Hi everyone, here’s a summary of how the March 2009 event went (PDF download). I was supposed to write a couple of pages so of course it’s 12 pages long (I’m the same with cooking – if I have a couple of friends round I make enough food for ten and we’re eating leftover curry ’til thursday…). Fortunately Shane (my boss) is busy being terribly important in London running his G20 bloggers tent, and hanging out with Bob Geldof (pictured), so he can’t tell me off about it. What we found was pretty similar to the pilot (but it’s important to check everything is still working:-)). One of my favourite quotes was the one I used as the title. Students were over and over amazed that ‘scientists are just like real people’, and that they were taking time to talk to young people. They also couldn’t quite get over that … Continue reading
I’ve been intrigued today by this piece of research. To summarize (for those of you who don’t feel like clicking), researchers looking at behaviour in Przewalski horses found that in groups with low adult/young ratios “young horses were more aggressive and more segregated from adults and they established tighter bonds with other young.” The scientists go on to speculate. “Tighter bonds between young in groups with low proportions of adults could be a factor which decreases the attention paid to adults and probably reduces their influence as regulators of the behaviour of young, in particular their aggressive behaviour.” Of course this mimics the environment we artificially create for our young people, in schools. I have often thought that it’s odd the way we lock children away from the rest of society and designate a small number of adults to interact with them, while the rest of the adult world effectively … Continue reading
The results are in! Huge congratulations to the winner of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! 2009: Gillian Hamilton! Gillian will use the £500 prize money to help communicate her research to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust conference in London. Gillian says: “It’s been really great to chat to so many folk about my work and to be able to give them information about what a real scientist actually does in the lab and how to get there too. I didn’t really plan to end up where I am but it’s all worked out. So I’m glad they were interested in my work and what I do!” Well done to Mark Roberts, who came in second place, and to all the scientists for their great work. And… biggest thanks of all to the students for working hard, asking questions, and chatting… The students are the stars! We couldn’t have … Continue reading
We’re almost halfway through! Two scientists – Christine Cooper and Scott Grandison – are already gone, and the others are shaking in their boots. Who will the students evict next?
Our next I’m a Scientist event is about to start on Monday and we’re all very excited/tired. The site is up and running, and next week the scientists and the students start talking (and the students start voting). Teachers have been introducing their classes to the event this week, and doing some of the preparatory lessons to get the students thinking. The IVF debate (teachers can download lesson materials from here for free) is still a big favourite, ‘my 6th form did the IVF debate today … their response….. can we do another …. just as successful as least year! I love it … it is so simple to use and the kids love the role play.’ The scientists taking part this month are:- Gillian Hamilton University of Edinburgh I am looking at the genetic differences between people and whether these can result in a person developing Alzheimer’s disease. Mark … Continue reading
Student access codes and teacher lesson packs for this year’s event are in the post. Teachers, watch your mailboxes! We’re running another instalment of “I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here!” to support National Science and Engineering Week. Our event runs 2nd-13th March, and we’re working hard to repeat last year’s success. The IAS event site will be live very soon, and our first eviction will be on 6th March. It looks like we’ll have another great event. I’m particularly excited about our new team of scientists, so look forward to hearing from them right here on the blog. Thanks again, everyone, for your hard work. Hope you enjoy the next event!
“I’m a Scientist” wins Sciencewise People’s Choice Award, and the new I’m a Scientist event starts next week Continue reading
Sorry, the posts are coming thick and fast at the moment – it’s all go here! (And Bradford on Avon’s been flooded, meaning the sandwich shop is shut, so we are coping without proper sustenance:-)) Anyway, I’m pleased as punch about our latest news, so I’m inflicting it on you, dear readers, my apologies to your inboxes. The National Science Learning Centre (in the form of Miranda Stephenson, who’s been really helpful) has given us their official backing, in the form of a lovely letter praising our project and urging people to support it financially (click here to download and read the letter!). For those of you who don’t know, the NSLC are like the headquarters for science teaching being as good as possible:- “The aim of the national network of Science Learning Centres is to promote excellent science teaching by reconnecting teachers with the frontiers of their subject and the … Continue reading
Voting closes TODAY in the ”People’s choice award’ in science engagement’ from People and Participation.net. I’m a Scientist is one of the projects up for the award. Obviously, I don’t want to be guilty of vote-rigging, you can have a look and vote for whichever project you think is best, but please, please, please vote for us:-) We believe that IAS empowers young people and helps to give them the skills and confidence to engage in discussions around science and technology. The other projects up for the award are all specific consultations, which are very worthwhile, but we think that giving young people the skills and, importantly, the confidence, to discuss their views has a much bigger long term effect on public engagement. To expand on that a bit, there’s a lot of talk in youth and public engagement circles about the ‘Ladder of Participation’, this is (very roughly) the … Continue reading
Well, it’s all getting very hectic here and the March event is hurtling towards us. So I thought I’d leave off messing about with sexy scientists and write about proper work today. Here’s a round up of where we are for the March event. Classes 15 schools have so far said they want to take part, meaning about 40 classes. Places are very limited, but if we are lucky with sponsorship there may be space for more classes, so do get in touch if you are a teacher and would like your students to learn loads, develop their higher thinking skills, and look forward to their science lessons. Or it’s not too early to register for the June event. Funding Overall, it’s looking promising finding long term funding, in that everyone who knows their stuff that we talk to, immediately gets the event, gets why it works and why it’s … Continue reading
I was at a book launch at the Science Museum on Monday night. An old lecturer of mine, Graham Farmelo, has written a fascinating biography of Paul Dirac, a somewhat forgotten hero of quantum physics. I’ve never been to a book launch before (before you all start thinking I’m attending a constant round of glamorous parties) so it was all very exciting. Apparently what I should have worn to fit in was a black suit and a beard, but hey, I’ll know next time. The canapés on sticks were good. Anyway, I ended up getting chatting to a guy called Tim, who was very funny, and his similarly scurrilous friend (whose name I typically failed to transfer to long term storage). I discovered afterwards that Tim was Prof Tim Molloy, Head of Creative Direction for the Science Museum. Not quite sure what that means, but it sounds very sweeping. I … Continue reading
Yep, I recently became even more high-tech and with it, and set up an I’m a Scientist twitter account. I’ll be posting my conference updates there, if you want to know what you are missing out on. So far I’ve been to a couple of interesting sessions:-), failed to get a free conference bag:-(, and got pretty cold :-/.
I’m now off to the ASE conference on Friday. If any of you are going then give me a shout. Or any suggestions for a newbie on ‘must do’ things gratefully received. I’ll take a photo, if I remember, and do a post about what I found out when I get back.
Firstly, one of our nice teachers from the pilot has asked me to help publicise another ‘webchats with scientists’ project:-
We got a great response to our request for suggestions on who to approach for funding – thanks everyone! Suggestions included Learned Societies and Institutes, companies, charities and public bodies like NESTA, SETpoints and the SLC. Some of these people I did contact when we were originally looking for funding for the pilot, but didn’t get very far. Pretty much everyone said they didn’t have any money, but suggested we tried the Wellcome Trust People Awards (who came up trumps). However, now we have a tried and tested event it should be a different proposition. Hopefully. I keep reading about how there’s going to be a skills gap, young people are being turned off science and technology and everyone wants to invest in projects to combat this, and all I can think is, “We can do it! Give us some money!”.
During I’m a Scientist students voted and decided which scientist they wanted to give £500 to. It’s very powerful that the event gives young people a real say about something: it makes the whole thing much more real and vivid and makes them feel important. As one student said, “[I liked best] how it was totally up to us and not influenced by adults.”
The event evaluation report is now nearly finished. Sorry for a bit of a hiatus while we were running I’m a Councillor (just because we’ve got our new IAS baby, doesn’t mean we can neglect our first born:-)). We hope to get the evaluation report online some time next week (plus a summary – the whole thing is over 100 pages long. Even I don’t think anyone will want to read all of it, beautifully crafted prose though it is). The extremely short version is that everyone loved it and every single teacher and scientist who responded said they would recommend the event to a colleague. Even the teachers who got it dumped on them at the last minute loved it.
Just to let you all know that now that schools are back, we’ve posted out I’m a Scientist mugs to all the teachers who took part in the pilot event. They are just a little thank you for your support and the effort you put in to make the event a success. We really couldn’t have done it without you. Hope you like them! Feel free to liven up the blog by sending us photos of yourselves with your mugs:-) Here in the office we’re busy getting ready for ‘I’m a Councillor, Get me out of Here!’, which will be in October, for Local Democracy Week. I’m a Councillor is the event I’m a Scientist is based on, and we’ve been running it for five years now. If any of you know Citizenship or Politics teachers who might be interested in the event, then point them in the direction of … Continue reading
A crateload of very stylish “I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here” mugs just arrived at Gallomanor HQ. Mugs are on the way, as a small thank you present, to scientists, teachers, and friends of IAS. More info (and pictures) after the cut. In other news, the final evaluation report is nearly finished and will be available soon.
BBC Radio Oxford interviewed Dr. Liv Hibbitt this week. You can listen to the interview, hear all about Liv’s experience of I’m a Scientist, her gene therapy research, who could beat Chuck Norris in a fight, and find out why Marmite is better in New Zealand. Cheers, Liv! If you can’t listen to MP3s on your computer, drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a written transcript of the interview. Audio courtesy of BBC Oxford 95.2FM. Their website is www.bbc.co.uk/oxford Click here to listen (apologies for last week’s broken link… it works now, honest!)