Schools Posters

A selection of posters is available for the classroom to support science and maths teaching at primary and secondary schools.

These are match to Key Stages in the English Curriculum but provide and excellent free resources for Scottish Schools.

Friday 14th March saw around 150 P6/7 children from 4 schools visit Dundee Science Centre to participate in the Magnificent Microbes day, part of the Magnificent Microbes project, a joint venture between the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee and Dundee Science Centre Science Learning Institute.

The children had the opportunity to meet scientists and researchers from the University of Dundee, and with them explore the magnificent world of microbes, including getting hands-on with techniques used by microbiologists.  There was a wide range of activities and games to take part in, including learning about biofilms, glow-in-the-dark bacteria, discovering what microbes look like, finding out which of our favourite foods owe all they are to microbes, and an exciting opportunity to grow common microbes from their hands in a petri dish.

Children and teachers alike were amazed by the range of activities on offer. From the feedback we received it seems that this session had a very positive effect on the learners’ attitudes towards microbes, and that the scientists successfully engaged with school pupils over the necessity of microbes to our lives and the important research taking place at the University of Dundee.

This project has been running since February 2014 and began with professional learning for teachers and classroom based activity to discover the degree of the children’s prior knowledge and understanding of microbes.  This children’s time with us at Dundee Science Centre will be followed up with further learning in class, supporting literacy, numeracy and encouraging creativity, as well as opportunities to have scientists visit the schools to work with the children and discuss their learning.  The project will culminate in a Celebration Day at the University of Dundee, where representatives from each class, their teachers and families will join the Magnificent Microbes researchers to share their learning from the project – a chance for the children to teach the scientists!

We are delighted to have been supporting this project, working in partnership with the College of Life Science at the University of Dundee.  To find out more about the Magnificent Microbes project or if you are interested in getting involved in the future, why not come along to our Professional Learning session on 7th May 2014 at Dundee Science Centre, where we will be showcasing some of the activities involved and discussing progressions of learning in sciences from early to second level, focusing on CfE organisers in sciences Body Systems and Cells, and Inheritance.  You can find more information on our website, or contact us on or 01382868609 for enquiries and booking.

Tuesday 18th March sees the culmination of three months of work by over 320 in Fife on the ‘What’s out there? Explore our amazing universe’ project.

Around 320 P6/7 children from 10 schools will join Dundee Science Centre at the University of St Andrews to celebrate their learning in the ‘What’s out there? Explore our amazing universe!’ science and literacy project.

This Dundee Science Centre and Fife Cultural Trust project, delivered in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, has been running since January 2014. The initiative has included professional learning for teachers and visits to Dundee Science Centre for children, where they have had the opportunity to discover the wonders of our solar system and beyond, and enjoy some hands-on exploration of how we use invisible light to understand what’s out there.

Children have been working on the project within and outwith school, using Dundee Science Centre’s ‘Travellers on Spaceship Earth’ loan box resources to create their own myths around star constellations and hunt for exoplanets – planets beyond our solar system. Each child received a copy of one of the series of science adventures, written by Stephen and Lucy Hawking. Children have been designing and launching rockets, writing letters to Stephen Hawking, contacting the International Space Station, learning to code in binary and lots more. Each teacher received a copy of ‘Why we are Not Alone: Why We Have Already Found Extraterrestrial Life’ by local astronomer and author, David Darling, who is joining the celebration to share his own journey and adventures in science and writing with the youngsters.

The children will share their work with each other, as well as David Darling, Louise Smith, CEO of Dundee Science Centre, and University of St Andrews student ambassadors. The children’s work is also on display for the public at Dundee Science Centre on Sunday 16th March as part of the Fife Science Festival Family Fun Day. You can see more on the progress of the project, and children’s work including videos and pictures, by following us on Twitter @DundeeSciLearn.

We are delighted to have been running this project, working in partnership with Fife Cultural Trust, and with the help of the University of St Andrews. By the feedback from children and teachers in participating schools, this has had a positive impact in the classroom, and on learning. Children, teachers and families have embraced the project, and the opportunities it offers, taking it in many diverse directions, led by the creativity and interests of the children. We are really excited about sharing the children’s learning with the public at Dundee Science Centre, and having the opportunity to celebrate their learning with them.

Education Scotland has produced a series of second level learning journeys addressing the subject of Food Security, which is about people having enough food and water to survive.

There are many factors affecting food security around the world such as natural disasters and the weather, which can lead to malnutrition, disease and ultimately death.

Science, technology and maths play an important part in improving food security through, for example, the development of new drought resistant crops, fertilisers and pesticides.  

The food security learning journeys enable learners to develop an understanding of plant life cycle and growth conditions, recognise the importance of a biodiverse ecosystem and understand that all life depends on plants. There are also Teachers’ Notes and additional resources to support the learning experiences.  

Access the food security learning journeys and resources on Stem Central through:      

‘I learned not to be scared to talk about cancer’

A really exciting day on Friday 7th February when we welcomed P7 pupils to Dundee Science Centre to work with world-leading scientists from Dundee Cancer Centre. Through hands-on activities, developed and delivered by scientists, researchers and nurses from Dundee Cancer Centre, children learned about cells and cancer.

Children said:

I can’t choose one thing, I loved it all!

I learnt about how the different bloods get ready for scientists! It was fun!

That you should be careful with what you wear outside and that if you eat broccoli it helps a lot.

I learnt that cancer travels faster than normal cells.

There are 200 types of cancer cells

I enjoyed making play-doh drugs

Very easy to understand and was fun

I enjoyed meeting a real scientist

I learnt that strawberries have DNA and what our cells look like! It was fun!

I learnt today about cancer and how it can be stopped.

Teachers were equally positive in their feedback:

Hands on activities are great. Brilliant to see the kids engaging so well.

The people who were doing the explaining, explained very complex concepts in a very understandable way for the children.  It’s something that we will pick up on when we go back to school and share what we have learnt with the rest of the school and try to find out more.

This is the first part of a bigger piece of work, the next steps of which are to work with teachers from secondary schools and Dundee Cancer Centre to develop a workshop to support the broad general education in the secondary setting, or the Senior Phase.  This will provide opportunities for learning for teachers involved, and the pupils in the 10 secondary schools we work with, when we bring our funded outreach to them between September and December 2014.

If you’re interested in being part of this exciting project, and connecting your learners with cutting-edge, world-leading sciences happening in Dundee, please contact Lauren Boath, Science Learning Manager for more information (

What is the Magnificent Microbes project?

The Magnificent Microbes project is a joint venture between the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee and Dundee Science Centre Science Learning Institute.  The project, run in 2010 and 2012, has been received very positively by children and teachers alike, being described as “exciting”, “inspiring”, “a great way to understand more about microbes”. Teachers described the impact on children’s learning, and enthusiasm for science as a result of taking part. Participation provided teachers with opportunities for professional learning which had built capacity and improved their knowledge, understanding and confidence in learning around the Body Systems and Cells organiser within Curriculum for Excellence.

The project includes:

-       pre-visit activity (supporting literacy)

-       visit to Dundee Science Centre to participate in Magnificent Microbes day (themes: hands-on science, positive role models, cutting-edge research on the doorstep)

-       post-visit learning (supporting, literacy, numeracy and encouraging creativity)

-       post-visit opportunities to have scientists visiting the school

-       Celebration Day (sharing learning, supporting literacy)

-       display of children’s learning about Magnificent Microbes in the Prism at Dundee Science Centre in May / June 2014

Where does the Magnificent Microbes project fit within Curriculum for Excellence?

“At second level (SCN 2-13a), through practical activities carried out in a safe environment, learners can explore examples of microorganisms that are beneficial and harmful e.g. the use of yeast in bread making and the importance of bacteria and fungus in the breakdown of waste in compost columns. This can be further developed… to include practical activities to safely test for the presence of microorganisms in the local environment. The effects on growth of microorganisms of a variety of factors, such as temperature and disinfectants, can also be investigated. This leads on to the exploration of the use of microorganisms and enzymes in industry at fourth level.”

Education Scotland (2009) Concept development in the sciences paper

“Through research and discussion I have an appreciation of the contribution that individuals are making to scientific discovery and invention, and the impact this has made on society”

Education Scotland (2009) Curriculum for excellence: sciences experiences and outcomes

Participation in the Magnificent Microbes project supports development of the capacities of Curriculum for Excellence:

Successful learners

Attributes: enthusiasm and motivation for learning; openness to new thinking and ideas

Capabilities: use literacy, numeracy and communication skills; think creatively and independently

Responsible citizens

Attributes: respect for others

Capabilities: develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it; evaluate environmental scientific and technological issues

Effective contributors

Attributes: resilience

Capabilities: communicate in different ways and in different settings; work in partnerships and teams; create and develop.

Involvement in the project includes starter activities for use with learners, prior to the class to Dundee Science Centre. The project will be completed in the classroom following the Magnificent Microbes day in March 2014. These activities have been designed to be used flexibly, to ensure that they can be used to meet the needs of children in their own context, and to develop skills in literacy and numeracy appropriate to second level.

Literacy across learning

Participation in the project provides opportunities for learners to developing literacy skills through:

  • explaining their thinking to others (Listening and talking for learning, Literacy across learning: principles and practice);
  • finding, selecting, sorting, summarising and linking information  from a variety of sources  (Reading for learning, Literacy across learning: principles and practice);
  • making notes, developing ideas and acknowledging sources within written work, and developing and using effective vocabulary (Writing for learning, Literacy across learning: principles and practice).

Creativity in Sciences

After the visit

Within the class, we would like the children to create a piece which represents and communicates their learning.  Scientists from the University of Dundee would be delighted to come to each school to talk about this with the children. This provides the opportunity for learners to share their thinking and use others’ contributions to build on thinking.

From each participating class we would invite the children who created the work(s) to join us, with their teacher(s) and their families, at a Magnificent Microbes Learning Celebration at the College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee.

Numeracy in sciences

 “Having discussed the variety of ways and range of media used to present data, I can interpret and draw conclusions from the information displayed, recognising that the presentation may be misleading.

I have carried out investigations and surveys, devising and using a variety of methods to gather information and have worked with others to collate, organise and communicate the results in an appropriate way.”

Education Scotland (2007) Curriculum for excellence: numeracy and mathematics experiences and outcomes

At second level learners have an extended range of presentation methods, including bar and line graphs, from which they can select the most appropriate for presenting the data/information they have collected.  They identify the relationship between the variables and use this to draw an appropriate conclusion, consistent with the findings.

Education Scotland (2013) Assessing Progress and Achievement in the Broad General Education in Sciences

After the visit

Within ten days of the visit, we will send a photograph for each child of the microbe growth from their hands. We would ask the children to carry out a class survey and select the most appropriate method for presenting their data / information from which they can consider whether or not it is possible to draw any conclusions about gender differences in microbe growth. This activity provides opportunities to develop numeracy through appropriate interpretation of numerical information, using it to draw conclusions and make reasoned evaluations.

Celebrating learning

At the Magnificent Microbes Learning Celebration at the University of Dundee, the team from Dundee Science Centre and the scientists and researchers involved with the project will be joined by children from all of the classes participating in the project. We will use the children’s work to create a display about their learning. At this celebration, the children will have the opportunity to explain to the scientists at the University of Dundee what their work shows, why they have chosen to do the work as they have done, and why they chose that particular aspect of the learning. Through this, they will have the opportunity to organise their ideas in an appropriate way for the purpose, using suitable vocabulary for their audience.

Sharing their work with a wider audience

Following the Celebration Day, we will use the display created as an exhibit in the Prism of Dundee Science Centre, for families, visitors and other school groups to see. The children’s microbe sample images, along with samples from members of the public will also be included as part of the display. We hope this display will help others learn about Magnificent Microbes and be inspired to learn more!

What does participation involve?


4 February 2014 Project familiarisation: meet the team and find out more about the hands-on activities in the project
14 March 2014 Schools visit Dundee Science Centre
21 March 2014 Schools receive microbe handprints from University of Dundee
21- 25 April 2014 Researchers from University of Dundee visit schools (optional)
25 April 2014 Schools to return data presentations on microbe growth to University of Dundee
25 April 2014 Children to select who to represent their class at the Learning Celebration
6 May 2014 Learning Celebration at University of Dundee
9 May 2014 Deadline for return of teacher evaluations

How many children, classes and schools can be involved?

We have capacity to include 180 – 210 children in the project. The participation cost of the project per child is £50. Of this cost, the University of Dundee and Dundee Science Centre have sought funding to cover more than 90%. The participation cost is therefore £3.50 per child. For children attending schools in Dundee City Council, funding is available to support this participation cost.

Where Scottish Government funding is available to support travel, we will provide a travel subsidy to cover the full cost of transport. This is determined by criteria set by the Scottish Government.

Interested? Get in touch is the place to learn more about wildlife and to share your interest in a friendly community.  iSpot, developed by The Open University, allows you to upload photos of your observations and get help identifying what you have seen.

It’s perfect for those plants, fungi or mini-beasts that you’ve seen whilst outdoors whether it be in the playground or on a school trip, but are not sure what they are.  iSpot can be used as an aid to educating children and adults alike.  Just make sure you have a camera with you and then at home, the office or school, the photos can be uploaded on to iSpot. 

The website also has handy keys to help aid identification, once you register gain points as your reputation grows, and use the forums for discussions.  iSpot is your place to share nature. What have you spotted today?

iSpot is part of The OpenScience Laboratory. Follow us on twitter @ispot_uk

RCSEd Christmas Lecture :

 ”The work of the Sports Doctor; Tales of the Unexpected”

Join Dr James Robinson in a Glow meet on Monday 2nd December, 1.55pm-2.55pm, where he will outline the role of exercise in health, both to the individual and the population.

Dr Robson has been team doctor on the last six consecutive tours by the British and Irish Lions. He joined the Scotland team as doctor at the start of season 2002/2003 and has now been team doctor for more than 100 Scotland Test matches, including the Rugby World Cup competitions in 2003, 2007 and 2011. 

He will endeavour to bring to life through his own experiences, over many years of International rugby, the life and times of the team doctor. From the lows of injury, to the highs of sporting victory, the lecture will touch on some moments of drama for those whose work is sport, and for those who care at pitch side.

For further detail regarding registration




Get Interactive with data

A whole range of new tools and resources to view, analyse and visualise data and information have been launched on Scotland’s Environment Web.

  • Map View where you can look at any combination of 165 published map layers,
  • Discover Data applications for the latest Household Waste and Water Classification data
  • Resources produced by different organisations providing interactive data
  • Environmental Games that make finding out about the environment more fun. 

 The team at Scotland’s Environment Web are always interested to hear about new ideas for links to resources, games, data visualisation applications, map layers or even mobile app’s that record observations about Scotland’s Environment.

Contact with your ideas.

Sign up for regular information through Scotland’s Environment Web newsletter


Wednesday 5th March 2014 1615 – 1830

What are the mathematical processes required for teaching sciences?  Exploring the teaching of maths in sciences for second, third and fourth level

Using a context within biological sciences, we will explore the mathematical processes required for teaching science and consider if we should alter our approach when doing so.

We take it for granted that the maths in sciences is the same as the science in maths. Join us to consider numeracy across learning, number and number processes, data and analysis, measurement, fractions and percentages in the context of sciences.

Recommended for: Practitioners planning for learning and teaching at second to fourth level in sciences and mathematics

This event will be held at Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee, DD1 4HN. A number of charitable trust funded places are available. If you are interested, please contact us on The session runs from 1630 – 1830 with arrival for registration and refreshments from 1615.

© 2012 STEM Central in Motion Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha
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