National Science & Engineering Week (NSEW) is a ten-day national programme of science, technology, engineering and maths events and activities across the UK aimed at people of all ages.

Anyone can organise an event or activity and the British Science Association supports organisers by providing:

Activity packs

National school poster competition

Mass participation in Flusurvey project

Case studies

How to guides

Our new activity packs include: 

Explore the future- for primary schools

Community garden challenge – for secondary schools 

Get engineering II – in partnership with Engineering UK (coming up)

Cracking chemistry, in partnership with Royal Society of Chemistry

This year organisers can celebrate anything related to science, technology, engineering and maths. The sky is the limit!

However, for schools, Explore the Future will be the common theme across competitions, new resources and online projects, to encourage teachers and other educators to look forward to the world their students will lead.

For further information :

http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/national-science-engineering-week

There are still places available at Education Scotland’s Community Resilience Conversation and Networking Event on Monday 17th March.

The day is aimed at members of the Scottish Government, emergency planning and civil contingencies teams from local councils, representatives from local education authorities, and members of other key organisations to consider community resilience as a rich and exciting context for teaching and learning.

Conversation activities will provide delegates with opportunities to network with one another and engage in professional dialogue in relation to preparing for emergencies and developing resilient communities. Selected examples of good practice will also be shared through engaging presentations delivered by government, local council and school representatives.

We would like to invite you to take part in the event at the Glasgow Hilton Hotel on the 17th March 2014 to explore how we might take forward resilience education in schools and consider important developments in teaching and learning.

We would be grateful if you could register online at http://svy.mk/Mb8ZM7 by end of day Thursday 13th March 2014 to confirm your attendance and inform us of any special dietary or access requirements you may have.

Delegates attending our fourth conversation day at Bucksburn Academy identified three key themes for improving science education.

Discussions focussed on:

  1.  Priorities for sciences education
  2. Identifying partnerships that work
  3. What does great learning in the sciences look like?

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views regarding the second theme which addressed identifying partnerships that work.

Identifying partnerships that work

Delegates identified various partner organisations that they were engaging with including subsea 7, forest rangers, ABC, mentoring John Lewis, STEM ambassadors, car safety, BP renewable, Forvie Nature reserve, university medical students, Zoo lab, forensic scientists, “curious about chemistry”. Learners at Bucksburn Academy had also set up a programme of advanced level lunchtime lectures in relation to STEM.

Delegates put forward suggestions for successful partnership working. It was agreed that this had to be mutually beneficial, providing support, resources and expertise for the school, whilst meeting the business needs of the organisation. In addition delegates highlighted the following:

  • organisation must provide support in the classroom and visit the school (not the other way)
  • partnerships should be innovative, curriculum led, embedded in the curriculum
  • personnel involved are enthusiastic individuals with a willingness to commit extra time to establish short/long term working relationship
  • investment and funding through the partnership provides opportunities for all

Delegates identified areas of partnership working which they regarded as requiring further development:

  • not enough organisations/partnerships to support early years
  • more visiting scientists lecturing at a high level – aspirations needed to be raised
  • speakers need to be able to pitch talk at right level for young people
  • mixture of input needed for different levels of interest required

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views. Click on the title of this blog post to leave a comment

Nominations for the next three rounds of cross authority working groups are due by 5pm on Monday 10th of March. If you’re interested in attending please contact your local authority organiser.

Glow TV events:

Ask the Expert – Neil Kermode      11 March 10.30       http://bit.ly/1g9zh90

As part of the Get Energised with the ScottishPower Foundation project, this series of broadcasts from the National Museum of Scotland will help N4/5 students in STEM subjects to learn more about renewables in Scotland. Hear from leading experts in the field and ask them about their work. 

Past papers identified by Education Scotland and SQA as appropriate for N5 Biology have been collated and shared by Invergordon Academy. These are posted on the Sciences Glow 365 site.

Geneious software suitable for case studies, a free download suitable for case studies in the Genome key area of DNA and the Genome unit at cfe Higher Biology is available from.

http://geneious.com/

A free online Environmental Studies textbook, Earth’s Dynamic Systems is available at http://earthds.info/ particularly good for Geosphere, Hydrosphere etc.

 Dave Edwards from the Open University asked Education Scotland to publicise this MOOC.

The OU’s free Moons MOOC is at; https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/moons  and I am gearing up to facilitate some of the discussion.  It starts on 17 March.

We envisage it taking around 3 hours per week, for the eight week presentation.

Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre have a S1-3 poster competition running currently, copies can be downloaded from their website under secondary education – ttp://www.abdn.ac.uk/biodiversity/education/secondary/cfe-support/

The Small Steps-Big Changes? Seminar on 27 February 2014, organised jointly by Education Scotland and Learning for Sustainability Scotland attracted over 60 participants from across Scotland interested in how those working in Community Learning and Development and those with sustainable development experience and expertise could work more closely together.

The seminar heard about learning for sustainability through Scottish Government policies, Education Scotland initiatives and local projects.

Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People set out the policy context for this work. Ms Campbell highlighted the opportunities offered by the Children and Young People’s Bill, the National Youthwork Strategy, the CLD (Scotland) Regulations, the Community Empowerment Bill and the recent Adult Learning Statement of Ambition. She said that ‘Learning for Sustainability is a Scottish Government and international priority for every type of learning’.

Professor Pete Higgins, Professor of Outdoor and Environmental Education at the University of Edinburgh and Director of Learning for Sustainability Scotland said, ‘Through learning together we’ll ensure that people and communities in Scotland have opportunities to understand more about the sustainable development issues that concern them, and to use their learning to help them shape their future as members of a nation that takes these responsibilities and opportunities seriously’.

Learning for sustainability is not just about One Planet schools but also involves the wider community. The links with Curriculum for Excellence and communities were ably illustrated as were empowerment approaches in partnership with Malawi and through community development in Scotland.

The showcase sessions provided eight examples of learning for sustainability in action and stimulated lots of discussion. The presentations and filmed clips of the seminar will be made available through i-develop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          STEM Central supports the delivery of teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.   

Through Learning in Context, practitioners can source information, resources, learning journeys and videos for nine learning contexts, including Food Security, Transport and Water.

To support and enhance the existing Water context section we have added three new learning journeys:

Changing States – Early Level

  • learners explore the changing states of water as they investigate freezing, melting, boiling and evaporation.

Travelling on Water – First Level

  • learners investigate floating, sinking and buoyancy and develop their understanding of the concept of density and Archemides’ Principle.

Uses of Water – Second Level

  • through science challenges and investigations learners improve their knowledge and understanding of the different uses of water in Scotland and the world e.g. as source of power or use in recreation.

The new water learning journey format incorporates the Design Principles demonstrating their relevance to planning enjoyable, contextualised and challenging learning experiences and in identifying appropriate forms of assessment.

There are supporting resources for each new journey and links identified for additional learning and teaching opportunities.  

Access the water learning journeys and supporting resources on STEM Central  

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/stemcentral/contexts/water/index.asp

 Sciences – National Qualifications Update

 We can now confirm that three Higher Cross-Authority Writing Workshops will now take place as follows:

 Session 1 – Evening session 5pm – 7:30pm on Wednesday 19th March and all day Thursday 20th March 2014. Venue: Stirling Management Centre, Stirling

 Session 2 – Thursday 24th April 2014. Venue: SSERC, Dunfermline

 Session 3 – Tuesday 27th May 2014. Venue: Glasgow, to be confirmed. Note: Date changed due to clash with Biology Markers’ Meeting.

 The purpose of the days will be to provide practitioners with the opportunity to share existing materials developed for the Higher Sciences qualifications and co-develop further materials as required including resources for each Higher Unit, banks of questions etc. Our hope is that we will have groups collaborating to support all five sciences Highers including: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Science. Education Scotland and SQA colleagues will also be attending to work alongside practitioners.

Each local authority is invited to identify one practitioner to attend. This should be a Faculty Head, Principal Teacher and/or someone with experience of developing course materials for national qualifications.  Nominations should be sent to Grant.McAllister@educationscotland.gov.uk by 5pm Monday 10th March 2014. When submitting nominations please provide the following details: name, role, school, email, subject specialism and dietary requirements. Our hope is that the same representative will attend all three events to ensure continuity but we realise that this may not always be possible.

One place for each local authority is guaranteed providing nominations are received by the deadline. Places not claimed by this point will be reallocated to other authorities. A limited number of reserve places will also be available to ensure balance across each of the five Higher qualifications. Authorities can nominate a second individual, from a different subject specialism, to be added to this list. We will notify reserve list nominees about availability of places shortly after the deadline on the 10th March.

Other updates:

Please note: you may need to click the compatibility view icon and/or refresh button in the top navigation bar of your internet browser to see the videos.

 

 An extensive range of course materials for Higher Sciences is available from Education Scotland’s NQ Higher Sciences website: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/highersciences/

The cross authority writing group’s approach to National 5 Hydrogels assignment has been published on the NQ Glow portal. http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqcoursematerials/subjects/c/nqresource_tcm4827127.asp .

Highland council have kindly shared their mapping of changes from traditional higher to CfE Higher for Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology and Physics. Again available on the NQ Glow Portal.

South Lanarkshire have produced a guide to assessments in the sciences at national 3, 4 & 5. This has been adapted to into subject specific versions and are available on the NQ glow portal http://bit.ly/1lcuFGn

 

The sciences glow 365 site http:\\bit.ly/glowsciences continues to be populated with more materials including resources for National 4 & 5 Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has an educators’ group: http://is.gd/circulareconomy. The Ellen MacArthur foundation has a number of resources suitable across the sciences and interdisciplinary learning activities. The Scotland’s Environment Website Youth Discussion competition is aimed at 5-18 yr olds and closes on 31 March. The competition has an environmental theme so it could cover a range of areas within the curriculum.

Time: 09:30 (for 10:00 start) – 15:00

Venue: Glasgow Hilton Hotel, William Street, Glasgow, G3 8HT

Education Scotland is excited to be hosting its first community resilience conversation and networking event with a view to developing a shared, partnership approach to provide 3-18 resilience education opportunities.

The day aims to bring together members of the Scottish Government, emergency planning and civil contingencies teams from local councils, representatives from local education authorities, and members of other key organisations to consider community resilience as a rich and exciting context for teaching and learning focusing on a range of contexts such as flooding and other forms of extreme weather and their impact on our lives.

Conversation activities will provide delegates with opportunities to network with one another and engage in professional dialogue in relation to preparing for emergencies and developing resilient communities. Selected examples of good practice will also be shared through engaging presentations delivered by government, local council and school representatives.

We would like to invite you to take part in the event at the Glasgow Hilton Hotel on the 17th March 2014 to explore how we might take forward resilience education and consider important developments in teaching and learning. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. There is no cost to attend.

We would be grateful if you could register online at http://svy.mk/Mb8ZM7 by Monday 10th March 2014 to confirm your attendance and inform us of any special dietary or access requirements you may have.

Education Scotland is delighted to announce that schools can now access Tigtag an award-winning online science resource for primary schools, free of charge through Glow.

We have agreed a 12 month national education licence with Twig World which allows Scottish schools to have unlimited access to this great resource.       

There is no need to ask for a free trial if you are already a glow user.

Simply, click on www.tigtagonglow.com

Put in your glow user name and password and start using this fabulous resource.

 

 

 

Alternatively, if you have entered a search for Tigtag and gone through   http://www.twig-world.co.uk/tigtag/ 

Click on this tigtag image in the top right hand corner   and you will be taken to the Tigtag home page. 

 

 

You will see this image .

Click on Log in with Glow and input your user name and password to start using the resource.

Remember  there is no need to click free trial if you are an existing Glow user.

 You can use Tigtag straight away to enhance and support your science learning and teaching.

 

  Tigtag provides access to:

 • background information, relating to the key concepts identified in the science organisers, and quality films to support and enhance teaching and learning in the sciences.

 • planning resources, investigation sheets, practical challenges and succinct clear lesson plans, providing a range of contexts for learning which draw on important aspects of everyday life and work.

• interactive lesson packages to help stimulate the interest and motivation of all learners and support staff in planning challenging, engaging and enjoyable learning and teaching activities.

 • a “What Happens Next?” and “Scientific Enquiry” section to encourage learners to engage in dialogue, developing their investigative and inquiry skills.

Following the publication of the updated 3-18 Curriculum Impact Report for Sciences in October 2013, Education Scotland hosted a series of conversation days to engage stakeholders in discussions around the findings of the report and to collectively identify priorities for action to secure improvements in science education nationally.

The fourth conversation day took place in Bucksburn Academy, Aberdeen, on 12th December 2013 and brought together around 40 participants from the local authority, Satrosphere Science Centre, Aberdeen University and representatives from industry, universities and schools. Delegates heard presentations from Kittybrewster Primary School, Bucksburn Academy, Glaxo Smith Kline and the University of Aberdeen.

Following the welcome presentation participants split into small discussion groups to identify the key priorities for improving science education. Discussions focussed on three themes:

  1. Priorities for sciences education
  2. Identifying partnerships that work
  3. What does great learning in the sciences look like?

 Priorities for sciences education

Attainment

Delegates recognised:

  • initiatives have been undertaken to address the gap in attainment however more was required to ensure those from the most deprived backgrounds are not disadvantaged further by their educational experience
  • the importance of support at home which had to be encouraged through good communication between parents and staff
  • developing good numeracy and literacy skills in primary helped access the sciences curriculum. This did not appear to be continuing at secondary, why?

Support

Delegates suggested:

  • local authorities should lead and coordinate science in all sectors. They should be providing early years and primary teachers with high quality, sustained science CPD opportunities
  • every primary school should have a science coordinator/nominated teacher with responsibility for science.

Confidence

  • Delegates highlighted the lack of confidence in science knowledge and expertise which can affect learning and teaching in the primary sector.
  • Practitioners are fully aware of the  importance of  bringing the real world into the classroom to motivate and engage learners and believe this can be achieved if they have access to relevant,  high quality CPD and are given time to commit to CPD.
  • Authorities should provide financial support to assist practitioners in accessing resources to facilitate and support their teaching.
  • In the primary sector qualified teachers in the STEM subjects would be advantageous

Cluster working

  • Delegates viewed that early years, primary and secondary colleagues should work as a team and there should be greater use of cross – sector links e.g. primary pupils should be invited to the secondary science club

Learners attending the conversation day highlighted the areas they regarded as being the key priorities in sciences education:

  • key to accessing the sciences curriculum is the relationship between learner and teacher and good communication ­– they needed to feel confident about asking for help
  • active learning in the sciences should be a priority
  • Practical activities helped engage learners and develop higher order thinking skills
  • homework should be relevant to the learning at the time and coordinated better between departments to avoid overloading learners
  • learning through real life contexts is extremely important
  • practitioners had to address the variety of learning styles and offer a variety of teaching experiences to engage and motivate pupils.

SECONDARY

Delegates highlighted a number of concerns relating to the secondary sector which they viewed as being key priorities in teaching the sciences:

  •  inadequate amount of time to deliver content within the new CfE qualifications – the issue of pace in learning and teaching has to be addressed to avoid putting learners under pressure
  • sequencing of teaching is a concern
  • Timescales for publishing of guidance documentation, support materials and resources has to be brought forward
  • Examples of assessments and tracking for the broad general education would be helpful
  • Difficulties of teaching N4 and N5 in the same class
  • Clarification is still required with regards to some aspects of assessment within the new national qualifications
  • Can universities help with the added value units?
  • Address gender bias within subjects – must address the image of  women in the sciences to get more girls to take physics.

Education Scotland is keen to hear your views. Click on the title of this blog post to leave a comment.

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