Category Archives: 2018

Climate Zone Report – March 2018

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The Climate Zone was supported by Wellcome and specifically for students in Year 6 and Year 7. In this zone, we worked with a PhD researcher who will be analysing the language of the questions asked to find out what students think about the climate. Because of this, we asked teachers not to brief their class on the climate before taking part. We edited the questions on the profiles of the scientists to try and prompt students to think about the climate, and within chats moderators encouraged students to stay on topic.

Six scientists took part in the zone: Stephen is a Climate and Environmental Specialist for the United Nations, Stephanie, the winner of the zone, is looking for ways to improve wind turbines to make renewable energy cheaper and Rehemat is studying 50 million year old plankton fossils to see how they lived through climate change. Christopher writes computer code that generates weather forecasts, Caroline is a social scientist studying the public’s attitudes to climate change and Aileen is a PhD student looking at how fungi react to extra greenhouse gases to predict how forests will grow in the future.

 

Posted on April 17, 2018 modmichaela in 2018, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Enquiry Zone Report – March 2018

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The Enquiry Zone was supported by Wellcome and was for Year 6 students to work with scientists to develop a citizen science project. The scientists involved each suggested a research idea which they refined with the students in the live chats and ASK section, and students then voted for the project they most wanted to carry out at their school.

Sakshi wanted to work with students to find out how boys and girls are different from each other, Martin’s experiment idea was to measure the breath of students and see if that could tell us how students feel during the day and Luke wanted to find out what students think about regenerative medicine and stem cells. Jennifer, the winner of this zone, proposed a project that would look at how much primary school students knew about their own bodies and Dan wanted to find out whether students were able to pace themselves during physical activity.

This was the second Enquiry Zone we have run, and this time we changed the scientists’ profile questions so they could focus on the aims and method of their experiment ideas. As with the Enquiry Zone we ran last March, the best chats were those where students had been briefed by their teacher beforehand and had had a chance to discuss the scientists’ experiment ideas before meeting them.

As the event went on, all of the scientists improved how they spoke to students within the live chats and learnt to prompt the students with questions about their projects to engage them in conversation.

 

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Genes Zone Report – March 2018

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The Genes Zone was a themed zone supported by Wellcome. Yinka is studying the DNA of cows in Africa to improve the amount of milk they can produce, Stéphane is researching the effect different lifestyles have on human sperm quality and Matt is a bioinformatician making pictures to explain patterns in gut microbes. Juhi is a PhD student researching genetic causes of pregnancy complications, Gemma teaches NHS staff about genetics and how it can help them provide better care for patients and David, the winner of this zone, is a postdoctoral research fellow studying the genetics of depression.

Students were very engaged with the zone theme and over 50% of questions in ASK were about science topics, relating to all things genetics. The scientists were great at explaining things in a way students could understand and often provided videos and links to support their answers.

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Immune System Zone Report – March 2018

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The Immune System Zone was supported by Wellcome. Sian is researching new medicines through microbial fermentation, Max (the winner of this zone) is a PhD student using gene editing to understand how white blood cells cause cancer and Lizzie works with biotech companies to help them communicate information about diseases to doctors. Francis is a post-doctoral researcher finding out how we can use a patient’s immune cells to fight cancer, Ben works in an immunology lab finding new ways to help people with arthritis and Ashlea is a PhD student studying how the immune system works and how it can go wrong.

This zone had the highest number of questions asked (897) and approved (489) out of all the zones in March’s event, with students engaging well with the topic and wanting to find out more about the scientists’ work. There was an even mix of questions about science topics, how science works and careers.

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Space Data Zone Report – March 2018

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The Space Data Zone was funded by the UK Space Agency. Tim, the winner of this zone, is a PhD student investigating waves that happen over and inside the sun, Stephen is using space telescopes to find out how the first stars formed and Sammie is using data from satellites to work out how much sea ice is in the Arctic. Rachel is looking water supply in the environment using information from satellites, Mark is a PhD student studying the most ancient light in the universe and Lisa uses radars, cameras and rockets to find out how the magnetic fields of the Sun and the Earth interact.

Students in this zone engaged really well with the zone theme, with lots of interest in space and the work of the scientists. Lisa took part in the event from where she lives and works in Svalbard, and students were interested in what it was like to live there.

Posted on April 17, 2018 modmichaela in 2018, UKSA, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Americium Zone Report – March 2018

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The Americium Zone was a general science zone supported by Wellcome, with six scientists all working in different areas. Walaa is a PhD student studying bee behaviour, Sophie, the winner of the zone, is a PhD student looking at human impact on the climate and Sarah is an air quality specialist predicting future air quality levels. Gabriel is a biomedical scientist working with doctors to find out which patients need a pacemaker, Breandan is a Geohazard Specialist working out where it is safe to build on a seabed and Adam is working on a new vaccine for malaria.

This zone had the highest number of students logging in – over 600 – out off all the zones this March. Sophie, the winner of this zone, accounted for 64% of all live chat lines throughout the two weeks.

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Curium Zone Report – March 2018

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The Curium Zone was a general science zone supported by Wellcome, with six scientists all working in different areas. Matthew works for the Institute of Cancer research detecting cancer in blood, Kezia is a PhD student developing new solar cells and Jacque, the winner of this zone, is researching ways to increase the yields of nematodes to control insects on crops. Hazel is a geologist researching how people think and talk about geology, Fiona is a PhD student in mathematical biology finding out how our immune system can fight cancer and Daniel is a director of an environmental planning consultancy providing soil science advice.

The Curium Zone was quiet with a below average number of students logging in. This zone had a huge range of questions asked and 94% of students logged in were active in ASK, Chat or Vote – higher than the average for March’s zones.

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Molecule Zone Report – March 2018

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The Molecule Zone was a chemistry themed zone funded by ScotCHEM to provide places for schools in remote parts of Scotland and the north of England. Seven scientists took part from the seven major Chemistry research universities in Scotland. Shuo is a PhD student creating artificial human tissue, Neil (the winner of the zone) is a teaching fellow and researcher creating new functional molecules, Martin is an Astrochemist looking at how molecules control the universe and Leonie is a PhD student finding cheaper ways to create new compounds that can be used in medicine. Lauren is finding new ways to tackle diseases, Ciorsdaidh is a lecturer in organic chemistry who specialises in cancer research and Alan uses catalysts to make chemicals in an environmentally friendly way.

This was a quiet zone compared to the rest of the zones in March, with a lower than average number of students logging in (318). This could be because school sizes are generally smaller in remote areas, resulting in a smaller number of students in a class. There was also disruption for many schools in the area due to heavy snowfall the week before the event.

Posted on April 17, 2018 modmichaela in 2018, ScotCHEM, Zone Reports | Leave a comment