Category Archives: IAS Event

Demand vs. Capacity — An update for June 2016

Any avid readers of our project blog — there must be at least one of you — will have noticed we’ve written a lot recently about our increasing demand for classes, and our over-subscription rates.

In January, we published some numbers. Since then we have run the March 2016 event, and finalised class places in the June 2016 event. Here are some updated numbers:

Graph of I'm a Scientist UK class requests by event in academic year — March 2013 to June 2016

I’m a Scientist UK class requests by event in academic year — March 2013 to June 2016

In January, we wrote about the decreasing popularity of the June events, with more teachers moving to November and March.

With the spectacular growth in November 2015, we speculated that teachers may be moving from March and June to earlier in the academic year. If that was true, then we would have expected a lower demand in March and June this year.

What we see is a steady increase in demand in the June events. The growth in March 2016 was perhaps less than may have been expected given that of previous years. This could support the idea that teachers are opting to take part in November instead of March. The narrative is not entirely clear though and we need to look into this a little more.

As was true in January, what is clear is the decreasing capacity for classes in all of the events. Though this does though coincide with an increased capacity in our other projects; with the demand for classes increasing we need to increase the capacity. We need more funding.

For the past year or so we have been charging international schools wishing to take part, generating a few hundred pounds. This June we began asking the same charge of independent schools. Overall, the response has been positive — which to be honest has been a pleasant surprise. There’s a separate post to come on that, but the fact that teachers are willing to pay shows they value the activity, and that this could be a valuable funding stream in the future.

Posted on May 23, 2016 Moderator - Josh in Evaluation, IAS Event, News, Project News | Leave a comment

On student activity and simplified registrations

TL;DR: We made the site easier for students to access and the proportion of our audience engaging increased.

Like any company, we have a set of Key Performance Indicators which we use to keep an eye on how well we’re doing. One of those KPIs (professionals use abbreviations) is the percentage of active students during an event, what we will call, %AS.

%AS shows the number of students who log in to the site, and go on to — at the very least — ask a question, write a line of text in a live chat, cast a vote, or leave a comment. Basically, it shows the proportion of our audience who are actively engaging with the activity.

In July 2014 Rosie posted a message on our project management app of choice, pointing out that the %AS for the previous events had been falling to the level it was at during the project pilot.

Graph of percentage of active students per IAS UK event. June 2011 to March 2016

Graph of percentage of active students per IAS UK event. June 2011 to March 2016

So, what did we do about it?

If you looked at the graph, you’ll see that we’ve already given the game away (but this is a one-graph-blog-post, and we’re not about to pad this out with multiple views of the same graph).

We started pre-registering students.

By visiting schools to observe students taking part, we saw that asking students to create their own accounts was taking way too long, was way too complicated, and largely, unnecessary.

We completely stripped down the process students go through to first get access to the site.

Previous and updated student access process

Previous and updated student access process

Previously, students would use an “access code” to get to a registration page, where they create a username and password, give us an email address, answer some other questions including some evaluation questions on their views of STEM. Now, students are given a generic username and password which gives them instant access to the site. From there, they can choose to go in and answer the evaluation questions, create a display name, and fill in their profile. But if they choose, they can get instant access to the live chats, to the question page, to scientists’ profiles.

The moral of the story then… By observing students use the site, we learnt that the registration process was too complicated. Pre-registering accounts for students does add a little more time and admin to the running of the event than not; but effort that pays off by making the site simpler to use and access for the students taking part.

Posted on May 23, 2016 Moderator - Josh in Evaluation, Event News, IAS Event, News, Project News | Leave a comment

March 2016 Winners’ Blogs

After every event we ask the zone winners to write a short blog post to be sent to all the students in who took part in the zone. It’s a great way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks and thank all the students for voting for them.

Let’s take a look at what the winners from March’s zones had to say…


Chris, Biochemistry Zone

I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’d leave chats with a big smile from your questions and aching fingers from trying to keep up with them. Your questions made me laugh, groan, and think. I had to research quite a few of them. I’d start every morning going through and answering your questions. There’s going to be a sad hole in my mornings now that we’re done.

Cat, Climate Change Zone

I genuinely couldn’t have imagined how much fun taking part in IAS was going to be – thanks so much for all the brilliant questions you guys sent in. Many of the questions made me think about things that I haven’t thought about for years and reminded me why I became a scientist in the first place 😀

Majid, Fat Zone

I have worked with children before, but never in a sense where I am teaching them about science and my research. So, this was like walking on new ground for me. But I quickly learnt to adapt the language I was using and shaped my approach to make the science easier to digest for the young students. So taking part in this event has helped me to grow as a scientist and it has inspired me to continue working with young children in my role as a doctor and a scientist, and I kind of feel somewhat like a role model now.

Emma, Gravity Zone

The Gravity Zone had some amazing scientists – Alice, Steve, Christian and Bose. It was very interesting to see how each scientist answered the different questions. This really helped me develop my communication skills.

Paul, Medical Physics Zone

I particularly enjoyed all of your sci-fi related questions, talking about time travel, aliens, Death Stars and superpowers is always good fun and I love to look at the science behind it. Questions like that are one of the main reasons I got interested in science, so it’s great to see school kids asking similar kinds of questions I was at that age! I also liked some of the more obscure questions as well, like ‘Why do tapeworms show on 100 year old x-rays but not new ones?’ which had us all baffled until the student unearthed a 100 year old paper on the subject.

Lauren, Toxicology Zone

Although my schedule is now significantly less jam packed without daily classroom chats, I am straight back into the lab and researching hard. I am genuinely looking forward to organising more STEM outreach events using the award, and interacting with yet more enthusiastic young scientists like you. Hopefully, I’ll be able to recreate some of the I’m a Scientist experience for others!

Scott, Iridium Zone

I really enjoyed the entire two weeks and every question really made me think. I’m so impressed by the depth and breadth of all your questions! I got very excited seeing new ones come in and answered them as quickly as I could, but also in a way that would inspire you and make you want to know more. I particularly enjoyed thinking about a ‘neutron star bullet’ and finding out about the most flammable thing in the world!

Lowri, Platinum Zone

I’m so happy that you’ve all taken an interest in science, even for a little while, and seen that not all scientists have crazy white hair and wear lab coats! I’ve had some really interesting (and some really strange!) questions over the last two weeks, from how do certain things affect students behaviour in school, to the surprising “would we all float away if there was no gravity?”

Hayley, Gold Zone

What was mind-blowing was the intelligence and ingenuity of all of the questions. From asking me what brains of autistic children look like, to asking me who my favourite footballer was! There was such diversity and passion behind every question. I have also learnt a tremendous amount! I have learnt so much about space! Some of the questions have truly inspired my research especially ‘do twins sleep the same?’ That was an outstanding question! I now don’t really know what to do everyday. I am going to have to pester my friends and colleagues to ask me questions and just talk at them about science!! I am excited to get on with my research and integrate all these questions. It has been so inspiring and I can now go into other schools and communities and tell them about the amazing people I have interacted with over the past two weeks.

If you think you can handle the challenging questions…Want new inspiration for your research… Or just want to chat about the science behind Death Stars…

Apply now to take part in the next event

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here runs every March, June, and November. It only takes 2 minutes and one sentence to apply!

Posted on April 4, 2016 modmichaela in Event News, IAS Event, News | Leave a comment

“The whole experience has been incredibly rewarding”

After every event we ask the zone winners to write a short blog post to be sent to all the students in who took part in the zone. It’s a great way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks and thank all the students for voting for them.

Let’s take a look at what the winners from November’s zones had to say…


Sara, Ageing Zone

I’m A Scientist, Get Me Out Of Here was a continuous surprise. I was surprised I was selected, I was surprised I wasn’t evicted and I was amazed I won!

I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t think kids will be so interested in my work; I work with animals and I was scared a lot of people would be against it and they would be aggressive about it. But no, I had amazing and clever questions I didn’t even expect.

It’s an experience that everyone should do!

Jack, Extreme Pressure Zone

You all had so many questions; some of them were jokes, some of them were intriguing, most of them were genius and they pretty much all made me smile. I’m so grateful you decided I was worthy of winning this event. *prayer hands emoji* from the bottom of my <3

Cristina, Heart Zone

I found myself chuckling in the office and typing away until my fingers hurt. I ended up looking forward to them a lot, talking to the students in real-time has been so much fun, and has definitely made me want to share science and engage with students in more ways.

Jesus, Spectroscopy Zone

I would recommend the experience to both scientists and students as I think that both can get a lot from it, there is no better way to test how much you know about something than trying to explain it to someone with a more limited background on the topic. Also, I think the students can benefit from talking to scientists and getting to know a bit more about student life from people that have been there not that long ago (Yes, we are still young and have a social life!).

Natalie, Osmium Zone

It gave me the opportunity to reach more schools than the ones I’ve had time to visit in the South West of Great Britain. For instance, without this competition, there’s no way I could have talked about my work with pupils in Scotland… The whole experience has been incredibly rewarding.

Nicholas, Rhenium Zone

I had a brilliant time on I’m a Scientist and really enjoyed the opportunity to try and explain a huge variety of scientific topics to all you guys, from black holes to bacteria… Thank you very much to all the students who took part – the depth and range of your questions was phenomenal, and seeing just how interested and enthusiastic you all are when it comes to science really shows how useful events like this are!

Ashley, Tantalum Zone

I now have some money and more importantly the responsibility to do something cool, fun and engaging to get guys like you more involved in our world. This is a really exciting opportunity that I never expected to have, and I already have a thousand hair brained ideas.

Ross, Tungsten Zone

What was so astounding was the range of questions that were asked of all of us – it is so clear that the students who took part were interested in such broad areas of science and keen to understand what the life of a scientist is like. I hope you all learned as much as I did – I knew very little about space before I’m a Scientist and now I feel like an expert! Also huge thanks to students asking if a balloon can be inflated by a fart – I am now making this a research priority ?

 

If you think you want to discover new ways to communicate your work… Or want the funding for a your own harebrained schemes… Or just want to gain a new fart-based research priority…

Apply now to take part in the next event

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here runs every March, June, and November. It only takes 2 minutes and one sentence to apply!

Posted on December 15, 2015 modantony in Event News, IAS Event, News | Leave a comment

“I’m a Scientist is definitely the most fun I’ve had in my lab coat”

After every event we ask the zone winners to write a short blog post to be sent to all the students in who took part in the zone. It’s a great way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks and thank all the students for voting for them.

Let’s take a look at what they had to say…


Jess, Colour Zone

I’m a Scientist is definitely the most fun I’ve had in my lab coat.

The questions were incredible, totally unpredictable and the scope was well beyond that going on academic circles; by the final I’d tried to prepare a few ‘go-to’ answers, “What is colour?”, “What happened during the big bang?”, “Will we ever cure cancer?..but I couldn’t predict a single one! After the 30 minute live chats my fingers were tingling so much I had to delay measuring polymers in the clean room.

I cannot express in words how much I’d recommend this to any PhD student, science technician or any academic with time on their hands.

It’s made me question every part of my research, assess how realistic I am and be more creative in my experimental design. It’s made me so proud to be a physicist, work at Imperial College and be able to help these curious kids.

James, Electromagnetic Zone

Things got serious, silly, deep, dark, hilarious, and on occasions weird; all in a 30 minute burst of direct exchange between today’s researchers and tomorrow’s minds.

It was *energising* – I loved it. And I learned a tonne of stuff myself.

Sarah, Extreme Force Zone

I really hope (and believe) more of you became enthused by science by the event, and can maybe envisage yourselves on the other side of the chat telling students in the future all about the great work you do.

Andy, Health Zone

It was exciting, loads of fun, I learnt loads of stuff I never expected to and it completely took over my whole life for two weeks! At midnight on the Saturday half way through the competition I was discussing “what is time?” with some friends at a wedding. It really made me think about things that I’d not considered before.

Laura, Hormones Zone

An event like this is a fantastic way of giving school pupils an idea of how many areas in science there are and to let them see that scientists really are quite normal people (mostly).

It was a manic two weeks but it was so much fun and VERY addictive! The Live Chats were crazy at times but always great fun and certainly kept me on my toes. Any chance I got, I was answering the question on ASK (all 214 of them!) – on my journey to work, breaks, lunch, journey home, on the way to meet friends – any chance I got!

Richard, Pharmacology Zone

Wow! What an amazing two weeks. Without a doubt, I’m A Scientist, Get me out of here has been one of the most enjoyable but exhausting experiences of my career.

The live chat sessions are insane!  Questions ranged from everyday trivia like “Batman or Superman?” through philosophy and ethics “should doctors be allowed to assist in suicides” to hard-core pharmacology “how are drugs developed?” Now…. imagine trying to handle all three of those questions simultaneously, and fast enough so that your competitors don’t get in there first with a killer answer, and you’ll have some idea what it was like and why it was such fun.

Thomas, Polymers Zone

[The students’ questions] got me thinking on all fronts – from how to describe my research, and why I actually carry it out, to appreciating why the sea is blue and coming up with a “hand-shaking and waving” analogy for pi and sigma bonding during a quiet evening – definitely a blast all in all.

Hayley, Ytterbium Zone

I was continually impressed with the questions posed by the students in both the live chats and also via ASK. My very first question to answer was about black holes (a topic waaaay out of my comfort zone!), so I’ve been learning myself from day one!

… I have learnt so many diverse facts from this event, including how chameleons are able to change colour and learning that plants may, in fact, have feelings!

Ryan, Thulium Zone

The two weeks of answering questions from you all was crazy. I’ve never gone out of my way so much to be on time for everything. I had alarms set so I could attend chats, I spent my evenings answering all the ASK questions which were left for me and others.

I had questions ranging from “how many stars exist” to “why do I do science” each question was fantastic and there were so many I actually had to stop, think about and wonder how it actually worked.

Normally I’m one quick fire answers back but there were so many questions where I had to stop and think to even form an idea of an answer.

The whole event was an experience and I recommend it to anyone to try it, you’ll learn so much not only about your own area of expertise but also about others.

Jonny, Lutetium Zone

Initially I didn’t know whether I should enter I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here. I’ve not really done much written science communication before and I didn’t know how I would come across without actually being present.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the breadth of the questions all of us scientists were asked. It made me realise how much I didn’t know.

Chris, Hafnium Zone

The last two weeks have been an absolute blast. The range of questions you get on the board is insane! You guys ask better/harder/faster/stronger questions  that I ever imagined coming into the contest.


If you think you can take the better/harder/faster/stronger questions… Want to discover new ways to communicate your work… Or want to learn new facts about chameleons…

Apply now to take part in the next event

Click to apply for I'm a Scientist

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here runs every March, June, and November. For more information on the zones running in November 2015, take a look at this post.

Posted on July 27, 2015 Moderator - Josh in Event News, IAS Event, News | Leave a comment

Understanding Animal Research – Google Hangout

UARBefore our most recent June 2014 I’m a Scientist event we partnered with Understanding Animal Research to run a Google Hangout for scientists who work with animals.

Students often ask the scientists for their views on animal testing, and we want to help give scientists the confidence to be open and talk about working with animals in their research.

John Meredith, Education Manager at UAR, ran this session with six scientists who were taking part in I’m a Scientist the following week:

The A word: how to talk about animals in medical research 
This informal webinar presented by Understanding Animal Research will look at how and why we should talk about animals in medical research. It will cover current public attitudes to animal research, the facts and figures, the value of openness and how to answer the tricky questions or deal with confrontation. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion during and after the presentation, which should last around an hour.

We asked the scientists to fill in a short survey after they’d taken part in I’m a Scientist, to assess whether the Hangout was useful, and whether we should offer it before every event.

Five scientists gave very positive feedback. In summary they found the Hangout useful and informative, but often didn’t use the training in I’m a Scientist as students didn’t ask about animal research, and the scientists didn’t want to bring it up. If we run it again we could make it more interactive, giving the scientists more practice in answering potentially difficult questions during the session.

Was the Google Hangout good?

  • All 5 scientists said yes

Did you use the training during the event?

  • 3 said no, because it didn’t come up, and they didn’t want to mention it unless they had to
  • 1 said yes, finding themselves using the training many times during the event
  • 1 said a little, but they didn’t get many questions on it

Did it make you more confident to talk about animal research?

  • All 5 scientists said yes
  • 1 of the scientists mentioned they were wary of talking about animal research in the live chats, in case time ran out and they couldn’t explain their work properly

Would you recommend it to others?

  • All 5 scientists said yes

How would you improve it?

  • Open the session up and ask for individuals input more
  • Links to resources that show that animal experimentation is not ‘animal cruelty’
  • Have more scientists who use animals in their work, to encourage more open discussion among peers

And a few other comments:

“Very helpful and answered a lot of the questions I had about discussing animal research with the public”

“I have contacted UAR and organised a school visit of my own!”

Posted on August 6, 2014 in Evaluation, IAS Event, News | Leave a comment

March 2014 Moderator Job Vacancies

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here is an award-winning online event allowing students (from 9 – 18) to interact with real live scientists. We’re looking for 3 moderators to work on the next event which will run from the 10th March to the 21st March 2014. We will also be running a zone in I’m an Engineer at the same time, which will also need moderating.

Your key responsibilities will be:

  • checking and approving questions
  • adding appropriate keywords and tags
  • logging and keeping track of questions, comments and dialogue
  • checking the site for errors and inappropriate content and usernames
  • moderating live chats
  • helping to run the site

It’s actually a lot of fun as the students (and scientists) are quick and funny and full of energy. And hey, promoting science engagement is a good thing, am I right?!

What we’d like from you..

  • You should be bright, thoughtful, pick stuff up easily, ideally with an interest in science engagement.
  • You’ll have great attention to detail and will enjoy being online, perhaps have experience in an online community.
  • The site is all built on WordPress, so if you’ve used that the techy stuff will be pretty familiar.
  • You’d be working from home, so you must also have broadband which doesn’t die every 10 minutes.

Please send a CV and short covering letter ASAP (by Monday 3rd March 2014), to Emily at emily@gallomanor.com, telling us why you think you’d be a good moderator.

  • Dates: 10th – 21st March (Monday – Friday)
  • Hours: 37.5/week, 08.30-16.00 GMT
  • Pay: £7.50/hr

You can (and should) find out more about the events at: imascientist.org.uk and imanengineer.org.uk. You might also want to read this – on what kind of thing we’re looking for.

Posted on February 6, 2014 modemily in Event News, IAS Event, Science Engagement | Comments Off on March 2014 Moderator Job Vacancies

How does I’m a Scientist change students’ perceptions of science?

We’ve just run I’m a Scientist in Ireland and are curious to know how our event actually affects students’ attitudes towards science.

In order to do this, we included a short and compulsory pre-event survey in the form students used to register. We then asked students to fill in the exact same survey on their profile page after the event. When we matched the data from the two surveys, 92 students (7% of 1,247 students that participated in I’m a Scientist) had filled in both surveys. Importantly, data from the total number of students that filled in the pre-event survey very closely correlates with the pre-event data of this 92 student sample.

We were very happy to find out that students’ interest in science and science related careers is clearly increased after taking part in I’m a Scientist. This is what we have learnt:

The amount of students that say they love science doubled after taking part in I’m a Scientist

How does school make you feel about science?

How does school make you feel about science?

I’m a Scientist really got the students excited about science! Before taking part in the event, only 23% of students said they loved science, but this number increased up to 51% after the event. On the other hand, the number of students that don’t feel really excited about science or think it is boring decreased from 9% to 3%.

Participating in I’m a Scientist encourages students to choose a science subject in the next stage of their education

In the pre-event survey, 66% of the students were absolutely certain or very inclined to choose a science subject next year. However, this percentage raised up to 71% after participating in I’m a Scientist.

Thanks guys for talking to me really helped me make my decision for the leaving cert – sarahlawless, student

Students are keener on science related jobs after participating in I’m a Scientist

The majority of students that completed the surveys already thought that jobs involving science are at least fairly interesting before taking part in the event, but there was still room for improvement and the percentage of students that considered science related jobs very interesting saw a big increase from 36% to 62%.

Taking part in I’m a Scientist increases the likelihood of students looking for a job that uses their science skills

How likely are you to look for a job that uses your science knowledge?

How likely are you to look for a job that uses your science knowledge?

Before taking part in I’m a Scientist, a big portion of the students (37%) couldn’t decide whether they would try to look for a job that uses their science skills and only 10% said they were sure that they would look for this type of job. However, the event seemed to be the boost that students needed to be more confident about looking for a science related job. After I’m a Scientist, most of the students (68%) said that they would certainly or very probably look for a job that uses their science knowledge.

Honoured to have taken part. The future of science is in very good hands with you guys! – scientist

In addition to this, students left several comments that stated clearly how they were enjoying and learning at the same time throughout the event. They liked that the event was so interactive and that they had an active part at every step: asking, commenting, chatting and voting.

In the future, we would like to use this same strategy to measure the impact of other events or activities. We are also very interested in analysing the gender and year course differences that could be found in the pre-event data.

Posted on December 19, 2013 modangela in Evaluation, Event News, IAS Event, News, Science Education, Science Engagement, Teachers | 1 Comment

What criteria do students judge scientists on?

When students take part in I’m a Scientist they get to vote for their favourite scientist to win £500 to spend on communicating more science. It gives them ownership of the project and they decide who gets, in effect, a small grant for public engagement. But what are students’ votes based on?

This is how 855 students (or groups of students) have ranked certain criteria from most to least important when considering how to vote for scientists, since January 2012. The results come from a Drag & Drop ranking activity in the first lesson plan “You’re the Judges” that teachers run to introduce their students to I’m a Scientist.

Voting ranking criteria

The top ranked criteria are all linked to health or the scientific method. This is reflected in the number of questions students ask scientists about saving lives and animal testing. Reassuringly, the more superficial criteria lurk at the bottom of the list.

Other criteria that students suggested include:

“Abides to Scientists ethics, and morals”

“A person that thinks ‘outside the box’. Confident person. Optimistic person”

“Enthusiasm”

“How much they believe in and care about their work”

“The speed that they answer my questions. Also if they turn up for a chat”

“How great their beards are”

“If the scientist works at weekends (as well as during the week)”

And finally, the crux of all scientific research:

“Whether their tests are fair or not”

One teacher commented that, “the class disagreed on the ‘good-looking’ criteria because some feel that people are judged by first impressions and looks are included in that”.

Teachers, how do these criteria compare to how your students judge the scientists? Did students generally agree on the rankings or did certain criteria provoke more discussions than others?

Posted on November 8, 2013 in Evaluation, IAS Event, News, Teachers | 5 Comments

Using teacher feedback to plan future themed zones

A question I sometimes get asked when I tell people about I’m a Scientist, is how do we choose which zones to run? In short: we ask teachers what they’d like.

In July we emailed all the teachers signed up for I’m a Scientist to ask them what zones they’d like to see in our next three events: November 2013, March 2014 and June 2014.

Just over 40 teachers filled in each survey by ticking as many of the 40 zone choices as they’d like (some are zones we’ve run before, others are new).

Which zones came out top?

20 zones

The graph shows the top 20 zones, by the number of teacher requests across the 3 surveys for November, March and June. Forensic Science and Genes zones came out top, closely followed by Stem Cells, Health, Organs and Sport Science. Most of the top requested zones are biomedical; this might be because there are more Biology teachers on our list, due to the majority of funding coming from the Wellcome Trust since 2008.

When to run these zones?

What’s more interesting is the variation when teachers want to see certain zones, reflecting when topics are taught in the school year.

  1. Stem Cells, Drug Development, IVF and Subatomic zones were more requested in November than March or June.
  2. Earth, Chemicals and Technology zones were less requested in March than November and June.
  3. Communication and Human Limits zones were more popular in June than November or March, while Blood and Reproduction zones were less popular.

So what…?

We’ve used this feedback to choose some of the zones we’ll run over the next year in advance. This will help us plan teacher and scientist recruitment throughout the year. STEM contract holders have also told us it’s useful to know dates and zone themes in advance.

And sad news for any linguists out there, I don’t think we’ll be running a Language Zone any time soon. With only four requests there just isn’t the demand.

A taste of the themed zones running over the next year is at imascientist.org.uk/2013/10/im-a-scientist-zones-november-2013-june-2014. We’ll add more themed zones from other funders to the mix nearer to the events.

Posted on October 30, 2013 in Evaluation, IAS Event, News | Leave a comment

Class filmed taking part in I’m a Scientist

Laura Heintz, teacher at Weston School in Wisconsin, US, recently posted this great video of her students taking part in I’m a Scientist. Her class were in the Technetium Zone in March this year. Take a look…

In the video, the students gather around laptops to discuss the scientists and their research, planning questions in advance. There’s a real buzz after the live chat, with the students excited that they’ve just talked to “real scientists”. One student comments: “It was really fun – they said that we were really good students too.” The class seemed to most enjoy the interaction with the scientists and chance to find out more about their work, with another student saying: “We were talking to Jon a lot, we were kind of bombarding him with questions… We watched some of his videos, the one where he threw a rock down on some lava was really cool.”

Laura explained to us what she thought were the main benefits of taking part: “Our school’s in the middle of a cornfield, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We have students who’ve not left the state or gone further than Madison, which is a little over an hour away. It allows students to look beyond school and understand the world is a larger place. I thought it was amazing overall.”

She added: “Every day they do things over and over again, this was completely outside of their comfort zone – they see the world as it is and connect with it.”

Posted on July 17, 2013 in IAS Event, News, School | Leave a comment

The Final Countdown

It’s traditional at IAS HQ to play some music in the final hour of every event.

Here’s our playlist:

http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/I+m+A+Scientist+Final+Combat/98990489

Hit play at 2pm and join in the fun on Twitter with the #ias2014 hashtag.

Posted on June 28, 2013 modshane in IAS Event | Leave a comment

Organising schools visits from IAS scientists – a teacher’s view

Something we’d like to encourage is more scientists visiting schools after taking part in I’m a Scientist. After every event we add the participating scientists and schools to this map – about.imascientist.org.uk/about/teacher-and-scientist-map – sharing the scientists’ contact details with teachers. 

One teacher who’s made the most of the scientists nearby is Tom Holloway, from Westfield Primary School in Surrey. 4 scientists have visited the school, and he tells us more about what they got up to…

Westfield Primary School has taken part in I’m A Scientist Get Me Out Of Here for two years running now. It has been an amazing learning experience for our pupils who have been motivated and engaged by the event.

One of the best outcomes for our school has been the number of visits to us that it has generated. Impressed by our pupils enthusiasm for and love of science, lots of scientists who have taken part in IMAS have come to see us.

fionamcmurray

Fiona McMurray from MRC Harwell has visited us twice and ran a fantastic activity with Year 4 and 6 children in which they extracted DNA from strawberries. On her I’m a Scientist profile Fiona said she “Had a great time at Westfield Primary school!”

garybrickley

Gary Brickley, from The University of Brighton, visited and gave us an inspirational talk about his work on sport science and with paralympic cyclists.

simonpark

Finally Simon Park from The University of Surrey, came and ran a brilliant workshop on bacteria in which the children learnt about slime mould, looked a bioluminiscent bacteria in the dark, examined a sample of their teacher’s spit through a powerful microscope and grew the bacteria living on their fingertips in petri dishes – a wonderful morning of learning.

jamesholloway

We’re also looking forward to a visit by Jimmy Holloway who won the Palladium Zone last year. IMAS is a fantastic event and I strongly recommend taking part to all schools.”

 

If any teachers would like help contacting scientists for school visits, just get in touch with hannah@gallomanor.com or on 01225 326892. 

 

Posted on June 26, 2013 in IAS Event, News, School, Science Education, Science Engagement | Leave a comment

June 2013 Moderator Job Vacancies

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here is an award-winning online event allowing teenagers to interact with real live scientists. We’re looking for 6 moderators to work on the next event which will run from the 17th to the 28th of June 2013. We will also be running 2 zones in I’m an Engineer at the same time, which will also need moderating.

Your key responsibilities will be will be:

  • hosting/moderating live chats
  • approving questions
  • looking after your zones
  • logging and keeping track of great questions, comments and dialogue
  • checking the site for errors and inappropriate content
  • helping to run the site

It’s actually a lot of fun as the students (and scientists) are quick and funny and full of energy. And hey, promoting science engagement is a good thing.

What we’d like from you..

  • You should be bright, thoughtful, pick stuff up easily, ideally with an interest in science engagement.
  • You’ll have great attention to detail and will enjoy being online, perhaps have experience in an online community.
  • The site is all built on WordPress, so if you’ve used that the techy stuff will be pretty familiar.
  • You’d be working from home, so you must also have broadband which doesn’t die every 10 minutes.

Please send a CV and short covering letter ASAP (by Monday 3rd June 2013), to Emily at emily@gallomanor.com, telling us why you think you’d be a good moderator.

  • Dates: 17th – 28th June (Monday – Friday)
  • Hours: 37.5/week, 08.30-16.00 GMT
  • Pay: £7.50/hr

You can (and should) find out more about the events at: imascientist.org.uk and imanengineer.org.uk. You might also want to read this – on what kind of thing we’re looking for.

UPDATE


Thank you to everyone who applied! We’ve now found our team of moderators. We’ll be looking for more moderators for our next event, which we’ll advertise again here, so check back in a few months.
 
 

Posted on May 13, 2013 modemily in Event News, IAS Event, Science Engagement | Leave a comment

Running I’m a Scientist with BTEC students – a teacher’s view

Teacher Emma Wagg, from Trentham High School (@ejw232 on twitter) has taken part in I’m a Scientist since 2011. I asked her if it feels different each time she takes part, and if some groups of students take to it more than others. Here’s what she said about taking part with her BTEC class..

Last year I did it with triple science students but this year with students completing the BTEC Principles of Science course. Their questions were amazing. Their interest was fab. They were genuinely interested in the answers. And were really impressed that the scientists gave up their time for them. It was the first time I’ve really felt like they truly appreciated that. They also recognised that the scientists could discover/create something truly amazing. The look on their faces when this dawned on them was something special.

At the end of the live chat, Jack said ‘Miss, that was awesome’. It made my day. Actually – probably made my term 🙂

emma

Posted on April 8, 2013 in IAS Event, News, School, Science Education | Leave a comment

March 2013 Moderator Job Vacancies

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here is an award-winning online event allowing teenagers to interact with real live scientists. We’re looking for 4 moderators to work on the next event which will run from the 11th to the 22nd of March 2013. We will also be running a zone in I’m an Engineer at the same time, which will also need moderating.

Your key responsibilities will be will be:

  • hosting/moderating live chats
  • approving questions
  • checking the site for errors and inappropriate content
  • helping to run the site

It’s actually a lot of fun as the students (and scientists) are quick and funny and full of energy. And hey, promoting science engagement is a good thing.

What we’d like from you..

  • You should be bright, pick stuff up easily, ideally with an interest in science engagement.
  • You’ll have great attention to detail and will enjoy being online, perhaps have experience in an online community.
  • The site is all built on WordPress, so if you’ve used that the techy stuff will be pretty familiar.
  • You’d be working from home, so you must also have broadband which doesn’t die every 10 minutes.

If you’re in the Bath region though, we’d love for you to come in and work in the office, so we can groom you into one of us.

Please send a CV and short covering letter ASAP (by Friday 2nd March), to Emily at emily@gallomanor.com, telling us why you think you’d be a good moderator.

  • Dates: 11th – 22nd March (Monday – Friday)
  • Hours: 37.5/week, 08.30-16.00 GMT
  • Pay: £7.50/hr

You can (and should) find out more about the events at: imascientist.org.uk and imanengineer.org.uk. You might also want to read this – on what kind of thing we’re looking for.

UPDATE


Thank you to everyone who applied! We’ve now found our team of moderators. We’ll be looking for more moderators for our next event, which we’ll advertise again here, so check back in a few months.
 
 

Posted on February 11, 2013 modemily in Event News, IAS Event, Science Engagement | Leave a comment

We’re oversubscribed with teachers wanting to take part in March

We run I’m a Scientist 3 times each year – March, June & November. The March events are always busy and popular with teachers. It coincides with National Science & Engineering Week and the timing fits in well with schemes of work.

Hands up who wants to take part in I'm a Scientist. Image by: moses

Thanks to more funding we’ve added 2 more themed zones – a Digital Zone and a Food Science Zone (more on these later this week in another post).

Despite these zones creating 50 extra class places we weren’t prepared for just how oversubscribed we would be this time round.

11 zones with 25 classes in each zone gives 275 class spaces up for grabs. 142 teachers asked for 374 classes between them. Making the event oversubscribed by 36%.

So, how have we allocated classes?

  • Give as many teachers as possible places, ie give fewer classes to more teachers
  • Cap the number of classes per teacher at 5
  • Try and give teachers a zone of their choice, if possible
  • Limit the number of classes per Primary School at 1, as the event is primarily developed for Secondary students
  • Limit the number of classes for teachers who’ve been given places in the past, but not used them
  • For the first time we’re not giving places to International Schools abroad

Get on the waiting list

Some teachers will drop out before the event, so we’ll give their classes out to those on the waiting list. Email rosie@gallomanor.com with how many classes you’d like and we’ll let you know if we can fit you in.

Posted on January 23, 2013 modemily in Event News, IAS Event, News, Science Engagement | Leave a comment

I’m a NeuroScientist, Get me out of here – LIVE

I'm a NeuroScientist Live LogoAre male and female brains different? Is the brain more like a sponge or a computer? Do we really only use 10% of our brain?

We’re taking I’m a Scientist on the road again. In March and April as part of Wonder: Art and Science on the Brain, a partnership between the Barbican and Wellcome Trust supported BNA2013: Festival of Neuroscience we are running 3 live I’m a Scientist live events. Instead of answering questions from the safety of your lab we’re asking Neuroscientists to get on stage to take questions directly from an audience.

On Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd March, comedian and geek songstress, Helen Arney will be compering the events as part of the Barbican Weekender.  Five scientists will compete for the votes of the audience to win a place in the final which takes place on the evening of Tuesday 9th April in Cinema One at the Barbican.

UPDATE: the heats will run at 3:45 on Saturday 2nd and 3:15 on Sunday 3rd March. The final on 9th April is at 7:30pm in the Barbican Cinema 1.

Take part

If you’d like to take part in the Weekender events just send a quick email to IASLive@gallomanor.com with your name, contact number, preference of day and a couple of sentences about the work you do. Please pass this information on to anyone you think would be good at taking questions from the general public.

Nominate a Neuroscientist

The April event ups the ante. Not only will the 300 strong audience include some delegates from the BNA2013: Festival of Neuroscience, but they’ll be voting on real money.

The Weekender winners will join the champion from our March I’m a Scientist Brain Zone and two Neuroscientists nominated by you. The overall winner will get to nominate a charity to receive £200 as their prize.

We want to know who you would like to see taking questions. If there someone you’ve always wanted to ask a question? Someone who’s work needs more exposure? Or perhaps someone so engaging they are simply a pleasure to listen to? Send an email to IASLiveNom@gallomanor.com with the person’s name, where they work and one sentence telling us why they should be included.

Ask a question

Come along to the Barbican. The Weekender events are free and we’ll publicise times here soon. The April event is ticketed and we’ll post a link as soon as they go on sale.

UPDATE: Book your tickets here: www.barbican.org.uk/education/event-detail.asp?ID=14614 .

UPDATE: We’ve two places left on the Sunday bill.

Posted on January 9, 2013 modshane in I'm a Scientist - Live, IAS Event, News, Project News, Scientists | 2 Comments

What themed zones do teachers want?

For I’m a Scientist to work we need to run zones that teachers and students want. So when we’re deciding on zones to run in the next event we ask teachers to tell us what they want.

Teachers voted on a longlist of zones we drew up – they could select as many as they’d be interested in taking part in. We also asked them for suggestions for other zones.

Over 100 teachers told us what zones they’d like to see. The results are below.

Posted on December 12, 2012 in Evaluation, IAS Event, News, Science Education | Leave a comment

Using I’m a Scientist to enrich our curriculum – A teacher’s view

Debate kits and information sheets

After taking part in I’m a Scientist in June 2012, Ellie Russell, a science teacher from Trinity CE High School in Hulme, told us about other ways she uses I’m a Scientist resources. Here’s what she said…

I can’t remember who first told me about I’m a Scientist last year, but straight away I knew it was a concept that would appeal to our students. Since then we have signed up for several zones with different classes and the students have truly enjoyed engaging with real scientists and finding out a bit more about what they do.

To be honest, even though I’ve been really keen, it’s taken me a few more months to realise just how useful some of the other resources are for us too. We teachers are never very keen to read through all that useful support information!

The Debate Kits for Drugs in Sport and IVF are great. We know that debating skills are important for our students and our BTEC students can even pass some of their assessment criteria by engaging in debates. We’ll integrate these in our Yr 9 and 10 SoW.

The Information Sheets about Nuclear Power pro’s and cons are already differentiated and lend themselves nicely to KS4 ‘ideas about science’ in one of the Core Science units… and just this week we’ve been told that the fabulous online GM Food debate will be archived for future reference. This seems a perfect source for our students should they have a GCSE Case Study of a similar title.

In fact, we should really introduce all our classes to the website to keep in mind for future reference, regardless of which science route they take.

I’m going to make sure I take a closer look at all future material I’m sent!

Posted on November 28, 2012 in Downloadable Teacher Resources, GM Food, IAS Event, News, School, Science Education | Leave a comment