Monday, November 3, 2014

CIEC resources suggested in NSLC chat

The following question was posted on 18 October on the STEM centre chat board.

Generating Electricity

Water for Industry

What will people be using to enrich science topics for children who have mastered all the topic objectives while the teacher is supporting those who need more input? I am thinking it will be applying knowledge in design and problem solving tasks such as CIEC activities, is that what everyone else thinks?

Jenny Harvey, CIEC Advisory Teacher for the North East replies here:
'Of course I think that is a brilliant idea, but then I use them all the time, being the Advisory Science Teacher for Children Challenging Industry across Teesside. I also know that our online resources cover many aspects to the new primary science curriculum as can be noted here:
More and more teachers are using the CIEC resources to address context and purpose. Our investigations tackle real problems that are encountered within science-based industries, reflecting more closely the way science is carried out in 'real life'. This approach improves children's motivation and understanding. So why not check them out!
Plastics Playtime
All of our topics are available as fully downloadable pdf files with lesson plans, equipment lists, work sheets and cards and the latest ones have interactive web sites too. They are real life science activities with purpose, relevant to the new primary curriculum and what's more they are all free!'
Primary Science resources link:

Monday, October 13, 2014

The 2014 NEPIC Golf Day is a great success – especially for the winners, Lucite, and Children Challenging Industry who benefitted from the money raised!

The 20th NEPIC Golf Day, organised by Paul Butler, was held on September 4th at De Vere Slaley Hall, Northumberland and was voted a great success by all 168 golfers who took part.
The Lucite International team (David Heaviside, Jason Wing, John Furnell and Alistair Briggs) were the winners – with individuals taking other prizes (see below).

Sembcorp continued with their main sponsorship of the event with George Ritchie presenting the prizes, the registration gift was presented by ABB and score cards covered by Siemens. Utilitywise supported the Hole in One competition and the trophies provided by Lucite International were made from their own acrylic resins.

Chemoxy were responsible for the pre-dinner entertainment (Tricky Bob), Oranmore presented the Golf Simulator and Lockton’s Insurance  the golfer’s on course Video Analysis. The putting competition prize was given by Crane-Tomlinson Hall partnership.

The raffle raised an amazing £1350 for Children Challenging Industry, CIEC’s flagship primary project to introduce primary children to exciting science set in an industrial context. The money raised will be used for much needed PPE and practical equipment. Gayle Pook and Nicky Waller were delighted to accept the cheque on behalf of CIEC from Dr Stan Higgins, CEO of NEPIC.
Winners Table
Overall Winner: Lucite International (90)
Hunting Course:
1st Place: Px Limited (84)
2nd Place: ABB (77)
3rd Place: Quantum Controls (76)
Nearest to Pin: Phil Tunstill, Oranmore
Longest Drive: M Hassell, Sembcorp

Priestman Course:
1st Place: Lucite International (90)
2nd Place: RTC North (85)
3rd Place: Utilitywise (84)
Nearest to Pin: Arthur Chapman
Longest Drive: Howard Young, Western Union


Monday, September 8, 2014

New curriculum - links to primary science activities

The start of term is such a busy time - make sure all your science work is linked to the new curriculum.

Save some time by using CIEC activities which all have strong curriculum links. Nicky Waller, one of  the CIEC Advisory Teachers in the north east has spent the summer looking at all our resources and checking the CIEC links to the new curriculum - science obviously but also maths, design and technology, English, art and design etc.

Below is an example of the links Nicky highlights in the popular Water for Industry activity for 10-12 year olds:

By following a 'water cycle' from a reservoir, through an industrial site where it is treated, used as cooling water, and treated again before being returned to a river, the children investigate corrosion of materials, filtration techniques, heat exchange and carry out an extension activity on pH adjustment to regulate the acidity of the water.

Water for Industry (10 - 12 year olds) Curriculum Links

The following National Curriculum (for England) areas are supported by this work:

Working Scientifically Upper Key Stage 2
planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations
identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments
Properties and Changes of Materials (Y5)
compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets
know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution, and describe how to recover a substance from a solution
use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating
give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic
demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes
explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible, including changes associated with burning and the action of acid on bicarbonate of soda
Maths (Key Stage 2)
estimate, compare and calculate different measures, including money in pounds and pence (Y4 Measurement)
interpret and present discrete and continuous data using appropriate graphical methods, including bar charts and time graphs (Y4 Statistics)
solve comparison, sum and difference problems using information presented in bar charts, pictograms, tables and other graphs (Y4 Statistics)
calculate and compare the area of rectangles (including squares), and including using standard units, square centimetres (cm2) and square metres (m2) and estimate the area of irregular shapes (Y5 Measurement)
use all four operations to solve problems involving measure [for example, length, mass, volume, money] using decimal notation, including scaling (Y5 Measurement)
solve comparison, sum and difference problems using information presented in a line graph (Y5 Statistics)
complete, read and interpret information in tables, including timetables (Y5 Statistics)
Computing (Key Stage 2)
use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content
select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information
Design and Technology (Key Stage 2)
Design: generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design
Make: select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities
Evaluate: evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work
English (Y5/6)
(Spoken Language)
§ listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
§ ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
§ use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
§ articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
§ give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
§ maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
§ use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
§ speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
§ participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates
§ gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
§ consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
§ select and use appropriate registers for effective communication
retrieve, record and present information from non-fiction (Y5/6 Reading – comprehension)
provide reasoned justifications for their views (Y5/6 Reading – comprehension)
plan their writing by identifying the audience for and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own (Y5/6 Writing – composition)
noting and developing initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary (Y5/6 Writing – composition)
selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning (Y5/6 Writing – composition)
using further organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader [for example, headings, bullet points, underlining] (Y5/6 Writing – composition)


The material is aimed at 10-12 year olds, though the activities can be modified for use with other age groups and their associated learning objectives.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Science work for the new term - let industry inspire you

Children working on the Water for Industry activity

Make your time spent on science work with your primary class benefit the children to great effect by using activities set in an industrial context. CIEC activities are all set in an  industrial context which anchors the science work firmly in the real world. Not only does this help to reinforce the scientific principle being looked at but it also introduces children to the idea of working with science and in industry.

Look at the full range of primary science activities and see how the Children Challenging Industry project is run.

 Children Challenging Industry Project (CCI) is the flagship primary project from CIEC (Centre for Industry Education Collaboration).
One of CIEC’s Advisory Teachers works with one class at a time by going into school and carrying out science activities with an industrial context with the class. The class teacher observes and joins in. The culmination of the sessions is a visit to a local industry where the children can see the science they have been doing in school translated into industry.
The result is the children’s science results improve, they remember the whole experience for years afterwards and many of them become interested in working in the science industries. The primary teachers gain excellent CPD in their own school and the local industries find that not only do the local children and community benefit but the experience of working with the children and schools promotes job satisfaction.

Children Challenging Industry runs in the north of England and the Hertfordshire area. If your company is interested in getting involved (wherever you are) please contact either Joy Parvin or Gayle Pook (Co-directors of CIEC) at

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Improving reputation whilst benefitting the local community and improving local understanding of science

Making a heat exchanger prior to a site visit

Why not use the next few weeks while the schools are on the long summer holiday to think about getting your industry/site better known in the local community?

Working with local primary schools has so many advantages to your business. The flagship primary project from CIEC (Centre for Industry Education Collaboration) is the Children Challenging Industry Project (CCI).

One of CIEC’s Advisory Teachers works with one class at a time by going into school and carrying out science activities with an industrial context with the class. The class teacher observes and joins in. The culmination of the sessions is a visit to a local industry where the children can see the science they have been doing in school translated into industry.

The result is the children’s science results improve, they remember the whole experience for years afterwards and many of them become interested in working in the science industries. The primary teachers gain excellent CPD in their own school and the local industries find that not only do the local children and community benefit but the experience of working with the children and schools promotes job satisfaction.

Children Challenging Industry runs in the north of England and the Hertfordshire area. If your company is interested in getting involved (wherever you are) please contact either Joy Parvin or Gayle Pook (Co-directors of CIEC) at

Monday, July 28, 2014

Showing children industry to help them understand science in context and as a route to a career really works

The long summer holiday is not the time to be thinking about next term’s science work!

However – in a broader sense it may be a good idea to think in the round about helping your school to interact with science in a more useful and meaningful way for the children. At CIEC the long running Children Challenging Industry project has been shown to increase understanding of scientific principles, understanding of how science is happening in industry and how many jobs there are in the scientific industries.

The Children Challenging Industry project involves one of our Advisory Teachers going into schools and delivering science activities with an industrial context. The last session involves a site visit to a local industry. The lessons in school are always very enjoyable for the children – and importantly very much appreciated by the teacher who is able to observe (and join in!) an experienced primary science teacher in action.

The whole experience is remembered positively by the children many years after the event and it is often the site visit that is remembered most fondly.

Below are some comments collated by Advisory Teacher Jenny Harvey following a visit by St John the Evangelist RC Primary School, Billingham, to the Johnson Matthey site in Billingham.

The thing that you enjoyed doing the most;

The experiments

I enjoyed learning more things about industry and doing all the experiments. I felt very professional

The liquid nitrogen

Was when he put liquid nitrogen on the floor and it turned straight away into a gas

Going to Johnson Matthey. I especially liked the nitrogen gas

I enjoyed doing experiments and learning about catalysts and how important industry is

I have learnt many new things at Johnson Matthey and it has given me a great interest in science. I had lots of fun here

Filling the balloon with coke

I enjoyed the part where the balloon was popped with diet cola

I really liked talking about catalysts

I found it a treat that we were allowed in to see how they make stuff



The thing that you enjoyed doing the least;


Nothing, it was fantastic

I didn’t enjoy the liquid nitrogen bit that much



It was all fantastic

Nothing I loved everything



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How Industry can make a difference: Children Challenging Industry Celebration Day in the North East

Jenny Harvey, Advisory Teacher for the North East, hosted her first Children Challenging Industry (CCI) Celebration Event on the 1st July at the Wilton Centre, Redcar.

Leilla Elliott of the Cleveland Scientific Institute with children from  Billingham South Primary School
Mark Kenrick, CEO of LOTTE Chemical UK, opened the event by passionately endorsing Children Challenging Industry, stating the benefits to the teachers, children and the companies involved in hosting the visits. Jenny talked about the CCI project, what it involves and how it is implemented and all her statistics for the year (including the number of children, teachers and schools involved). Pupils from Mill Lane Primary School spoke about CCI in their own words and Dr Stan Higgins, NEPIC, closed the speakers by presenting some facts and figures about the impact and benefits of CCI across Teesside. There was a positive buzz of excitement all around and five new bookings were made and interest from new companies voiced.

Children from five different primary schools (Billingham South Primary School, Breckon Hill Primary School, Mill Lane Primary School, St Helens Primary School and St Therese of Lisieux RC School) who have already experienced CCI demonstrated various CCI activities on different tables.  Four companies exhibited; Chemoxy International, Johnson Matthey, TTE and Spearhead Interactive. Sembcorp had a display of photographs from a CCI visit.

In all sixty seven people attended the day. Jenny was delighted, “It was great to have speakers like Stan Higgins and Mark Kenrick to enthuse new companies about CCI and to have so many pupils here to show CCI in action.”

Monday, June 30, 2014

How can we engage less priveliged children with education in general and science in particular?

Quit a bit of research lately seems to show that the underprivileged indigenous population are falling behind in their educational attainments when compared with other underprivileged groups - with boys also lagging behind girls. How can we engage these children and get them interested in improving their life chances?
One of the classic educational tools is using 'learning by doing' - something CIEC has proved can improve science attainment .
All CIEC activities are context based - so why not try Turf Troubles  ?
Turf Troubles investigates the best conditions for growing grass suitable for a sports pitch. Tie this work to the World Cup/Wimbledon/golf/whichever sport your children like!
Turf Troubles
A sports company wish to provide a turf surface at a sports ground suitable for a range of activities. Information is required on suitable grass types and the best growing conditions. They also need to know how much water will be needed, and the effects of soil type. By investigating various conditions of plant growth the children discover which will produce the best grass.

For children aged 7-9

Monday, June 16, 2014

Johnson Matthey appreciate the importance of encouraging young scientists into industry

Pupils from St Marys RC Primary school, Royston, taking part in a soot filtration demonstration at the Johnson Matthey site at Royston
Congratulations to Adel Neale and Debbie McGarrity who were part of the winning entry in the
 ‘People and community development collaboration’ category in Johnson Matthey’s Collaboration in Action Awards. They were nominated for their involvement with the Children Challenging Industry programme now running in the Hertfordshire Johnson Matthey site. They have been working with the CIEC Advisory Teacher for Hertfordshire, Clare Warren. Clare delivers the CCI lessons in school before the children visit the JM site at Royston. So far being involved in CCI has enabled JM to introduce 300 school children to science and industry. Johnson Matthey’s Chief Executive Robert Macleod was delighted that JM is reaching so many primary children because ‘collaboration is a key part of Johnson Matthey’s business strategy as we enter our third century ‘and he sent his congratulations to Adel and Debbie.  

 Johnson Matthey is also involved with CCI in the North East where Jenny Harvey, CIEC Advisory Teacher for the North East, organises site visits by local children to the Billingham JM site as part of their CCI involvement.


Children from Billingham South Primary School visiting the local Johnson Matthey site after working on Water for Industry in school

Monday, June 9, 2014

How to use water to de-mystify science and industry!

Children from Billingham South Primary School constructing a heat exchanger in school

Getting primary age children to focus on a career may seem like a tall order - but given the need for skilled employees in the science industries it makes a lot of sense.

A recent article in Process Engineering Magazine ‘Skills shortages are a number one concern’ included the following points:

 “Skills shortages are now the no. 1 issue for the process industries worldwide, industry leaders report. The problems, they say, are most acute in countries which have, over recent times, reduced their focus on manufacturing.”
Science can seem a little mysterious to young children, and often primary teachers have no science background which compounds the idea that science is 'difficult'. By using science materials that are context based and using everyday materials (what could be more basic than water) it is easy and enjoyable to introduce primary children to the excitement and possibilities of both science in school and beyond.
Using the CIEC resource 'Water for Industry' children see how important water is to the process industries whilst investigating corrosion and constructing their own heat exchanger out of a plastic drinks bottle!
By following a 'water cycle' from a reservoir, through an industrial site where it is treated, used as cooling water, and treated again before being returned to a river, the children investigate corrosion of materials, filtration techniques, heat exchange and carry out an extension activity on pH adjustment to regulate the acidity of the water.

Download Water for Industry (free) from the CIEC site

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tom Swan is awarded a Morrell Fellowship at The University of York

Tom Swan receiving his Morrell Fellowship at The University of York.
Also pictured with Tom Swan from left: Harry Swan (MD of Thomas Swan), Joy Parvin  and Gayle Pook.
Tom Swan’s huge support for CIEC and the Children Challenging Industry project has been instrumental in their continuing success over the last 18 years. He is a passionate believer in educating everyone about the importance of science and the scientific industries and in particular to educate and inform the new generation who will work in these industries. He has recently been honoured with a Morrell Fellowship from the University of York.

Named in memory of John Bowes Morrell who was at the forefront of the campaign to create a university in York, the Morrell Fellowships are a means of recognising the community of benefactors who have made the most significant contributions to the fabric and life of the University.

The following is part of the citation delivered at the ceremony:

Tom Swan is the chairman of Thomas Swan & Co, from Consett, County Durham, which was listed as one of the Top 20 World Innovators by a leading American publication - this is a remarkable achievement for a family run UK company.

In the 1980s, Thomas Swan expanded into semiconductors, fungicides and new techniques for metal coating which removed the need to use to dangerous solvents - this early recognition of the need to move to environmentally friendly processes won the company the 2003 Chemical Industries Association Green Chemical Technology award.

Over the years, Tom has chaired many commissions, associations and advisory bodies, including being elected World President of the Society of Chemical Industry. 

One of Tom's passions is to educate the general population, and the future workforce, as to the benefits of science in general and the chemical industry in particular.  This passion drew him to York in 1996. 

Working with CIEC led to development of the "Children Challenging Industry" programme.  As part of the programme children visit industry sites and this has a significant impact in changing their views of science.  Feedback from children and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive with comments such as “It was a fantastic tour.  I want to work here when I’m older!” and “I enjoyed all the activities hugely.  It has made me think a lot more about science and how important it is.”   

With Tom's generous support over the last 18 years this programme has enabled 35,000 primary children and 10,000 teachers from 1250 schools to interact with the chemical industry.

Since 1996 Tom has been active in all that CIEC does, giving his personal time as well as financial support.  It is therefore with significant gratitude and pride that the University of York recognises Tom Swan as a Morrell Fellow. 


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Want girls to go into STEM careers? Dorothy Hodgkin is a great example from the recent past.

A recent report by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) says women, disabled people and ethnic minorities are all under-represented in the STEM industries. Apparently girls (or their parents) are more likely to choose medicine, law or teaching if they enjoy science rather than careers in science, construction and engineering.

Here at York we are very proud that Dorothy Hodgkin, the crystallographer who discovered the structure of insulin, spent so much of her 'retirement' in the Chemistry Department working with Guy and Eleanor Dodson and their colleagues. Dorothy would have been 104 yesterday.

Dorothy Hodgkin was born in 1910 and studied chemistry at Oxford which launched a stellar career during which she confirmed the structure of penicillin, discovered the structure of vitamin B12 followed by the structure of insulin. In 1964 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry.

During this time Dorothy also married and had three children - a role model indeed for anyone who thinks a career in science is not for them. After all - during the early '30s it was not usual for young women to study science and certainly most unusual to carve out a world class career.

The Dorothy Hodgkin building at The University of York

Dorothy Hodgkin and Guy Dodson at York

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Asthma sufferers are neither managing their condition nor being managed well by health professionals

A rather shocking report on deaths from asthma shows that asthma sufferers are not understanding their own condition and also that their GPs and consultants are possibly not taking asthma symptoms seriously enough.

Use of preventative inhalers can be patchy which results in over-reliance on reliever inhalers - which means that the condition is not being managed as well as it should. The consequence is that asthma attacks may become more frequent or more severe.

Look at this BBC article for more about the report.

For your 14-16s look at Breathing Made Easy. This CIEC resource will help your students understand the science and basic management of asthma.

Breathing Made Easy helps students understand asthma, its diagnosis and treatment. Through role play, practical work and demonstrations, students investigate lung structure and function, peak flow and breathing, and look at the medicines used in the treatment of asthma.

Breathing Made Easy is also available through the NSLC STEM resource library:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Inspire sixth formers with a story about graphene and UK Chemical Manufacturers Thomas Swan

Graphene is an amazingly useful form of carbon.

Consisting of a sheet of carbon 1 atom thick it:
  • is a 2D honeycomb structure
  • can conduct electricity better than copper
  • is about 100 times stronger than steel
Now scientists are trying to make graphene on an industrial scale with the help of Thomas Swan . Apart from its potential use in electronics other applications may include water treatment and  oil-spill clean up.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Manchester University's Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov in 2010 for its discovery.

Use The Essential Chemical Industry online to find out more about graphene and other composites.

And for more information on the graphene story look at

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Does removing lead from petrol lead to a decrease in crime?

This is an interesting idea and certainly the countries that have removed lead from petrol have seen a decrease in criminal activity.

There is an interesting BBC news article about this
although it stresses that although the decrease in crime is observable the two facts are not necessarily linked.

If you are discussing this with your students, arm them with information about lead, its production and uses by looking at The Essential Chemical Industry online at