Engineering Career – live webinar

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As part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, a Big Assembly, featuring engineers in a panel discussion, will be hosted live on 7th November at 10:30 am. (Available for download afterwards).

The event gives young people the chance to hear directly from engineering professionals about their work, their inspiration and route into industry – helping young people take their ideas, passions and dreams and turn them into engineering careers. But it’s also an opportunity to find out how engineering impacts on the issues students care about, such as saving the environment, animal welfare, staying safe, health and entertainment.

Register now to take part! And then get involved on social media #TEWeek18

Experts on careers will also be on hand to answer any questions about how to become an engineer. The Big Assembly will also feature short inspiring films.

For further information and to register visit bigassembly.org

The Tomorrow‘s Engineers Week Big Assembly is sponsored by BCS, ICE, IET, IMechE and Year of Engineering and supported by other professional institutions.

This blog was originally posted on Curiosity Connections.

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.

Award-winning student placement at Centre for Machine Vision

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A guest blog by Professor Lyndon Smith from UWE Bristol’s Centre for Machine Vision.

In late June 2018, Josh Beckett (a student at Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar), spent a week in the Centre for Machine Vision (CMV) in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at UWE. He was assisting with our advanced 3D vision methods for plant analysis. The quality of Josh’s work experience can be judged by the comments of the CMV PhD researchers and academics he worked with while in the lab – two of these are copied below:

“I think Josh was really hard working – I actually don’t know if he was having lunch, so I was asking quite frequently if he has eaten! Other than that, he was really fast to pick up what he needs to do (and for what purpose) and was able to do this repeatedly for extended periods of time. I was also impressed with his data management skills – every plant sample that he imaged had a separate folder with a proper name and sub-folders for front and back of the leaf as well as folder for different plant species – much better than most of the first year students that I teach. I am sure Josh deserves to get this award and if he doesn’t, I would like the winners to come to the CMV and extend their internships as we always need good workers.”

“Josh showed that he works well both independently and as part of a team. He has very good communication skills and is clear in discussing his ideas. He has shown that he is very committed and dedicated. Overall, he will be an excellent addition to any work environment as he adapts and integrates very quickly.”

To summarize, Josh had an excellent work placement in CMV – to the extent that he won the Work Experience Prize and was awarded it at the prize giving evening that was held at the Kings of Wessex Academy in September 2018.

 

 

Making STEM for everyone – a new practitioner resource

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Would you like to help girls engage with Physics? Or  make sure your science engagement is inclusive? May you’d just like to know how strong your unconscious bias is?

The Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol has published a new practitioner guide which can point you to the resources to help with this, and more.

Making STEM for everyone: Resources for supporting people from under-represented groups to engage with Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering is a compilation of useful online tests, guides and materials written by Dr Laura Hobbs and Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, who also run Engineering Our Future project Women Like Me.

Drawing on a range of project outputs, industry schemes, toolkits and reports from across the STEM landscape, the guide provides a compilation of information and resources to assist anyone wishing to reach people who may face barriers to engaging with STEM subjects.

The contents of the guide are:

Background
General information on under-represented groups in STEM and what influences participation in STEM

Science capital
Understanding the term ‘science capital’ and its application

Diversity in science, positive role models and case studies
Examples of people from under-represented groups in STEM, and resources to support the concept of ‘STEM for all’

What could a STEM career look like?
Examples of roles using STEM

Engineering in a different light
Engineering might not be what you think it is…

Inclusion in the classroom
Inclusive STEM teaching support

Breaking the mould
Challenges to stereotypes in popular culture

Encouraging people into STEM
Resources to support interests in STEM

If you’re interested in more expert guidance, check the Science Communication Unit website for a full list of available practitioner guides.

NASA astronaut Suni Williams talks to thousands of children as Leaders Awards launch

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UWE Bristol is once again supporting the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards in the South West of England.

On 20th September the Leaders Awards launched, with NASA astronaut Suni L Williams giving an online presentation for the 2018/19 competition. Primary Engineer Events Manager Jo Norwood told us: “The interview went really well. Thousands of children from across the UK watched Suni from their classrooms while she spoke about her career. Pupils were given the opportunity to ask Suni questions and here are some of the ones they asked:

What happens to water in space?

How do you go to the toilet?

If you had enough water could you make a swimming pool in space?

Does it take a lot of time to get used to being back on earth?

Has anything ever gone wrong in space?

Have you ever seen anything strange?

What happens when something breaks?

Have you ever broken anything in space?”

One Year 6 girl at Bothal Primary School asked Suni for any tips for girls who want a career in the STEM sector. Suni advised girls to take inspiration wherever they find it and to believe that they can achieve their goals – a strong message for the next generation.

Did you miss out on Suni’s interview? Primary Engineer are holding more live-streamed interviews with engineers! If your school wants to be involved in any of these interviews please register your interest via email to info@leadersaward.com and they will  keep you posted on their schedule.

Schools can also register for the Leaders Awards now.

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.

Leaders Awards launch with online interview with NASA astronaut Suni Williams

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UWE Bristol is pleased to be supporting the Primary Engineer & Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards in the South West of England.

The awards, also supported by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), invite pupils from Primary and Secondary schools in the South West of England to be inspired by an engineer from a local industry. They can then apply an engineer’s eye to the world and identify problems in need of solving. When they have settled on their idea, they draw and annotate it, making clear what the problem is and their unique solution to it.

Leaders Awards ask pupils aged 3-19 the question “If you were an engineer what would you do?”. The 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.

Online presentation – Sunita L. Williams – NASA astronaut 20th September 2.30pm

Primary Engineer are delighted to announce that their live-streamed interviews with engineers are back! Schools can register for the Leaders Awards now and take part on  20th September at 2.30 pm with Astronaut Suni Williams. More about Sunita can be found on their website.

If your school wants to be involved in any of these interviews please register your interest via email to info@leadersaward.com and they will  keep you posted on their schedule.

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.

Celebrating women in engineering at UWE Bristol

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On 28th June, female pupils from years 9-11 visited UWE Bristol to celebrate women in engineering.

Tying in with International Women in Engineering Day 2018, the event aimed to challenge traditional perceptions that engineering is mainly for men, in order to tackle a lack of diversity in the profession. Pupils took part in a range of activities which demonstrated the relevance of engineering to society.

Ready to engineer your future?

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Following International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June, 135 female students in Years 9-11 from across the South West had the chance to participate in hands-on activities, demonstrating the ways in which engineering careers impact many aspects of society.

Each zone focused on a different contribution to society, with the ultimate challenge of designing and building a city of the future. The girls got involved in bridge building, urban design, smart technologies, and sustainable solutions. All these courses are taught in the Faculty of Environment and Technology at UWE Bristol.

The event aimed to challenge traditional perceptions that engineering is mainly for men, in order to tackle a lack of diversity in the profession. Laura Fogg Rogers, who helped to organise it, has also recently initiated the Women Like Me project at UWE Bristol, which aims to further encourage and support girls and women to enter and remain in engineering professions.

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