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!

Final Call to Enter Free Engineering Competition

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The Leaders Award is a free competition for children in which you can challenge your pupils to come up with engineering solutions to everyday problems. But the deadline (27th March) is fast approaching…

Kids taking part in the Leaders Award are encouraged to talk to local engineers, but also have the opportunity to tune into live interviews with scientists and pose their questions to these experts.

Get your school registered to take part in the Leaders Award.

If your school wants to be involved in any of the interviews please register your interest via email to info@leadersaward.com and they will  keep you posted on their schedule. And you can read more about it here: leadersaward 2019 flyer.

The awards are supported by the University of the West of England, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).

Originally posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog, 24th 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.

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.

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.