2017 where did we go?

I am a little out of date, so ought to spend sometime catching up on where we’ve been with our Road Safety Project. I’ve been rather busy doing and had no time to get all these things up to date.

2017 continued to see our work displayed wider afield.

In January Mrs Physics took to Reading to be part of the ASE Conference as part of the Science on Stage UK delegation.

SSR September 2017, 99(366) 35

ASE schools exhibition The ASE Scotland Annual Conference 2017

ABSTRACT: Some impressions of the ASE Scotland Annual Conference 2017 from a teacher participant and exhibitor

After arriving at Harris Academy, Dundee, on Saturday 4 March 2017 in a downpour, the delightful and abundant cakes, pastries and coffee on offer at the Association for Science Education (ASE) Scotland Annual Conference were very welcome. Having set up our stand in the schools exhibition, I toured the other exhibits in the atrium. The stands were well presented and the people at each stand were knowledgeable and helpful. There was plenty of time to have really good individual conversations with people at the displays. Every hour or so the atrium emptied as everyone made their way to one of the many and varied workshops, covering all aspects of science and many giving inspirational ideas. Each of the workshops was well run, kicking off with ‘You’re never too young to be a research scientist’ by Professor Becky Parker MBE of the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), and ‘Creative science: explore the importance of creativity in the sciences’ with Christine Angus and Anna Danby of Dynamic Earth, and ending with ‘Book into Science! Encouraging children to read science for enjoyment’ and ‘Bangs, batteries and Barbie’ with Adrian Allan demonstrating how microscale chemistry techniques can be used to demonstrate chemical concepts. A Barbie doll was given a detox session in the interests of science education. There were plenty of goodies to go around and plenty of questions to ask. I attended two lectures run by the Perimeter Institute and representatives of the Institute of Physics. Both were really useful, totally linked to the curriculum, and the handouts were meaningful and detailed. To encourage participants to talk to people on the stands, each stand had a collection of stickers, which were given out to people who came and spoke to you. These were stuck to a sheet that went into a raffle with prizes supplied by some of the trade stands. Over lunch, there were more opportunities to discuss science teaching with friends, teachers and supporters. There was a constant buzz and chatter and you could tell that many were inspired by what they saw. By careful selection, you could create a programme of continuing professional development (CPD) that exactly met your needs and was relevant to the continually changing Scottish education system. A session later in the programme was given over to author Gill Arbuthnott, with me in tow, discussing how to get students to read science books for pleasure. We had previously given a presentation, together with Dr Ruth Jarman from Queen’s University Belfast, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and had learned a lot from each other, so Gill and I felt we had acquired the confidence to perform as a duo and had a real passion to get schoolchildren reading science books. I was influenced by the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, which celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people. I was shocked when I found that most students I teach have never chosen to read a science book from a library or bookshop and, in fact, few realised such books were on offer. Ruth Jarman is co-director of Project 500, which aims to get children and young people excited about science and enthusiastic about reading. Through the project, students are encouraged to visit their local library to access its range of science resources. We have shared ideas and experiences and realise that we have good complementary skills. Gill Arbuthnott’s writing is inspirational in the classroom. It was therefore a privilege to share our experiences with a group of keen teachers and supporters who also had an interest in getting more students engaged with reading science books. We had taken a range of different books 36 SSR September 2017, 99(366) along, from science books for the very young to ones that conveyed difficult science concepts in a novel form, such as Lucy and Stephen Hawking’s George’s Secret Key to the Universe. Everyone I spoke to was keen to find out more and had wonderful ideas to share. It was a great chance to get some new ideas and to be able to look at things with a fresh eye. I think the only thing that surprised me was that it was not as well attended as expected. So many people had gone to so much trouble to prepare workshops and displays, it was a pity that more science teachers and their supporters had not come along. They missed a great day of worthwhile CPD. I certainly hope to be back next year. Mrs Physics teaches at Lockerbie Academy, an 11–18 state secondary school in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Science on Stage Debrecen Hungary

Tuesday 27th June- 4th July 2017