Category Archives: Teachers

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

Increasing students’ confidence with I’m a Scientist

“Many of our students lack confidence in their academic ability so they were buzzing when they realised they can hold their own in a conversation with intelligent, educated people and this helped them realise they are all scientists too!” – Julia Anderson, FE College Biology Lecturer


This general further education college is split across 3 sites in a large, post-industrial, non-university town. Students at the college took part in the I’m a Scientist Immune System and Genes Zones in March 2018. Julia tells us how meaningful engagement with the scientists increased her students’ confidence.

Why apply for I’m a Scientist?

One of the key things Julia is addressing with her students is their confidence issues: “Our students come to us lacking confidence. They’re doing A Level qualifications, but because they’re at FE college rather than a Sixth Form, they think they’re ‘2nd class’ and they really aren’t. I wanted to show them how worthy they are.”

Julia also wanted to get her students more involved in science so being able to connect them directly with scientists through the activity was another key incentive to apply: “They get unbridled access to scientists they wouldn’t normally get to talk to.”

What did the students do?

Students prepared by logging in to look around site and read scientists’ profiles. “We had a class discussion about how each scientist related to the A Level curriculum and debated the sort of questions students might want to ask ready for their live chat with the scientists.” Having access to the site for the full two weeks was helpful for Julia’s students to prepare and follow up either side of their live chat. “We finished with a de-brief lesson, talking about what was useful, what interested the students and their thoughts about the scientists as people.”

Growing students’ confidence

For Julia, the biggest benefit of the activity was improving her students’ confidence. “It was so good for them to see they can hold their own in a conversation with intelligent and educated people who have studied these topics for 10 years. They were buzzing and so excited to be talking to scientists and not sounding like idiots!” Taking part in I’m a Scientist not only helped Julia’s students gain confidence in their abilities, it helped them “realise they are all scientists too!”

Engaging students in a 2-way conversation

“Students and scientists were on fire, sending questions back and forth throughout the chats.” Julia explains how this 2-way interaction differs from a recent face-to-face where her students wouldn’t speak up; “we went to a university event and I was trying to get students to talk to the scientists and find out more about their work. They were too shy, saying things like ‘what if they don’t want to talk to me?’ There was none of that in the I’m a Scientist live chat. No fear from students that scientists would be too busy to talk to them, they were really comfortable.”

Improving social mobility

One of Julia’s students, from a deprived working class town he wishes to leave, was particularly interested in the background of the scientists; “the first thing he wanted to know was where the scientists went to school, was it state or private?” Participating scientists are selected to ensure a range of backgrounds and routes into science are represented. Julia’s student initially switched off from one scientist who attended private school but soon changed his mind, “when the scientist explained that the majority of students on his undergraduate course were from state schools, my student could relate to this academic route.” Julia managed to talk this student out of leaving college part way through his qualifications “I felt if he did, he would never leave the town he wants to leave. The scientists in this activity had varied backgrounds and he was content with that, it helped him see you can grow up working class, on a low income and get ahead.”


To help your students gain confidence in their abilities 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 14, 2018 modkatie in Case Study, Evaluation, News, School, Teachers, Widening Participation | Comments Off on Increasing students’ confidence with I’m a Scientist

Using I’m a Scientist to increase participation in higher education

“Traditionally, not many of our students go on to university. I’m a Scientist helps by allowing students to relate to scientists and helping them see the value of studying at a higher level.” – Mark McNally, Science Teacher

 


A mixed 2-19 academy, where over two thirds of the school population are students from disadvantaged backgrounds, took part in I’m a Scientist in March 2018. Mark tells us how the activity helped interest his students in science careers and consider higher education.

Why apply for I’m a Scientist?

Despite a good attitude to learning among the students, not many go on to higher education; something the school is working to improve. Mark explains how he wanted to challenge his students’ preconceptions of scientists and help them consider studying science at a higher level; “I wanted to show our students science is not just for ‘weird people with crazy hair and lab coats’ and help them find interest in things going on now in science to increase the chance of them pursuing STEM subjects in the future.”

What did the students do?

The activity was covered in three lessons led by the class teacher across a two week period. Students started by considering how to judge the competing scientists, then got to know them using their profiles and asking questions on the site. The final lesson involved an online chat where students typed their questions and responses to scientists in real time before voting for their favourite scientist.

Did it work?

Mark agrees that I’m a Scientist helps raise students’ science capital, increasing the likelihood of them studying STEM subjects or using science in their future professions. “Raising awareness of a variety of careers they can go into and getting them in contact with scientists helps students see it’s something they could do.”

Opening students’ minds to higher education

I’m a Scientist provided an opportunity for Mark’s students to engage with science professionals who have studied at a high level, helping to open students’ minds to options they may not have otherwise considered. “I think one of the main barriers for our students is that not many come from families with an academic background so they don’t often consider academic routes,” explains Mark, “through this activity, my students connected with academic people and found out about things that interest them in terms of a future career, so they are more likely to pursue an academic route.”

”Even if students don’t want a career in STEM, they can now see the value of studying at a higher level and if they do want a career in STEM, this activity helped cement that for them.”

Satisfying quieter students’ curiosity

Mark’s students developed knowledge and understanding on current scientific topics, “I’m a Scientist allowed the students to engage with the kind of science that’s going on right now in the world.” Mark also told us of the importance for his students to be able to ask whatever they liked throughout the activity, “for a lot of students, I’m a Scientist was about satisfying their curiosity. It’s important because they have so many questions and they don’t always ask, especially the quieter students, but using this platform allows them to get their questions addressed.”


To support your students in considering higher education through I’m a Scientist activities, register your interest here: 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 2, 2018 modkatie in Case Study, Evaluation, News, Teachers, Widening Participation | Comments Off on Using I’m a Scientist to increase participation in higher education

Providing STEM opportunities for distant schools

“As we are a remote rural community we do not have a huge variety of careers on our doorstep but these events help to bring them closer to pupils. More students should be getting these funded opportunities across the UK.” – Emily Tulloch, Science teacher on the island of Unst.


The most northerly school in the UK is located in one of our most distant areas in the Shetland Isles. Emily tells us how I’m a Scientist allowed her remote students to explore a range of STEM careers and increased motivation to learn science.

Why apply for I’m a Scientist?

“For me, it’s all about increasing Science Capital.” Emily often tries to provide STEM opportunities in school, particularly to help students broaden their understanding of careers, but it can be a challenge. “The STEM ambassador programme is great and we have a number of ambassadors based in Shetland. However there are significant barriers for them to reach the school – it can take almost a day to visit for a 1 hour talk and of course there’s the cost implication too.”

The school often rely on parents to demonstrate different careers to students “we’re lucky that our community is so supportive and parents working in STEM are very willing to visit the school, although the variety of careers is still limited on our island”. Emily wanted to use I’m a Scientist to increase the range of STEM roles her students find out about.

What did the students do?

The 17 students in S1-3 (Year 7-9) took part in the Molecule Zone this March. They read scientists’ profiles and posted questions to scientists on the site throughout the 2 weeks. Students also took part in a 30 minute live chat session where they typed their questions and responses to scientists online in real time.

Emily used the activity to connect to curriculum areas and the careers work going on in school. “It’s a broad activity so easy to link to something we’re doing or have just covered in class. I also tie I’m a Scientist into My World of Work, which our students access to find out where they could study the course or the career steps required for their preferred role.”

Did it work?

Being online, I’m a Scientist provided a chance for Emily’s students to connect with scientists in a large variety of roles, generating interest in STEM careers without the need to travel. “They see different careers we don’t have in the local area by chatting with scientists all across the globe…There are lots of young people who live in remote areas compared to the rest of UK and they should all get same opportunities; this activity allowed me to provide this at no cost to the school.”

Emily also told us how involvement in the activity has improved science learning in her classes “It’s engaging and stimulating for students to actually speak to live scientists doing real-life science and discuss what they think might happen in the future. When students are engaged and start to see the real life impact of a subject, they’re more enthusiastic about it – I noticed an increased motivation to learn following I’m a Scientist.”

What else did students gain?

Asking questions to the scientists allowed Emily’s students to “develop essential literacy and communication skills, particularly in the live chat where they have to consider how to engage in a group conversation” whilst “researching the scientists helped them learn how to find information online.”

Emily also commented on how the activity is good for students’ health and wellbeing, by using the internet chats as a relevant educational tool “students like communicating in this way online and this activity helps promote positive online communication and staying safe online, rather than fighting against social media and similar technology in school.”

What would you say to a teacher who is hesitant to take part?

“Give it a go – it’s amazing and you don’t realise the full impact before you take part but afterwards, you realise how hugely beneficial it is, especially for students in rural communities. The whole process has knock on effects for your science teaching as students are more engaged. It’s very stimulating for science and every pupil should have access to it.”


Distant (under-served) schools are given priority places in I’m a Scientist. To support your students in exploring a range of STEM careers with I’m a Scientist activities, register your interest here: imascientist.org.uk/teachers or contact katie@mangorol.la 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 April 6, 2018 modkatie in Case Study, Evaluation, News, Teachers, Widening Participation | Comments Off on Providing STEM opportunities for distant schools

Broadening horizons for students in a deprived area

“It was a really easy project to engage with for both children and teachers; it only took me about 30 minutes to prepare for all 3 lessons. I was pleasantly surprised with just how excited students were to get responses from serious adults about their work and the adults’ interests.” – Vicky Heslop, Year 6 teacher


A junior school that meets our widening participation criteria took part in the Climate Zone of I’m a Scientist for the first time in March 2018 with their three Year 6 classes. The activity broadened student aspirations, improved enquiry skills and challenged their perceptions of scientists.

Why apply for I’m a Scientist?

The school is in a small town with low levels of aspiration and social mobility where very few young people go on to higher education. 47.5% of students at the school qualify for Pupil Premium funding and the proportion of free school meals eligible students is over twice the national average.

Teachers were finding it difficult to promote working scientifically skills and to support students in developing an enquiring attitude within the curriculum. “We wanted to provide a broader experience of what science is and to increase student aspirations,” says Vicky.

What did students do?

The activity was spread across 3 lessons on different days which Vicky felt was “particularly good for the anxious students in Year 6, allowing them to ‘take a break’ from SATs preparations with something that was still a valuable use of time.” Students started by considering how to judge the scientists, then got to know them using their profiles and asking questions on the site. The final lesson involved an online chat where students typed their questions and responses to scientists online in real time. “Connecting with the scientists online provided an opportunity to have positive social contact with adults in roles they wouldn’t normally have contact with,” observed Vicky.

Did it work?

Vicky told us science has become more relevant and attainable for students and how their aspirations have broadened to include science – “After the live chat, students were telling me how they’d like to become scientists.”

Students’ perceptions of scientists have changed as a result of taking part – “I thought scientists were boring but now I think they’re AWESOME!” – Year 6 student

What else did students gain?

“Students developed oracy skills,” says Vicky “and the ability to ask appropriate questions.” Vicky also explained how the school has had issues with inappropriate use of instant messaging and how I’m a Scientist was “a great way to demonstrate a positive use of this technology,” helping students learn appropriate online etiquette.

When asked if she’ll take part next year, Vicky says “I hope to and I’ll be telling the other teachers about the activity as it’s such a good one for our students.”


If you’d like to broaden your students’ aspirations with I’m a Scientist activities, register your interest here: imascientist.org.uk/teachers

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 March 27, 2018 modkatie in Case Study, Evaluation, Teachers, Widening Participation | Comments Off on Broadening horizons for students in a deprived area

Increasing demand and charges for independent schools

Demand for our activities has been slowly increasing. We regularly have more classes requested than we are able to accommodate and we have to limit the number of classes we offer teachers. In November 2015, for the first time we had to start turning down teachers, unable to limit classes to a point where every teacher who applied could be given a place.

This increasing demand for classes has lead us to prioritise schools where we believe our activities can add the most value, where online STEM engagement can make the most difference.

Most of our funders are prioritising underserved audiences. For us that means schools that traditionally don’t send many students on to Higher Education or are located disadvantageously for STEM engagement activities. Sadly this means that some schools who have been able to take up places in the past will not be able to take part without additional funding.

Beginning with the June 2016 events, fee paying schools can choose to pay £100, for every class of students, in order to guarantee participation in the event. This money will go towards providing additional zones.

We’re aware that some of the teachers who have participated the most in the past will be affected by this change. We truly hope that you will be able to take part. In order to guarantee your spaces please email michaela@mangorol.la.

 

Posted on April 11, 2016 Moderator - Josh in Capacity, General, News, Project News, School, Science Education, Teachers | Comments Off on Increasing demand and charges for independent schools

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 | Comments Off on How does I’m a Scientist change students’ perceptions of science?

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 | Comments Off on What criteria do students judge scientists on?

SLC Future Engagement Project Poll

Rank these possible features with the most important at the top.

Posted on July 11, 2013 ModShane in Teachers | Comments Off on SLC Future Engagement Project Poll