FREE event: Women Like Me – Boosting mentoring for women in STEM in the West of England

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As our Royal Academy of Engineering funded project, Women Like Me, draws to a close for this year, we are hosting a celebration event at UWE Bristol:

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

12-2 pm

1R26, R block, North Entrance, UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus

FREE

Sign up on Eventbrite

Women Like Me – Boosting mentoring for women in STEM in the West of England

The West of England is home to an impressive list of STEM industries, and all are working to improve participation for women in STEM. As well as recruiting more women into STEM, we also need to think about retaining our talented workforce. Mentoring Schemes can help to do just that, with research showing that mentoring from other experienced women is a key factor in creating a welcoming workplace culture.

This event brings together our leading players in women’s mentoring across the West of England, to explore how we can support each other and learn from best practice. Organised by UWE Bristol’s Women Like Me project for engineering mentoring, the network also connects with Women in Science and Engineering Bristol, the Women’s Engineering Society centenary and Curiosity Connections Bristol.

The event includes lunch and a keynote talk on women’s mentoring, followed by a workshop to develop further connections between mentoring schemes.

Please sign up to come and join us!

Sign your Pupils up to the Great Science Share

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Children from Years 4 to 8 from across the region are invited to share their own science investigations at the Great Science Share for Schools.

Image result for great science share

The aim of the Great Science Share is to nurture kids’ natural curiosity by providing an opportunity for them to pose a scientific question, plan a way to investigate their question, and then share their investigation with new audiences.  This promotes child-centred learning as well as giving children a chance to communicate their projects in a non-competitive, inclusive environment.

You can read more about the Great Science Share, access the inspiration wall and find out how you can support your class’ project on the annual campaign website. So have a read and sign up your class to take part in the Bristol and Bath event on Tuesday 18th June 10-2 pm, hosted by UWE Bristol (Frenchay Campus, BS34 8QZ).

Scientists and engineers from STEM research and industry will also be attending the free event – there to be inspired by your children’s fantastic questions and ideas, as well as to display cutting-edge technology from their industries.

Entry: Each ticket admits up to eight children with two adults. Each class can apply for a ticket, so schools can bring different groups from multiple classes. Home educators are also welcome with group displays.

UWE Bristol is hosting the Bristol and Bath Great Science Share in association with Curiosity Connections Bristol, Bath Spa University, and the Association for Science Education West.

Originally posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog, 22nd February 2019.

Free Solar Circuits Curriculum Activity

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Practical Action have a new STEM Challenge for children aged 8-14 years.The Solar Challenge is a free resource that covers the circuits National Curriculumrequirements. All the materials you need are provided, including a PPT, teacher’s guide, pupil notes and a poster. Check it out here: https://practicalaction.org/solar-challenge.

The challenge is based on Practical Action’s work in southern Zimbabwe, so doubles up as a great way to raise pupils awareness of global issues.Pupils build circuits using solar cells, then make decisions on the use of electrical appliances for a community in Zimbabwe who have a limited supply of electricity.It’s perfect for STEM clubs, transition and enrichment days, as well as supporting pupils’ learning about Sustainable Development Goals.The Solar Challenge is also linked to the Off-Grid Design Competition, which challenges pupils to develop a solar powered solution to address one of a number of problems.

The STEM challenges that Practical Action run can be used to gain a CREST Award.

Learn more about the CREST Award and the challenges Practical Action offer, here:

Originally posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog, 14th February 2o19.

Connected by Curiosity

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Our Curiosity Connections Conference took place at UWE Bristol on Saturday 2nd February 2019. We’ve already updated on our Women Like Me engineering outreach surgery that was embedded into the day; now you can find out how the rest of the packed event went in this conference report by Curiosity’s Project Coordinator Louisa Cockbill and Project Lead Laura Fogg-Rogers (originally posted by Louisa on the Curiosity Connections blog).

Despite all the snow falling in Bristol on the day before the conference, we were much relieved that roads were cleared in time for delegates to arrive on Saturday morning.

Looking at the feedback forms this morning we’re happy to find that everyone found the day a valuable collaborative opportunity as well as being informative, motivational and fun to boot.

In her introductory keynote, Louise Stubberfield who leads the Explorify project as Programme Manager of Primary Science Education at the Wellcome Trust, highlighted data gathered by the Trust showing how little science makes its way into the primary school classroom. One statistic that stood out, was how the UK  have longer school hours than other countries, yet spend less time on science.

Louise Stubberfield presents her keynote address

Louise applauded the teachers present for taking the time to do science education training, while also noting that this was on their own unpaid time. She also highlighted statistics that indicate training such as this significantly pushes science contact time up in their schools.

The keynote painted the uphill battle that science has to climb in primary schools. But Louise finished on a positive note by engaging everyone in a couple of Explorify activities, clearly demonstrating the ease by which these online resources can be deployed in the primary classroom.

The day then went into full swing with workshops and expo entertainment galore.

Matthew Tosh leads a workshop on confidence in presenting science in the classroom

One workshop inspired delegates in easy ways to incorporate science content into English and Maths lessons, while another built confidence in presenting science in the classroom, and still a third looked into how ideas around science capital can be built into lessons.

Becky Holmes from Science Made Simple gets some help in showcasing her activities

The Expo Showcase, which followed on from a lush lunch, was a highlight of the day, with representatives from Medical MavericksScience Made SimplePractical Action and Kids against Plastic, showcasing their activities.

The day finished with a little magic from Matthew Tosh, who showed us how a science “wow” can be very simple. And he also gave us a sneaky preview from a new demonstration he’s whipping together for a new show premiering at St. George’s Bristol on Sunday 17th Feb.

We wish to say a massive thank you to all of the speakers who took part in making the day so relevant, and of course thank you for delegates for taking part!

Stay tuned in to the blog in the next couple of weeks to see more photos from the event and to hear more about what some of our science communicator attendees are up to…

Female engineers come together for outreach surgery at Curiosity Connections 2019

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Curiosity ConnectionsWomen Like Me is a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious funded project. Curiosity Connections is a Bristol-based network for primary Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) teachers and science communicators, while Women Like Me pairs senior engineers with junior engineers for mentoring, with the junior engineers undertaking outreach activities with children and young people.

The Curiosity Connections Conference 2019 took place at UWE Bristol on 2nd February – more to follow about that! As well as the three fantastic workshop rotations on offer, we also provided an outreach surgery for our female engineers to come along, try out some outreach activities, talk through any thoughts they have about outreach and catch up with each other.

Run by Dr Laura Hobbs, research fellow in science communication at UWE Bristol and coordinator of Women Like Me, and Dr Debbie Lewis, technical team leader for molecular biology at UWE and experienced outreach leader, the session saw our engineers trying to cut A5 pieces of paper so that they could step through them (a fantastic resource provided by the Year of Engineering) and build towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows. We were also joined by our WISE Women Like Me partner Sarah Behenna, who was recently involved with the development of the new WISE resource My Skills My Life.

Credit: David Marshall (University of Bristol/Virtual Natural History Museum)

Such was the concentration and enthusiasm for the tasks – and encouraging and supportive atmosphere – that we decided to extend our scheduled 50 minute session to more than two hours, only stopping for lunch. Our endeavours with technical paper-cutting also caught the attention of exhibitors at the conference expo; the Virtual Natural History Museum stand soon became adorned with a perfectly-executed paper ring!

UWE student engineers promote Leaders Award at Curiosity Connections 2019

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Our Curiosity Connections Conference, bringing together teachers and science communicators to discuss and progress the future of primary STEM, took place today and the packed expo featured two of the student engineers building a prototype of one of the winning designs from last year’s Leaders Award competition.

UWE Bristol student engineers Miriam Cristofoletti (Bristol Robotics Laboratory) and Georgina Packham (Mechanical Engineering) attended the conference to report on the work they are doing for the Leaders Award, and raise awareness of the competition with more than 50 conference attendees.

Along with Olesya Klyuchenkova and our Women Like Me engineer
Katy O’Hara Nash, Miriam and Georgina are building a prototype of a graded braking light designed by Philippa Griffiths, a Year 7 student at Hugh Sexey CE Middle School in Somerset. Philippa designed the RLBS (Red Line Braking System) to display red lights to alert other drivers of the severity of the braking and levels of attention needed, with the aim of reducing fatalities on our roads. The team will be visiting Philippa’s school later this month.

The Leaders Award is supported by UWE Bristol and asks children “If you were an engineer, what would you do?”. This free competition asks students to find a problem, invent a solution, draw it, explain and send it in. Pupils are encouraged to both interview engineers and watch the online interviews. If you’d like to take part in the Leaders Award as an engineer or school, please get in touch with the team.

Curriculum linked lessons in sustainability

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Sustainable Learning is a teaching resource created by teachers for teachers.

“We empower teachers to deliver engaging primary schools lessons,” said Clare Marshall, Director of the company. Many of the resources have a sustainability thread, a focus on STEM and all of them are National Curriculum linked.

You can find the resources, along with exceptional lessons on their website: https://www.sustainablelearning.com/

One of Clare’s favourites is Fibonacci Fun – in which students can investigate the Fibonacci sequence as part of an outdoor maths lesson. Pupils can explore number patterns and sequencing in the context of the natural world, using found objects to give their learning relevance, and even apply their sequencing skills to some number pattern poetry!

Another fave is Sustainable Shaun: En-tyre-ly barking! in which you can challenge your class to design their own super sustainable transport with a D&T lesson.

The site also offers links to expert knowledge and a useful events calendar.

Sustainable Learning are award winning education consultants and workshop facilitators. To find out more visit www.sustainablehive.com.

This post was originally published on Curiosity Connections by Louisa Cockbill on 15th November 2018.

November is Global Month of Play – Real Play Coalition

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The Real Play Coalition was formed in 2018 by IKEA, The LEGO Foundation, Unilever’s Persil, OMO and Surf Excel, and National Geographic. This November, they have introduced the Global Month of Play to “help combat the erosion of play”.

The website provides a free newsletter and activity finder and lots of play-based activities giving children the opportunity to grow and learn through play.

November’s Global Month of Play will see a programme of activities aimed at families, schools and communities to excite and engage children in their everyday lives. The Real Play Coalition will reach over 3 million children in more than 100 countries, with activities taking place in across 26,000 classrooms, with the message that “play is rocket fuel for children’s development”.

IKEA are inviting everyone to join extra playful activities in more than 400 IKEA stores around the world as part of their Let’s Play for Change campaign, with the message that play is vital for all of us, everywhere, every day. The IKEA activities can be followed on #letsplayforchange and #FablerBjorn.

The Lego Foundation and LEGO Group are celebrating UNICEF’s Universal Children’s Day (#worldchildrensday) on 20th November through their Build the Change events. Children in selected locations in Mexico, the UK, China, South Africa and Denmark have been invited to use LEGO® bricks to build their dream school, in which learning through play and creativity are part of everything they do. The LEGO Foundation will hand a selection of insights, ideas and learning from the project to world leaders at the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 2019.

Unilever’s Persil, OMO and Surf Excel are supporting Outdoor Classroom Day, a global campaign led by NGO Project Dirt to inspire and celebrate outdoor learning and play. Thousands of schools across the globe took their lessons outside and prioritised playtime on 1st November. Over 3 million children across 26,000 classrooms joined in 2018. Parents and teachers can sign up at www.outdoorclassroomday.com.

National Geographic are producing a series of videos for the Real Play Coalition, titled Play Made Me This Way. These will reveal, through memories and testimonies, the life-changing impact of play in their formative years on some inspiring people. Videos can be watched on National Geographic and Real Play Coalition social media channels; find them using #PlayMadeMeThisWay. You can also more about why National Geographic believe play is so important here.

The Real Play Coalition website launched on 1st November at the start of the Global Month of Play and will “form a platform to discuss just how critical play is in forming the well-rounded, creative, empathetic and lateral-thinking adults that tomorrow’s society needs”.

Follow the Real Play Coalition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Whizz Pop Bang magazine and new resources for schools

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Whizz Pop Bang, “the awesome science magazine for kids” have kindly offered use of their resources in our Women Like Me activities. They’re not just a magazine; they create hands-on science lessons too. Here’s what Rachael, the Whizz Pop Bang’s head of communications, had to tell us:

What is Whizz Pop Bang?

Whizz Pop Bang is an award-winning, 36-page children’s magazine jam-packed with science fun! Printed on lovely, thick, uncoated paper (so that kids can colour, scribble and record their science results in it), it’s a top-quality magazine that’s built to last. Each month’s issue focuses on a new and interesting subject, with broad-ranging content to appeal to all budding scientists aged between six and twelve. Have a flick through a virtual copy of Whizz Pop Bang here.

Each month’s magazine is written by expert science writers, such as Isabel Thomas, author of more than 100 children’s science books. Each magazine is full of facts, puzzles, news and simple hands-on experiments that can easily be done at home or in school, giving parents, teachers and kids the tools to become scientists in their kitchens and classrooms!

We believe that kids make the best scientists. WHY? Because they’re inquisitive, keen to learn and have open minds that just love asking “Why…?”!

New teaching resources for schools
One of our key aims for Whizz Pop Bang is to help as many children as possible to enjoy the awesome world of science. So we’ve created a growing library of top-quality downloadable Whizz Pop Bang lesson plans and reading resources for schools to make science fun and engaging for children and teachers alike. 

What are the resources for schools?
Our Whizz Pop Bang school resources have been written by primary teachers in conjunction with science experts and they all link to the national curriculum…

  • Differentiated lesson plans
  • Simple hands-on investigations using household items
  • Interactive PowerPoint presentations to guide the lessons
  • Guiding reading texts and comprehension questions*
  • Science games

* Science texts and comprehensions, written by teachers, link to the English reading curriculum. They include How Stuff Works, interviews with real scientists and stories of sensational scientists from the past.

Subscriptions to the resources are for the whole school, with as many teacher log-ins as required.

How much does it cost?

 We know budgets are tighter than ever, so we’re offering schools a 50% discount on the resources until 31st December 2018. Whole-school access to the downloadable resources, along with 4 magazines in the post each month costs just £225 for the whole year with unlimited teacher loginsFor an average-sized school of 300 children, that’s just 75p per pupil per year.

To calculate the price per pupil for your school, use our online pricing tool at whizzpopbang.com/schools (prices exclude VAT).

Top five reasons for schools to subscribe to Whizz Pop Bang:

  • Accessible content for classrooms, libraries and science clubs
  • Written by expert teachers and science writers
  • Linked to the science and reading curricula
  • Bursting with rich practical science experiments
  • Gives teachers the confidence to deliver accurate science lessons

We’re particularly keen on the Whizz Pop Bang engineering resources and their issue on Super Structures, which you can read more about here.

To find out more visit whizzpopbang.com/schools, or if you have any questions, drop the team an email to hello@whizzpopbang.com or call them on 0330 2233790. You can also follow Whizz Pop Bang on social media: @whizzpopbangmag

Children as Engineers highly commended at STEM Inspiration Awards

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A UWE team have been at the House of Lords in London today, after they were shortlisted for an Inspirational STEM Engagement Project Award in the 2018 STEM Inspiration Awards.

Laura Fogg-Rogers ran Children as Engineers, a collaboration between the UWE Bristol Department of Education and Childhood and Department of Engineering, Design and Mathematics, with Juliet Edmonds and Dr Fay Lewis.

The team attended the awards ceremony and were highly commended for the project, which paired student engineers and pre-service teachers to undertake engineering design challenges in primary schools; a well deserved recognition of their hard work and dedication.