7. Science teaching in primary schools• Make it fun – Engage interest and curiosity – Science doesn’t always have to be labelled science – Integrate science and maths overtly with other parts of the curriculum – e.g. sport, music, cooking, art, visits to museums, galleries etc – Facts are important – don’t make them ‘boring’
  • 8. Science teaching in primary schools• Make it fun – Engage interest and curiosity – Science doesn’t always have to be labelled science – Integrate science and maths overtly with other parts of the curriculum – e.g. sport, music, cooking, art, visits to museums, galleries etc – Facts are important – don’t make them ‘boring’
  • 9. Science teaching in primary schools• Practical work – simple experiments stimulate creativity and instil the fundamentals of experimental design, practical skills, observation, recording results, analysing data and drawing conclusions – a fantastic way of instilling fundamental principles of how science is done and fundamental theory• Experiments don’t always work – there is no harm in experiencing failure – a lot of fun and learning can be attained by ‘finding out what went wrong’• Encourage children to question. Don’t spoon feed them with the answers – encourage them to find out• Be prepared to challenge them
  • 10. Secondary School• Challenges are much greater• For those aiming to read maths, engineering, medicine or natural science at university – three sciences at GCSE and ‘A’ level – – the top universities require maths, further maths and physics and/or chemistry at A level
  • 11. Secondary school - what about those not aiming to study science beyond school?• Try to engage until GCSE – – practically based, using relevant examples to instil the basic principles – encourage thinking and understanding, not rote learning – emphasise the importance of the knowledge and understanding to their future life• The BTEC route – practically based, accepted by second tier universities, also an entry to apprenticeships
  • 12. What can trained scientists do to help?• University outreach programmes, involving both staff and students• Learned societies• Museums and science festivals• Journalists• Industry, business, NHS etc
  • 13. Examples of outreach programmes• Museums and galleries• Brunel Urban Scholars• Imperial Reach Out Lab• Ri Engineering and Maths Master Classes• Ri Christmas Lectures• Ri Channel
  • 14. Brunel Urban Scholars• A programme of Saturday Schools focused on Mathematics, Science and English• 4-year intervention programme for children aged 12-18• 8 10 sessions per year• Enhances academic performance, confidence, presentation skills, critical thinking and team work
  • 15. Imperial College Reach Out Lab• Hands on STEM experiences for pupils, teachers and schools• Sessions led by engaging scientists• Emphasis on practical experience and discovery• A ‘university experience’
  • 16. The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures • A series of 3 public lectures – Engaging speaker – Audience participation • Shown on television • Available on-line 2012 - The Modern Alchemist
  • 17. Ri Engineering and Maths and Engineering Master Classes Mathematics for Primary School Children Games and activities designed to develop mathematical reasoning Individual and group work Mathematics for Secondary School Children Aged 12-14 5 – 10 session, each 2.5 hours duration Interactive sessions Addressing issues not covered in the core curriculum Engineering for Year 9 Children Hands-on activities Topical problems Social and ethical issues
  • 18. Ri Channel• Collections of short videos bringing the best science to the intellectually curious• Themes – Natural World My favourite element – Being Human – Engineering – Environment – Materials – Maths – Space & Time – Talking Science – Technology