Category Archives: Teacher Quote

Showing students the ‘bigger picture’ at A Level

“I’m a Scientist encourages independent thought and shows students the practical applications of their studies. Connecting with real psychologists also helps them decide what they’ll do next year and into the future.” – Lesley, Head of Psychology at Bay House School


Bay House School is a large comprehensive school with mixed attainment. In June 2018, sixth form Psychology students from the school took part in the Society Zone. Head of Psychology Lesley tells us how the activity supported her students’ progression and taught them the real-life applications of their subject.

Why apply for I’m a Scientist?

Lesley regularly takes part in the I’m a Scientist activity to open her students’ eyes to psychology beyond the limitations of the A Level curriculum. “Students can get bogged down in memorising facts and not see the bigger picture,” she says, “particularly in A Level, with so much theory based learning.”

Using the activity with sixth form students

With sixth form students being more independent than younger classes, Lesley introduces the activity a week before their chat lesson and has them spend time engaging with the psychologists during their personal study. Students prepare by reading psychologists’ profiles, posting questions in the Ask section and preparing questions for the class live chat. Lesley’s students cast their Vote for who they want to win the competition straight after their chat. When it comes to using valuable lesson time on the activity, Lesley says “the benefits of the chat far outweigh the time you spend on it.”

Practical applications of curriculum content

Through the I’m a Scientist activity, Lesley’s students learnt about the process of carrying out research, something that is vital to aid their understanding of the research methods unit in their Psychology A Level. Students were able to explore different areas of psychology by chatting to the psychologists about their work, which, in the Society Zone, ranged from researching conspiracy theories to the language we use to talk about alcohol use.

Real people, real jobs

I’m a Scientist tackles current stereotypes by showing students that psychologists are a diverse bunch, not all old men as some textbooks could lead them to believe! Lesley’s students found they could relate to the psychologists in their zone and really engaged with the opportunity to speak with real psychologists currently working in the field. “Students read about studies in books but don’t see those researchers as actual people — the idea they can speak to a real psychologist through this activity kinda blows their mind!”

Whole-school benefits

Lesley’s students really enjoy taking part in I’m a Scientist, and word of the activity spreads around the school. “It’s a great experience and the students are very engaged… Seeing our A Level students get this opportunity encourages lower school students to stay with us into the sixth form.”

Supporting progression and careers guidance
For Lesley’s school, the timing of the June event is ideal. “It’s perfect as students come back after mock exams and are thinking about their next steps and starting university applications. Connecting with real psychologists helps them decide what they’ll do next year and into the future.”

With the full range of A*-E grade abilities in her psychology classes, it was important for Lesley’s students to find out about a range of careers within psychology. “It was good for them to see not all psychologists are lecturers or have PhDs, and that there is a range of levels of career. For those who love psychology and want to pursue it, this gives them an idea of what they can do other than teaching.”


To show your A-Level students the ‘bigger picture’ through I’m a Scientist activities, register your interest at imascientist.org.uk/teachers, or contact admin@imascientist.org.uk for more information.

Already registered? Don’t forget to apply for the next event – we email registered teachers when applications open (about 2 months before the event starts).

Posted on July 16, 2018 modamy in Case Study, News, Teacher Quote, Teachers | Comments Off on Showing students the ‘bigger picture’ at A Level

Showing students the relevance of their learning

“Doing something engaging like this creates a more well-rounded education and my students have now seen real-life applications of curriculum content.” — Lucy, Maths Teacher at Cornelius Vermuyden School, Canvey Island

 


Only a small proportion of students at Cornelius Vermuyden School aspire to go to university or move out of the local area, and many don’t see the point in what they study in school. Lucy tells us how their involvement in I’m an Engineer helped them see the importance of maths and broaden their horizons.

Why apply for I’m an Engineer

Many of Lucy’s students don’t see the relevance of maths, and engaging and motivating them can be challenging: “Some have very low aspirations, so convincing them they need a pass in maths for their future — let alone showing them how the maths content relates to their lives — can be difficult.”

Lucy wanted to give her students an awareness of careers and what engineers actually do to open their minds. “I really wanted to broaden horizons from their tunnel vision and, often insular, island mentality.”

What did students do?

Lucy introduced her class to the I’m an Engineer website and set them homework to log in, research the engineers and come up with some questions they could ask. After some preparation, they took part in an online live chat with engineers, having a two-way conversation in real time. Following their live chat lesson, Lucy kept students engaged throughout the two-weeks of I’m an Engineer by looking at the site for a few minutes at the end of their lessons.

Showing students the relevance of curriculum content

Through I’m an Engineer, Lucy gained real, tangible examples to show her students the application of the maths they are learning. These examples and links with the engineers’ projects helped students appreciate the relevance and value of maths. “When teaching about drawing or using compasses, I can now say ‘that engineer had to design the robotic hand before they made it and getting the proportions correct would have been very important.’ This is helpful in engaging students in the maths we learn.”

Raising aspirations and broadening horizons

Lucy was surprised at how much the students engaged with each engineer’s area of work and how this fed into their own career plans. “They were really interested in the different projects the engineers were working on — they started to think about what they wanted to do in the future and wanted to find out more.”

Lucy’s students now have a much broader understanding of what engineers do. “At the start, lots of them thought engineers were people who fixed lifts or cars, but they’ve broadened their views about what engineering jobs can involve. Many students are now interested in what they could do or build as an engineer.”


To show your students the relevance of their learning through I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer activities, register your interest at imascientist.org.uk/teachers and imanengineer.org.uk/teachers, or contact admin@imascientist.org.uk for more information.

Already registered? Don’t forget to apply for the next event – we email registered teachers when applications open (about 2 months before the event starts).

Posted on July 13, 2018 modamy in Case Study, News, School, Teacher Quote, Teachers | Comments Off on Showing students the relevance of their learning

Changing attitudes across a whole year group

“Organising the event for the whole of year 8 meant that everyone could enjoy the benefits” – Polly, Science teacher at Willows High School, Cardiff


Willows High School, a mixed comprehensive school in a challenging quarter of Cardiff, took part in the I’m a Scientist activity in March 2018 with two classes. The school participated again in June 2018, this time with a whole year group. Polly tells us how having an entire year involved helped increase aspirations across the school and showed students that doing well in school has a far-reaching impact.

Why apply for I’m a Scientist?

Following the Winter holidays, Polly wanted a way to re-invigorate staff and students. Students were completing work in class but lacked ways to engage with science beyond school. A close friend recommended the I’m a Scientist programme and she leapt at the opportunity. Her students’ engagement was impressive: “A part of me worried that the pupils would misuse the opportunity, but I was really proud of the thought-provoking discussions they started.”

Next step: whole year group participation

Pleased with her students’ enthusiasm for science after taking part, Polly knew she had to do it again. “My Head of Department saw tweets about the calibre of questions my students were asking. Very soon, senior leadership wanted it to be rolled out for the entire year group”

“The most challenging part of organising it for the entire year was the booking of live chats on the behalf of other staff. I had to sit down for about an hour with printed copies of timetables. But, in that time I scheduled all ten classes. The resources were already available, so it wasn’t that much of a commitment at all considering the size of the event”

Focused students and positive attitudes

Following I’m a Scientist, teachers at Polly’s school have noticed students are calmer and more focused on their studies. “They understand more now how science relates to their future”, Polly comments. “Hearing a scientist say ‘qualifications matter’ really hammered the point home”

Students’ perceptions of STEM careers aren’t always positive. I’m a Scientist helped to change that stigma. “By discussing careers with real scientists, the pupils saw how hard work would make them ideal candidates for a fulfilling career – A Levels and University pay off”

Shifting the culture and ethos

The greater the number of students that take part, the greater the benefit to ethos and attitude. “Different classes had similar experiences and wanted to discuss it. They’d leave the lesson talking about it. They’d discuss it in the corridors; during form time; on the playground. It was inspiring to see the next generation develop a keen interest in such meaningful topics”


To help change your students’ attitudes through I’m a Scientist activities, register your interest at imascientist.org.uk/teachers or contact admin@imascientist.org.uk for more information.

Already registered? Don’t forget to apply for the next event – we email registered teachers when applications open (about 2 months before the event starts).

Posted on July 12, 2018 modamy in Case Study, News, School, Teacher Quote, Teachers | Comments Off on Changing attitudes across a whole year group

Engaging disengaged students with I’m a Scientist

Some students don’t like science lessons. Maybe they don’t see the point, maybe they don’t think they’re good at science, maybe they used to love science but have been put off by the stress and pressure of exams. Whatever the reason these students don’t engage, here are 3 ways I’m a Scientist can help.

1. Enthuse and engage students

In I’m a Scientist, students lead the conversation and genuinely connect with the scientists taking part. Teachers often tell us how well their class engaged with the activity or how their classroom had a real “buzz”, especially during the live chat session.

A number of teachers have also been surprised by specific students who aren’t usually “into” science.

2. Improve motivation to learn – long term

Taking part helps students see how science is relevant to them; students’ science capital is increased and they begin to see science as ‘something for me’. Having a higher science capital makes it more likely for your students to continue studying science at a higher level. The Science Capital Teaching Approach helps students share personal experiences, and find their value and links to science content.

Teachers often notice greater lesson engagement and improved learning after taking part in I’m a Scientist.

3. Give your quiet students a voice

Perhaps the “disengaged” student isn’t actually disengaged, just shy or spoken over by others in the group. Unlike face-to-face interactions, in I’m a Scientist students voices all have the same “volume”, providing them with a level playing field. The text-based live chats are fast paced but everyone gets their say and quieter students get the chance to shine.


Apply for your students to take part

Trying to engage your students to make the most of science? Help them find their enthusiasm and motivation through I’m a Scientist activities; register your interest at imascientist.org.uk/teachers or contact admin@imascientist.org.uk for more information.

Already registered? Don’t forget to apply for the next event – we email registered teachers when applications open (about 2 months before the event starts).

Posted on May 25, 2018 modkatie in News, School, Science Engagement, Scientist Quote, Teacher Quote, Teachers | Comments Off on Engaging disengaged students with I’m a Scientist

The students were thrilled they were talking to real life engineers and they were responding to them individually. The excitement when their question was answered was fantastic! This sort of opportunity doesn’t arrive easily.

Teacher, March 2017

Posted on April 4, 2017 modantony in Quote, Teacher Quote | Tagged | Comments Off on

The children here refused to leave until the result was announced!! And what a commotion when the winner’s name came up – worse than X Factor….Great to see children so excited about Science.

Teacher, November 2016

Posted on February 10, 2017 modantony in Quote, Teacher Quote | Tagged | Comments Off on

My school is absolutely buzzing about ‘I’m a scientist’. Children are spending hours at home looking at questions. They don’t want to go out for lunch, so they can spend time on it!

Teacher, I’m a Scientist, March 2016

Posted on March 30, 2016 modangela in Quote, Teacher Quote | Comments Off on

Both my classes did their chat sessions this morning, while they are usually fairly apathetic about anything they don’t have to do, they surprised themselves by getting interested.  That alone is impressive.

The best thing is that they have seen (and were talking afterwards) about how so-and-so likes cats, and that guy is a musicians as well, and so on. Scientists are normal people who like pizza, but are also really into finding things out.  Actually quite like the students, really.  I guess that’s the point of the exercise, but it’s good to see.

Teacher, I’m a Scientist June 2015

Posted on September 17, 2015 Moderator - Josh in Quote, Teacher Quote | Comments Off on

The pupils loved the live chats, they still can’t believe they were ‘allowed’ to talk to real scientists!!

Teacher, I’m a Scientist, March 2015

Posted on September 17, 2015 Moderator - Josh in Quote, Teacher Quote | Comments Off on