Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Careers Days proved a big hit in York and Middlesbrough

The final two STEM careers days for this academic year were held in Middlesbrough and York on the 3rd and 10th March respectively.

These two sessions were for the younger age groups (11-14 year olds) – sessions for 14-16 year olds and A level students had already taken place.

Students from Wetherby High School enjoyed the day and their teacher, Jenny McCartney said, I would like to thank you and your students for putting on the STEM day for our students yesterday, they were truly inspired and came back so eager to talk about what they had done and what they wish to do in the future. “We are definitely going to take triple science; we didn’t know that there were so many interesting jobs" which is fantastic to hear. And their body lotion smelt lovely!”

Pupils at the YSOC facility taking part in the Smith & Nephew adhesives  activity

Joy Parvin, CIEC Director, is already planning for a similar series of days for 2016-2017.

The Careers Days this year were generously supported by Cogent and other, local, industries delivered the various workshops. If your company would like to be involved in either sponsoring all or part of next year’s workshops or become involved by delivering workshops showcasing an aspect of your industry please get in touch with Joy Parvin at ciec@york.ac.uk.

Joy was delighted with the feedback from this year’s events “Many of the schools that have taken part have now been inspired to think about STEM careers. At a time when there is a serious skills shortage in the process industries this is very encouraging.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Claire Seeley joins the CIEC team as the new Advisory Teacher working in Royston

CIEC are delighted to welcome a new member to the team. Claire Seeley joins CIEC to deliver the CCI project in the Royston area in partnership with Johnson Matthey.
Claire explains in her own words her extensive primary teaching experience and her hopes for building on the strong links between CIEC, Johnson Matthey and local schools in the Royston area.
“I have been a teacher for over twenty years in a wide variety of contexts including both inner city and rural schools. For me, I feel the best learning is happening when children bring in something from home linked to our explorations in the classroom. That's when I know that science as caught their imagination!
Over the last five years, alongside my classroom practice I have been extremely fortunate to work alongside teachers as a Primary Science Consultant; providing both a wide range of CDP and ITT courses across East Anglia - both through Science Learning Centres and as an independent consultant.  I am a also hub leader for Primary Science Quality Mark in Suffolk and am the secretary of the Association of Science Education Primary Committee. 
My work as a consultant has included working with a number of Educational charities, writing materials and providing bespoke training courses; working with them to improve their services to schools. Latterly I have been working with industry on various primary science education initiatives, providing advice and support to create materials for use by primary schools. I am really interested using children's natural curiosity in science to boost their aspirations for the future. I am looking forwards to working with CIEC and learning more about developing meaningful links between industry and education.”
By Claire Seeley, CCI Advisory Teacher for the Royston area

Monday, February 29, 2016

Careers Days at University of York and Middlesbrough STEM Centre

CIEC’s final 2015-16 Careers Days for 11-14 year olds take place on 3 and 10 March[1] in Middlesbrough and York respectively. They will build on the success of the previous four events, all sponsored by COGENT, for 14-16 year olds and post-16 students. The York events take place in University’s Science Outreach Centre, housed in the Department of Chemistry, and the Middlesbrough events are being kindly hosted by the brand new Middlesbrough STEM Centre at Middlesbrough College.
The aim of the day is to increase awareness of careers in the STEM industries by engaging students in practical workshops that demonstrate how science is applied in real life, and are delivered by industry partners and academic colleagues.
Investigating Gaviscon

The two morning workshops are delivered by staff and students from the University, and focus on two areas – spectroscopy and liquid crystals.
The two afternoon workshops in York are being delivered by Smith and Nephew, Croda International, and Reckitt Benckiser. Dave Farrar (Smith & Nephew) challenged students to investigate the forces needed to remove sticking plasters from a variety of surfaces, whilst students made and marketed hand cream for Croda, and explored properties of Gaviscon with Reckitt Benckiser.

Sticking plaster activity

 An example of one of the University led activities is based on IR analysis of oil samples as used during Formula 1 races.
Students are presented with unknown samples of oils as if they had collected them from a spill on
the garage floor. They run each sample on the IR spectrometer and generate spectra which they then match to the spectra of various fluids (gear oil, brake fluid, engine oil, power steering fluid and windscreen
washer) to identify the source of the mystery 'spill'. Annie Hodgson, Schools Liaison and Outreach Officer at York, designed this activity.

In a parallel activity, students set up and conduct an experiment comparing the viscosity of engine oil to other, non-crude-oil-derived types of oil (castor, sunflower, etc). The aim of the activity is to find a blend of vegetable oils that matches the viscosity of the engine oil at room temperature, as a potentially green replacement. They are provided with dropping pipettes and a runway with an adjustable height platform to run the liquids down, and determine suitable conditions for themselves to ensure a fair test.
Measuring viscosity
 Cliff Porter said, "These workshops are a great opportunity for students to meet professional scientists and see how school science relates to real-world applications. They also highlight some of the opportunities offered by careers in STEM-related areas."
Spectroscopy workshop

 [1] If you are interested in the next Careers Days on 3rd March in York or 10th March in Middlesbrough, please contact CIEC at ciec@york.ac.uk.

Monday, January 25, 2016

CIEC enjoys a productive time at the ASE Annual Conference

Three of the CIEC team delivered primary workshops at the Annual ASE Conference held this year at Birmingham University at the start of this term.
Clare Warren gave a practical session exploring different approaches for engaging students with science entitled Teaching Science or Teaching Scientists?

Gayle Pook’s session Working Scienti­fically with Real Scientists explored how CIEC harness the expertise and goodwill of industry to engage primary children with both science and the possibility of industry as a career.
Enjoying practical science in Gayle’s session
Jane Winter had notable success with her session Get out more: Inspiring Science in the Outdoor Classroom which explored exciting and manageable ways to go outside as much as possible and to use the potential of the ‘outdoor classroom’ to engage and motivate children and to maximise their science learning. Jane delivered her talk to a packed lecture theatre and has received great feedback since the event.
Gayle and Clare also demonstrated a range of practical science activities in the Primary Pop-Up session held during one of the lunch breaks.
One of the Primary Pop Up activities
Gayle pronounced the conference to be a rewarding few days for CIEC, “It is such a good event each year for meeting new educators, for showcasing the work of CIEC and engaging in really useful CPD for the team. This year there was a great atmosphere with everyone keen to improve their skills in order to engage children with science.”