Monday, March 16, 2015

Industry visits improve children’s perceptions of industry

A Greneway pupil inspecting substrate during the Johnson Matthey site visit

In February 2015 pupils from Greneway Middle school, Royston, visited the Johnson Matthey site at Royston as the culmination of their Children Challenging Industry (CCI) experience. During their visit the children visited the Technology Centre to find out what catalysts are and what they do and made their own wash coats (the active part of the catalyst). This was followed by a tour of the site where they saw robots applying wash coat to the substrate.
The visit demonstrated how their school activities (the process of developing a good bubble mixture had much in common with the development and testing of wash coats) were directly related to work on the site.
A recent report on the impact of the CCI project in Royston schools demonstrated that children who are shown how science works in the ‘real world’ (in this case in industry) show a greater understanding of science and the possibility that they could have a future career using science.
Teachers taking part in CCI reported the greatest impact as being:
·         Improvement of children’s investigative skills and group work
·         Range of teaching ideas and the practical activities
·         The CIEC Advisory Teacher’s expert knowledge of science and the industrial content of the activities.
The majority of teachers felt their knowledge of teaching science had improved, the class sessions linked well to industry, the site visit was an important component of the experience and that they would use the written resources again. The CCI project also fulfilled their expectations.
At the end of the CCI intervention the teachers showed greater understanding of the interesting jobs available in industry and the economic benefits of industry.
Of the children who participated:
·         Over 80% enjoyed the investigations, learned something new and enjoyed the challenges
·         Over 70% liked learning about industry and now like science more.
The activities the Greneway children worked on in school were:

Below are some observations the children made following their visit to the JM site (positive comments far outweigh any negative comments).

What the children said:
 “I liked it all because I was learning new things.”
 “I enjoyed the ketchup bit because it was really fun and they explained it clearly.”
“I liked watching the robots.”
“The robots move like humans.”

In response to what did you enjoy the most:
“seeing the robots and learning what they do and sorting out the catalyst.”
“making the experiment with all of the liquids.”
“seeing the robots sorting out the catalysts.”
“looking at the cars.”

In response to what did you enjoy the least:
“Walking and walking upstairs and apart from that nothing.”

Deb McGarrity, Royston Site and Community Coordinator commented, "The difficulties of attracting young people into careers in science have been well documented in recent years.  From this perspective, I think it is important that schools in our area understand what Johnson Matthey actually does, and how exciting and varied a career in science can be”.