Early Years Engineering with CBeebies stars Bitz & Bob!

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Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2018 is taking place 5th-9th November and Early Years children can do it too – so in preparation we’ve been talking to some of the team behind Bitz & Bob, the CBeebies show with an amazing female engineer as its lead character.

Bitz is an 8 year old inventor and engineer who can fix and make anything. She and her little brother Bob solve fun engineering problems and earn rewards along the way. Bitz & Bob aims to inspire the next generation of engineers by making Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) accessible to anyone, encouraging diversity in STEM and raising aspirations for girls – an ethos that we love.

Bitz & Bob have put together some resources that they’d love you to use to encourage Early Years engineering activities during Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2018.

Follow the link to download three amazing craft videos and an activity sheet which children will love!

This is what the Bitz & Bob team told us about their new resources:

 

Practicing Resilience

Bitz & Bob shows children that STEAM exists in everything that we do. When Bitz and the gang need to solve a problem they don’t always get it right first time. They may struggle, get frustrated or even fail at times but they have the confidence to apply imaginative thinking to iterate new solutions. Our aim is for pre-school age girls and boys to engage with STEAM and get creative early on so that they become familiar with these skills.

You Can Do It Too!

We’ve created a series of do at home experiments that show children some basic principles of engineering while having loads of fun. Using only simple materials that are found in nurseries or home, with the help of an adult, children can invent a way to save the day just like Bitz!

Video 1: Static Butterflies

Make a butterfly magically flap its wings using static electricity. The balloon passes over negatively charged electrons that attracts the positively charged butterfly.

You will need; pencil, thin card, thick card, balloon, glue, pipe cleaner, googly eyes, tissue paper, scissors, paint and brush.

Video 2: Floating Balls

Learn about propulsion by making foil balls float in mid-air. Gravity will make them come down eventually but the harder you blow the higher they’ll go.

You will need; pencil, thick card, bowl, scissors, straw, foil, tape.

Video 3: Balloon Rockets

Make your balloon rocket across the room and learn about propulsion! The air inside the balloon acts like the fuel. It is stronger than the forces acting against the balloon such as air resistance and gravity.

You will need; balloons, straws, scissors, string, tape.

CBeebies Get Creative App

Finally – there is an app that is available to download for free that features great creative tasks where children can choose Bitz & Bob as a buddy to guide them through.

Tune into CBeebies at 16:45 to catch Bitz & Bob and you can find us on BBC iPlayer anytime.

 

These new resources are a great addition to Early Years STEM and we can’t wait to try them out. They are also planning on creating more material in 2019 – watch this space!

Women Like Me supports Lego Mindstorms training

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On Monday 22nd October, Lego Mindstorms training will come to UWE Bristol, courtesy of the West England STEM Ambassador Hub and Raising Robots, and supported by UWE’s Women Like Me.

The Hub have 12 EV3 Mindstorms Robot kits for use in local schools.  This is a fantastic resource, which is free for the schools to use with the support of a STEM Ambassador.

Monday’s training session will be delivered by John Pinkney, a LEGO Education Certified Trainer.  Places were booked out fast – everyone loves robots!

The training session will cover:

  • Running short, high-impact sessions with LEGO Mindstorms – including quick builds for maximum learning impact
  • Moving Mindstorms away from instruction led building
  • Key builds to inspire students
  • An introduction to sensors – bringing Mindstorms to life with sensors and how to get the most out of them:
  • Ultrasonic, Colour and Touch
  • Gyro – its power and its challenges!

Some of our Women Like Me engineers will be participating in the training, enabling them to use the kits as part of their outreach activities.

Curiosity Connections conference – book your place now!

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Get together to plan your British Science Week 2019!

Book your place at the 2019 Curiosity Connections conference now.

UWE Bristol, Coldharbour Lane, Stoke Gifford, BS16 1QY  (Google map)

Saturday 2nd February 2019

This conference is for anyone with an interest in inspiring primary STEM education in the Bristol region: Teachers, STEM Communicators, STEM Ambassadors, STEM Employers.

Talks and discussions, networking and activity ideas galore from some of the most relevant and engaging people in STEM education, right here, right now. Teachers come and get ideas to plan your Science Week around and Science Communicators come and market your amazing sciencey-wares! From cutting edge research on learning outside the classroom to practical support for working with primary age children, there’s something for everyone.

 

Registration open for the ASE West of England conference

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Annual Association for Science Education West of England conference

Bath Spa University

Saturday 17th November, 09:00 – 13:30.

This conference includes a workshop, ‘Working with science communicators & STEM Ambassadors’ from Laura Fogg Rogers (UWE Bristol) and our collaborator on Women Like Me, Liz Lister (Graphic Science).

Please see below for the programme outline, and the conference website for further information and to register.

Programme

9:00-9:30      Registration, refreshments & browse stands

9:30-9:45      Welcome & PSQM Awards

9:45-10:30    Keynote Professor Harry Mellor, Professor of Biochemistry 

10:35-11:30   Workshop A Choice

11:30-12:10   Break & browse exhibition stands

12:10-13:05   Workshop B Choice

13:10-13:30   ASE Regional ABM

Keynote Professor Harry Mellor, Professor of Biochemistry  Teaching height:  the biology and sociology of cell growth

The biology of human growth offers a rich context to teach key aspects of cell biology.  The visible outcome – height – has an immediacy to students across primary to secondary school ages.  This engages students, but also requires care in maintaining an inclusive teaching environment.  Societal attitudes to height, and especially to height and gender, present an opportunity to explore wider themes, and to explore the interface between biology and sociology.

Workshop A choices

A1 Primary:

Kids against plastic

Liz Southwell, St Barnabas Primary @MrsSLearns

Come and find out about the work of Amy and Ella Meek, who founded ‘Kids Against Plastic’ and who are passionate about inspiring young people to lead their schools and communities to becoming ‘Plastic Clever’. This session is based on the Kids Against Plastic ethos and principles, and uses their newly published learning resources, to consider how schools can become more ‘plastic clever’ and how this exciting new charity can become the focus and inspiration for science enquiry and investigation.

A2 Primary:

STEM in action: Scribble-bots

Pauline Rodger, Holt Primary

This workshop offers the opportunity to build and test a scribble-bot (simple robot). Ideas of how to embed this into a sequence of work and engage children with making predictions, testing ideas, problem-solving and controlling outcomes will be shared. Aimed mainly at KS2 but can be further developed and equally engaging for KS3.

A3: Cross phase:

Thinking Science

Ellie Hart, Bristol University

A practical session introducing techniques for philosophical discussion in primary and secondary classrooms. Boost your students’ critical thinking, questioning and argumentation skills and find out about a resource recently developed by philosophers and science teachers that can be used to support discussion and consolidate core curriculum understanding.

A4: Secondary:

Time to reflect on the reformed Science GCSEs

Sarah Old, Ofqual

Now that the reformed Science GCSEs have had their first award and teachers are preparing their second cohort of students for the examinations, come and hear from Sarah Old, Senior Manager in the Standards Team at Ofqual. It will also be an opportunity for you to share your experiences of the new curriculum and the first set of assessments.

A5: Secondary:

Leading a successful secondary science department

Greg Seal, Abbeywood School @gregtheseal

and Helen Rogerson, Westonbirt School @hrogerson

 

Workshop B choices 

B1 Primary

TAPS: from Focused Assessment to whole school approach

Dr Sarah Earle, Bath Spa University @PriSciEarle

The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project, now in its 6th year, has found that classroom Focused Assessment activities help start whole school development.  This workshop will explore a range of practical activities to support the assessment of Working Scientifically, before considering how subject leaders can cascade this approach across the school.

B2 Primary

Ditch the dirt

Bren Hellier, Practical Action @PA_Schools

Join Practical Action for a hands on workshop investigating ways of cleaning dirty water through filtering linked to the charities project work in Kenya.

B3 Cross phase

Working with science communicators & STEM Ambassadors

Laura Fogg-Rogers, University of the West of England @LauraFoggRogers

and Liz Lister, Graphic Science STEM Ambassador Hub @scarycurlgirl

Curiosity Connections Bristol is a new network to connect science teachers and science communicators working in the Bristol region. So how should science teachers best work with industry and external science enthusiasts both in and out of the classroom? This session outlines the resources available to support teachers in this area.

B4: Secondary:

Biology from the farm

Debbie Hicks, LEAF Education

Food security, conservation, biodiversity, plant and animal diseases, farming techniques.  These topics now have a high profile both in the media and in the new GCSE Biology specifications.  Join this workshop to bring your knowledge up to date and explore ways of bringing these topics to life with your classes.

B5: Secondary:

Language and literacy demands of secondary science

Amanda Fleck, Assistant Headteacher @AJTF71

Science is rich in complex language and this can be a barrier for many students at secondary school. Readability statistics show that new 9-1 science GCSEs have some of the highest readability scores of any of the current GCSEs. This session explores the implications of the language and literacy demands of science and discusses practical strategies to support teachers to help their students overcome these barriers.

Practical steps to build science capital in the classroom

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How much do you value STEM?

That will depend on your “science capital”, that is, how much science you’ve been exposed to. Science capital is based on the idea of social capital – that all of us have differing amounts of cultural beliefs, values, qualification and experiences, which we gather from our families and lives, and determine our value in careers and social situations – in relation to science.

Many children will have no knowledge of adults who work or have worked in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers, which gives them very little science capital. This can have a significant impact on children’s aspirations regarding STEM careers, and so increasing children’s science capital is vital to broadening their future career choices.

Capital Gains

Juliet Edmonds, Fay Lewis and Laura Fogg-Rogers, from the Department of Education and Childhood and the Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol, are hoping to change the status quo and increase children’s science capital through initiatives in schools. Their new article in the September/October 2018 issue of Primary Science magazine, Practical steps to building science capital in the primary classroom, addresses this from the school perspective, which includes inviting STEM practitioners into their classrooms. There are many ways in which engineers can boost children’s science capital:

  • Go into schools

A survey at a recent children’s conference revealed that children weren’t just interested in the work of people in STEM, but also by their personal experiences of working in STEM. Therefore, visiting a school and sharing what kind of person you are, and the key qualities required for your job, helps children (especially girls) to identify with their role models.

  • Activities with Real-Life Context

Doing STEM activities that focus on making the world a better place, has been show to raise children’s interest and improve attitudes towards science. So why not try engineering challenges? – such as the EU ‘Engineer’ project challenges or borrow the Design Process Box free from Dyson.

Or maybe explore aspects of science and scientists that benefit the quality of everyday life, e.g. the grip on training shoes relative to forces, or the work of Professor Margaret Boden on artificial intelligence (the BBC Radio 4 series The Life Scientific is useful for biographies of modern scientists).

  • A Culture of Science – in School and at Home

Children’s attitudes towards STEM are partially formed through the culture they experience at home, but experiences in schools are also thought to influence a child’s attitude to STEM. While none of these actions alone will compensate children for low science capital, many scientists and engineers still recall a special role model who got them into STEM – you could be that person!

A version of this blog for teachers was posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog.

Join us for the Women Like Me launch!

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Supporting women and girls in engineering

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project for women in engineering, based at the University of the West of England (UWE), supported by the WISE Bristol Hub and STEM Ambassador Hub West England and funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant.

Women Like Me launches at UWE on 18th October. Join the project’s engineers for an evening of FREE People Like Me taster training from WISE’s Sarah Behenna, followed by networking with professionals from across the region.

Booking is essential – sign up here.

For more information or to get involved with Women Like Me, please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk.

Women Like Me – a new engineering outreach project at UWE Bristol

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Only 11% of engineers in the UK are women. Is this enough?

No, it’s really not – we have an engineering skills shortage as it is, and the low proportion of women in the workforce means that a whole pool of talent is going untapped. Girls need to be able to see engineering as for them, connect with it as career and have access to positive female role models. And in turn, women need to feel supported to make a difference in the workplace once they get there, so that they not only go into, but stay in engineering roles.

So what can we do about that, and how can we bring people together? Here at UWE Bristol, we’re launching ‘Women Like Me’; a project which aims to open doors to girls and build resilience for women in engineering. Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs will be running the project over the next year; we both have lots of experience of delivering outreach and engagement projects and are passionate about making Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths accessible to everyone, at all stages.

 

Supporting women and girls in engineering

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering. So what does that actually mean?

The project will pair senior women engineers with junior women engineers to give them mentoring support as they start out in their engineering careers. In turn, junior women will undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.

 

Who can take part?

Mid-career and early career female engineers working in the Bristol and Bath area can get involved in the project. Senior women engineers are those who are more than five years post-graduation from their first degree. Junior women engineers are those with less than five years of experience since entering the engineering profession, and can include apprentices, trainees, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Undergraduates aren’t eligible to take part; whilst they are fantastic role models, UWE already provides public engagement training for undergraduate engineering students through the Engineering and Society module.

What will it involve?

We will offer networking opportunities to all participants at the start (October 2018) and end (April 2019) of the project. Senior engineers will receive training in mentoring and meet with their junior engineer mentee at least twice during the project.

Junior engineers will receive mentoring support from senior engineers and training in public engagement. They will then undertake at least three engineering outreach activities in local schools and at local public events. Activities and coordination of events is provided and supported by UWE; participation is voluntary and we’ll cover travel expenses.

How can I find out more or sign up?

For more information or to get involved, please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk. You can also follow the project on Twitter for updates.

 

Women Like Me is based in the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), supported by the WISE Bristol Hub and STEM Ambassador Hub West England and funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious grant. The project is organised by Dr Laura Hobbs and was initiated by Laura Fogg-Rogers. By matching senior and junior female engineers and supporting junior engineers to connect with the children and young people as the engineers of tomorrow, the project will lead to impact both in the workplace today, and for the future of the engineering profession.