Friday, October 14, 2022

Career Cards

This post is written by one of CIEC's advisory teachers, Jane Winter

 Primary teachers are increasingly aware of the importance of raising children's science capital.  High science capital means that ALL children realise that they too could have a career in STEM if they chose, rather than dismissing the possibility at an early age as "not something done by people like me".

At CIEC we believe that one of the best possible ways to do this is to give primary school children the opportunity to meet real STEM professionals and learn how the science that they do in school links to the science that happens in industry.  However, this isn't always possible and this is where our free to download resource Career Cards come in.  Each set of cards in the pack feature one of four STEM professionals who works with one of our partner companies Johnson Matthey.  One card contains their photograph, another their job title and another a job description.  The complete set for one person also has information about their hobbies and which subjects they enjoyed at primary school.

Career cards spark discussions which help to break down stereotypes about who can be a STEM professional

Upper KS2 children have responded well to using these cards and their teachers have told us that they lead to discussions which help them to realise that anyone can aspire to be a scientist or engineer and that there are a variety of routes into STEM professions.

The cards can be downloaded from our website.  However, if you don't fancy all that cutting out, a class set of 7 packs of cards can be purchased from our online shop at a heavily subsidised cost of £8.15.  If you use them in your own classroom we would love to hear how you get on.

Thank you to Johnson Matthey for funding the creation of these cards and for continuing to subsidise their cost to schools


Monday, October 3, 2022

New sustainability science activities from CIEC


This blog post it brought to you by Jane Winter, one of CIEC's advisory teachers

CIEC has started the new academic year by adding some more activities to the existing sustainability resource.  Like most CIEC publications these engaging and easily resourced investigations link real life science solutions to environmental problems and the primary science curriculum. 

Sponsored by Innospec, a company that develops personal care products, the investigations support children to consider the environmental impact of products such as soap and shampoo.  In one activity children explore the efficacy of solid and liquid formulation of soap and research the different transport and packaging requirements of these everyday products.  In another they plan an investigation to assess the suitability of different packaging materials, including an innovative soap wrapping that Innospec scientists have developed which dissolves the first time that the soap is used, thus reducing waste.

Children are motivated to work on these challenges to find out how science can provide solutions to environmental problems

As well as linking to the materials strand of the KS2 curriculum the activities provide ample opportunities for working scientifically including observation over time, secondary research and planning a fair test.  There are also cross curricular links including producing written reports for the scientists at Innospec and creating tables and graphs to display measurements taken during the investigations.  

The PowerPoint, which is included in the resource, provides open ended starting points for classroom discussion, letters from the scientists at Innospec and a short video highlighting the long term environmental impact of single use plastics including packaging. 

The resource contains a short video which provides a context for the investigations

These activities, and many more, are free to download from the CIEC website.  If you use this resource in your classroom we would love to hear from you to hear how it went.  Get in touch (preferably with photographs) at CIEC@york.ac.uk and we will send you a hard copy of some of our resources to say thank you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

An Eggciting Easter Challenge

Today's blog post is brought to you by Mackayla Miller, one of our advisory teachers based in the North East.


Happy Easter folks! Here at CIEC, it’s no yolk that we’re egg-stremely eggs-cited about inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers, but we’re also partial to a few terrible egg puns at this time of year.

Mackayla has been working with the year 6 children at Levendale Primary School to deliver our egg-cellent Children Challenging Industry (CCI) programme. The ‘Eggs-press Delivery Challenge’ was a tough challenge indeed, but this egg-ceptional group of pupils were willing to whisk it all and refused to be beaten. Working in teams with a budget to spend, the groups hatched their plans, packaged their eggs, shelled out for their materials, and are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of their packages in the post to see to see whose eggs survived the journey.

John Baker and Paul Bickley from Teeside plastics manufacturing company Alpek Polyester UK Ltd, joined the classroom sessions via Zoom to give the children an insight into their jobs and engage them in a remote site visit, including an exciting interactive bottle-drop investigation. But it’s not just the children who benefit from the Children Challenging Industry experience. Here’s what John Baker, HSEQ and Technology Director has to say about getting involved:

“I’ve been involved with CCI for nearly 10 years now and every session, whether face to face or more recently using video conference, is great. The engagement from the children in the classroom is fantastic, with them often asking challenging and thoughtful questions. As well as trying to get across what we do in industry and the rewarding careers from STEM subjects, it is an opportunity to speak directly to teachers about what can be quite limited in the curriculum on science and engineering. In some sessions, explaining what we in industry think is obvious can, when seen through different eyes, put a whole new perspective on things, so it is not just a one-way street. The practical sessions show the children the scale of our operations and seeing their sense of wonder reminds me of my primary school teacher who inspired me into my career (he was a nuclear physicist!). I would recommend anyone in STEM careers getting involved as it is a rewarding session.”

If you would like help to get cracking with your STEM education why don't you contact ciec@york.ac.uk to see if you could become involved in any of our initiatives to link schools with science based industries.  Alternatively, you could try this activity with your class as full teacher notes are available for free from our website.


Full activity notes are available in this free CIEC resource including teacher guidance and safety advice


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Inspiring the next generation with Tolu

At CIEC we are all about breaking down stereotypes so that ALL children know that there is a place for them in STEM careers if they choose.  We know that there is still important work to do in this area as can be seen in the work done by Inspiring the Future.  If you haven't yet seen their video 'Redraw the Balance' please stop what you are doing and watch it now!
 
 'Redraw the balance' shows that gender stereotypes are embedded by the age of 7.


An important aspect of showing children know that they too could work in STEM are the STEM professionals that we work with who provide children with diverse role models and show them that science and engineering can be a worthwhile career whatever your gender or ethnicity.

Tolu is one of the ambassadors that we work with in the Royston area.  She recently told our advisory teacher Clare Docking

 CIEC does great work, and I am proud to be associated with this organisation! The opportunity to showcase the work that I do as an engineer to an ever so curious and brilliant audience is something I relish and have found to be helpful in refining skills such as public speaking. Being able to give real life context to the children on some of the concepts they learn about in the classroom is something I find enriching. Not only does this help to demystify myths about STEM, but it also raises their awareness of the career prospects, and the role STEM plays in everyday life.

 
Tolu outside number 10 Downing Street

Tolu told Clare that she became interested in maths, physics and chemistry at school and knew from a very young age that she wanted to work in the world of science. Her parents encouraged her to take an interest in the sciences when growing up. However, others were concerned about her becoming a female engineer.  Fortunately, Tolu had the opportunity to visit local industry during work experience where she met a range of people in scientific roles and decided that she would like to become a Chemical Engineer. 

 
She knew that there was a place for women in engineering due to meeting some brilliant female engineers.  Even so, she is often the only female on the team and would really like to see more females in engineering and a greater ethnic diversity, particularly in leadership positions. Tolu enjoys her job very much saying that it is a very varied role and once trained you can work in many different sectors. She feels that she is making an important contribution to society and is doing a valuable job.

Tolu knows that her work as an ambassador for Children Challenging Industry is very important, commenting 


Although these children are still in the early stages of their education, I see it as an opportunity for a company to invest in the continuity of their talent pipeline. Beyond this is the possibility of young people, who as a result of being exposed to the industry feel empowered to pursue a career in STEM.

We would like to thank Tolu for taking the time to inspire the next generation.  If you would like to find out how CIEC could help the children in your school please contact us on ciec@york.ac.uk