Friday, December 8, 2017

Children Challening Industry

CIEC’s Children Challenging Industry programme was initiated by Tom Swan, then Managing Director of Thomas Swan and Co. Ltd. Tom Swan wanted a peripatetic teacher to visit primary schools in County Durham. Joy Parvin (Director, CIEC), then added in the site visits and school staff CPD, to create the CCI programme we have today.  Harry Swan (Tom’s son, now the Managing Director of Thomas Swan), first got involved when attending a CCI summer event, which brought back the memory of his own class visit to his Dad’s company. Meeting children, teachers and colleagues from other chemical companies at this event enabled Harry to appreciate the positive impact of site visits, and how learning about industry changed children’s perceptions of these companies and their relationship with science. Harry is now Chair of CIEC’s Advisory Committee, and plays a key role in encouraging other companies to support CIEC’s activities.


Pupils are fascinated during a demonstration at Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey in Billingham have been hosting school visits since 2002. During that time, they have welcomed more than 1500 children to their site, with over 300 of these visiting in the last 12 months alone.  The Johnson Matthey site in Royston hosts an additional 6 site visits annually and sends ambassadors into a further 4 schools each year.  These opportunities to interact and engage with the children are not only an opportunity to promote awareness of Johnson Matthey but also a chance to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers. The feedback from pupils and teachers has been excellent and has prompted yet more schools to enquire about participating in the programme.


Research shows that before participating in the CCI programme, children often have a negative perception of the chemical industry.  They see it as dangerous and polluting rather than as a place of technological innovation.  They are not aware of the links between the processes that the industries carry out and the science that they study in school.  Neither are they aware of industry’s potential as a future employer.  


Alan Bootland carrying out a Johnson Matthey demonstration
Without ongoing funding from, and the practical support of, companies such as Johnson Matthey, we would be unable to continue the invaluable work of CCI.  We are extremely grateful to them for their sustained contribution to the programme.
Jenny Harvey

Friday, December 1, 2017

Latest Research from CIEC






The CIEC’s flagship programme, Children Challenging Industry (CCI), makes explicit the relationship between practical scientific activities in the primary classroom and large scale industrial processes. We bring this to life for the children by arranging for them to participate in an in-school project run by one of our advisory teachers alongside their own class teacher. This is followed by a trip to a local site or, if this proves impossible, a visit to the school from a specially-trained “ambassador” from the industry. The CCI programme is evaluated on an ongoing basis, with participating teachers and pupils asked to complete a questionnaire before and after the experience. Our latest report represents four years’ worth of data from pupils and teachers, from 2012 to 2016; you can see it here  http://bit.ly/2Ah17Fr



Or you may prefer to see the infographics document which shows highlights from this research.

http://bit.ly/2Ap0APQ

Friday, November 24, 2017

How to make effective links with industry

Why make links with industry?

Children taking part in a classroom activity from the CIEC resource Water for Industry
Making links with industry benefits children as it motivates and engages them; it helps them to realise that science is both important and relevant to their lives; it raises their aspirations as they can see that studying science is worthwhile and can lead to exciting careers.  There is strong evidence that children already have strongly developed ideas which affect their future career choices before the age of eleven so it is important to engage with young people while they are still at primary school.

It is beneficial to industry as by supporting young people to make informed decisions about the subjects that they study they are investing in a future workforce which is drawn from a more diverse cross section of society.  It also helps challenge negative preconceptions about industry for all of the children who visit, not just those who might go on to work in the sector.

Finally, links with industry benefit teachers as they are an exciting and innovative way to cover the National Curriculum for Science.


Bronze Standard: Industry as a context for science lessons
A selection of CIEC resources
Real life contexts based on industry provide engaging problem solving activities (such as the one described here http://bit.ly/2jFSsWI ).  They cover the learning objectives in a way that is both memorable and meaningful.   CIEC has worked in collaboration with many industry partners to produce a library of resources and lesson plans which will support teachers to do this (http://bit.ly/2yKQJ4z ).  They have also created some interactive websites which make links between the primary curriculum and industry contexts (http://bit.ly/2hGf70S ). 


Silver Standard: Visits from Industry Ambassadors

Giving children the opportunity to meet people who work in industry is a valuable way to build upon experiences in class.  Ideally they will meet children in small groups as this allows for more interaction.  Children are especially excited to see demonstrations or to handle artefacts brought in from the work place.  If ambassadors plan to show electronic presentations they should be encouraged to base these on pictures rather than text.  A particular benefit of ambassador visits is that children realise that STEM subjects can lead to exciting jobs done by real people!


Gold Standard: Children visiting industry



Children visiting Chemoxy in Teeside
Industry visits can be an opportunity for children to see, on a large scale, processes such as filtration that they have carried out in the classroom.  It is a wonderful opportunity to foster positive attitudes and research has shown that children value and remember industry visits for many years.  Moreover, it is an experience that has been cited by some, now working in industry, as the moment that they realised that this is what they wanted to do!  It is particularly valuable if they are able to see both male and female employees and people from diverse backgrounds.  

Children during a visit to Fujifilm Diosynth

This blog post is based upon a chapter in the Primary Science Subject Leader Guide written by Joy Parvin.  

This survival guide, published by the Association of Science Education, is availabe to all ASE members free of charge and can be found at  https://www.ase.org.uk/resources/primary.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Fundraising and having fun!




Celebrating ten years of golfing for CIEC in front of Slaley Hall

During September, golfers from across the North-East England's chemical industry hit the courses at Northumberland's Slaley Hall for a day of networking, fun and fund raising in support of CIEC's Children Challenging Industry project.

Lining up before the game starts. 


Billingham-based pump manufacturer, Tomlinson Hall, scooped this year's top prize and was  crowned NEPIC Golf Champion 2017. Through personal contributions, £500 was raised for CCI. The event, which has been running for over a decade, has continually supported CIEC activities.



The Tomlinson Hall winning team






Friday, November 10, 2017

A Creative Approach to Teaching Science

"If you want to know how to make children love science then you must get this book"
Alison Brackenridge     

The front cover of Nicky's new book.


Here at CIEC HQ we are extremely proud that our colleague Nicky Waller has recently had a book published by Bloomsbury!  Those of you that have worked with her will know that she is a very experienced primary science teacher who is brimming with ideas for ways to teach the subject, so you will not be surprised to know that she has produced an extermely useful book.

It is cram packed with fantastic ideas to teach every single element of the primary science curriculum in a meaningful and engaging way.   The layout of the book is logical and straightforward so that teachers can quickly find the learning objectives that they are planning to teach.  There they will find manageable lesson ideas which Nicky has tried and tested with the recommended age group so they can be sure that they really will work as intended.  Teachers will find that the activities, as well as being fun, will support children to develop a secure understanding of the concepts that they are teaching.

Of course, you may think that we are biased because we work with Nicky but if you look at the reviews on Amazon you will see that others agree with us!  


Nicky at a recent event where she met some of her readers.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Tomorrow's Engineers


Children can feel inspired, motivated and spend more time engaged on task when the problems posed involve them searching for a purposeful outcome, particularly when some-one is asking for their advice! The sensor activity on page 16 of our publication ‘Generating Electricity’ (which can be found at http://www.ciec.org.uk/resources/generating-electricity.html)  provides this kind of context and would be a useful challenge to give children during ‘Tomorrow’s Engineers Week’ (6th -10th November) while covering KS2 objectives for electricity.

After receiving a letter from ‘Electricaid’ children work collaboratively to design and build a mini working model of a well which includes some kind of sensor to warn when the water has reached a desired level. Each group is given a large beaker (1000ml) to represent their well, one 1.5V cell and the rest is up to them!

The most innovative designs are achieved when children are provided with a selection of basic circuit equipment as well as lots of everyday conducting and insulating materials to choose from - paper clips, drawing pins, split pins, coins, corks, cotton reels, tin foil, bottle tops, glue, blu-tac, sellotape, card, plastic tubes and plastic sheets (A4 overhead projector transparencies are ideal) plus anything else that the children think they will need.

Working collaboratively

Children are encouraged to discuss and swap ideas not just at the planning stage but throughout this activity, jotting and amending notes and annotated drawings on whiteboards and listing the types of equipment they may need to start with and then to modify and improve their designs. Giving children space to make mistakes as they design and evaluate their designs through a process of trial and error helps children to develop a deep understanding of what they are doing as well as fostering real pride in their achievements.

 It can be valuable not to show children the diagram of a successful design which is provided in the resource until after they have made their own sensors.  When they do this teachers are amazed at the variety of ideas and at the ingenuity of children.  Most models have some kind of floating conductor (say a ‘raft’ of corks covered in tin foil) placed in the bottom of the well. When water is added and the level rises, this floats up to touch a carefully positioned contact point near the top of the well which is then connected to a simple circuit built safely away from the water.  


Close up of a working sensor

We would love to see your children’s designs; you can tweet them to @ciecyork for a chance to win a hard copy of some of our resources!




Friday, October 27, 2017

Bring it on!

CIEC has recently been involved in and exciting new science and engineering event.  ‘Bring it On!’ was held at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on 3 and 4 October this year. It was the first event of its kind in the North East, bringing together national and regional organisations to showcase the amazing career opportunities there are open to young people in the region. The aim of the event was to inspire and motivate young people in primary and secondary education to choose science and engineering as their future career.
Nicky Waller with a selection of CIEC publications and a copy of her recently published book "A Creative Approach to Teaching Science"
Nicky Waller from CIEC was invited to exhibit our resources and materials, as part of the primary day on 3 October, alongside many local businesses with exciting demonstrations and machinery to really show the breadth of engineering activities taking place from the Yorkshire border, to the Scottish border, from the Pennines to the sea.
Many schools that had taken part in the Children Challenging Industry programme in Teesside attended the event with their teachers. Their day involved opportunities to talk to inspirational local individuals who have made a successful career in engineering as well as visiting seven fascinating zones to explore different aspects of engineering and understand the many contexts it is applied in.