We’ve outlined the key benefits for students and teachers, scientists and funders. The benefits are collected from teachers, students and scientists who have taken part, through feedback forms and interviews for our evaluation reports.
Benefits for scientists
- “I’m a Scientist is the best crash course in science communication”. Taking part develops communication skills – this is the most mentioned benefit.
- Scientists can take part from their desk or lab. There’s no time wasted travelling and very little preparation is needed.
- It’s an opportunity to understand what the public really think about science and scientists.
- Scientists hone the way they talk about their work, using phrases they coined during I’m a Scientist years later.
- Answering “completely mindblowing” questions from students often reminds scientists why they love science.
It’s fun, and the medium really breaks down barriers – “I didn’t realise just how much fun the live chats would be and what a great rapport we would build up over a computer!” “Enabled students to ask questions they might not have asked if they were face to face with the scientist in a classroom.”
It gets a brilliant level of engagement – “I think it engaged the kids in a way I’ve never seen before.” “How else could you have almost one on one contact with so many young people, all over the country?”
It’s inspiring, and great training at communicating your work – “I am now excited about my work again!! I also FINALLY managed to explain my work to my Dad in a way that he understood!!!”
It’s thought provoking – “It’s really interesting the questions they come up with! Some of them are really intelligent questions I haven’t considered before.” “It was exciting to see the questions that were asked by the children and I was pleasantly surprised by some that were new to me! It forced me to think about the concepts more deeply and at the same time reminded me why I love science so much”.
Benefits for students and teachers
I’m a Scientist is designed to help teachers deliver the How Science Works (HSW) curriculum and bring real science to life for your students.
- Students see that scientists are normal people
- Students are introduced the wide range of careers within science – not just limited to Biology, Chemistry & Physics
- The students guide the event – they ask the questions and vote for the winning scientists.
- Gets students enthusiastic about their science lessons!
- Being online gives all students a voice. “IAS is by far the best public engagement activity I have been involved in. The set up allows everyone to have their chance to ask questions, whether they are the loudest person in the class, or the quiet curious student”
- Easy (and free!) for teachers to organise as it’s supported by a teacher pack & differentiated lesson plans.
- Schools build partnerships with scientists who’ve taken part “the children love it and we have made so many great contacts”
“We now have several students who have totally been inspired by the scientists involved!”
“If there’s one key thing I would say about the event, it’s that it has got them to see that things aren’t black and white. And that’s the essence of HSW.”
“They worked really hard during this event, but they didn’t seem to think of it as work.”
Benefits for funders
We are looking for organisations to fund zones for their scientists to take part in. Events are run in November, March and June each year.
- The event supports staff development – it develops skills, and also their motivation for communicating their work.
- I’m a Scientist is a great way of reaching young people – is allows in-depth engagement with hundreds of young people, without the scientist even having to leave their lab.
- It’s a good way of foregrounding the great work your scientists are doing and results in positive PR.
“Supporting a scientist to take part in I’m a Scientist is an effective way of reaching hundreds of young people, with a format that really works for them. The event is excellently-organised and is a great way to encourage scientists into public engagement.” – Philippa Bayley, Bristol University Centre for Public Engagement
“This event is an innovative means to help teachers to inspire the scientists of tomorrow and promote young people’s engagement with science.” – Miranda Stephenson, National Science Learning Centre
Please get in touch if you’d like to know more! Email Antony or call 01225 326892 and we’ll be happy to help.