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Thursday, June 6 • 2:00pm - 3:15pm
The Importance of Engaging Children in Real Scientific Research LIMITED
Limited Capacity seats available

This year pupils from Mearns Primary School had the opportunity to take part in a project to launch a weather balloon into the upper atmosphere to study changes in atmospheric composition and pollution. The project was run by hi-impact consultancy with support from Bristol University. The focus was on giving pupils an opportunity to be involved in every stage of a scientific research project from asking the initial questions through project planning to data collection, analysis and presentation. This type of high-profile project and the subsequent research opportunities has had a significant impact on pupil engagement in science and their understanding of scientific research. It has enhanced the work the school already do on developing the Science Capital of their pupils and the Citizen Science projects they engage in. The project was part funded by the Royal Society who offer partnership grants to support schools collaborating in real scientific research in a variety of contexts. This seminar will explore the importance of pupils having opportunities to engage with scientific research in a variety of ways, how schools can access grants to support projects and how you can find opportunities to get involved in scientific research.

Talk 1 – Professor Dudley Shallcross
Research shows that when pupils have the opportunity to get involved in real scientific research there is an increased engagement with science. In the opening section of the seminar Professor Dudley Shallcross will discuss the importance of engaging pupils in scientific research to inspire and engage them and raise their awareness of the importance of science in a wider world context. He will discuss different ways in which scientific research can be brought into the classroom and how it can be used effectively. He will explore the importance of accessing current scientific research, adapted for their level, as a way to improve understanding of the importance work scientists do. He'll also look at the positive effects of schools engaging in high impact scientific research projects with academic partners. It will discuss current research around engaging pupils and how carefully planned scientific experiences can benefit pupils and schools.

Talk 2 – Paul Tyler
Paul is a primary teacher and science lead and has a history of engaging pupils through 'real' science experiences at his school. He has used a wide variety of Citizen Science projects throughout the school and organised large scale programmes of STEM visits and visitors. Recently the school have been involved in a project to launch a high altitude weather balloon up to the edge of space to study atmospheric conditions. The project involved 130 Primary 7 pupils working alongside STEM experts in a wide variety of fields to plan the mission, programme the detectors, monitor the launch and flight, collect the data and analyse it. The inspiration and pupil engagement of such a project contribute hugely to the Science Capital of the pupils who took part.

Talk 3 – Jo Cox
Jo Cox will discuss the Royal Society's schools’ grant scheme and how her team can support schools to get involved in research projects with academic partners. She will explain the Royal Society’s focus on getting young children involved in scientific research from an early age, the value of expert partners in a school setting and the benefits to teachers of becoming engaged in research . As part of this session she will walk teachers through the application process, which can appear daunting, so that they can access the £3000 grant in 2020 following a step by step timeline. The Royal Society Partnership Grant scheme is unique in that it is fully supportive of time pressures that teachers are under and recognises that support with the application process is as important as support during the project. Pitfalls, advice and eligibility criteria will be discussed along with project ideas for teachers to consider.

Chaired by Sue Martin

avatar for Sue Martin

Sue Martin

Programme Director, Primary Science Teaching Trust
Ask me about anything to do with the PSTT, especially the Primary Science Teacher Awards, PSTT College Fellows, our support programmes for teachers and schools, and our Wow Science site - www.wowscience.co.uk


Jo Cox

Schools Engagement Manager, The Royal Society
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Paul Tyler

Primary Science Educator, Topical Science Updates
Primary school teacher and Science Coordinator in a large primary school just outside Glasgow. Interested in all things primary science, Science Capital transitions to secondary and anything to do with Topical Science and Citizen Science. I produce a monthly Topical Science Update... Read More →