Tag Archives: higher sciences

Citizen science project to create soil radioactivity map!

cernStudents at Ruislip High School  in West London would like to invite schools, students and other interested individuals from across the UK to support them in creating a soil radioactivity map of the UK. The group, called RISE UK (Radioactivity in Soil Experiment UK), are using a CERN@School particle detector to determine the exact type of radioactivity produced by soil. The detector uses technology from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and combines physics with earth science in a novel way.

RISE UK needs your help to collect samples from as many parts of the UK as possible. We will analyse every sample received and then share your results with you a couple of weeks later.

Here are the steps for soil collection:

  1. Choose a natural and undisturbed location such as a wood or field. Sampling must be at least two meters away from paths, buildings and walls.
  2. Using a small spade and wearing protective gloves, dig to around 20 cm depth.
  3. Collect between 20 and 30g of soil from 20cm depth and place into a sealed, transparent plastic bag (such as a freezer bag).
  4. Write your name, date and location on the sample bag.
  5. Note the rock and soil type at the location (if known) and any other important features such as nearby power stations and any possible sources of contamination.
  6. Put the sealed sample into a jiffy bag and post to the following address:

RISE UK c.o. Ms Wijitunge

Ruislip High School

Sidmouth Drive




If you have any questions regarding this project, please email: Jessica.hamer@iop.org

Higher Sciences Evidence Spreadsheets

Posted on the NQ Higher Sciences website Higher evidence recording spread sheets for Higher Biology, Higher Chemistry, Higher Human Biology and Higher Physics. Similar to the spreadsheets shared to record the evidence for nationals, these are bespoke to each Higher. They can accessed at
Biology http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/highersciences/biology/learningandteaching/resources.asp
Chemistry http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/highersciences/chemistry/learningandteaching/resources.asp

Many thanks to John Watson of Campbeltown Grammar and to the SQA for their help and support in producing these.

Higher Sciences Cross Authority Writing Group

Following the NQ Sciences events which took place in Hampden Stadium in December 2013, Education Scotland, in partnership with the SQA, organised cross authority writing workshops for NQ sciences qualifications. Faculty Heads and Principal Teachers from 30 local authorities have attended and worked collaboratively to co-develop materials for priority areas identified required support at the Hampden events.
These events have been hugely successful; at the first event hosted at SSERC materials for the National 5 Assignment, National 4 Added Value Unit were produced along with a bank of open ended questions.
The first Higher event allowed practitioners to evaluate Education Scotland materials and to generate and share further support materials. The second event at SSERC allowed delegates to choose practical activities appropriate for the new Highers and practice these as well as gain some content training from our partners at SSERC. Over 500 resources was shared through the GLOW 365 sciences platform.
The third Higher Cross-Authority Writing Workshop took place on Tuesday 27th May.
The purpose of the day was to provide practitioners with the opportunity to complete the materials they are developing for the Higher Sciences qualifications and professional learning events with updates from industry and further education professionals of the applications and theory of new content areas. Colleagues from HMI, SQA, learned societies, STEMnet ambassadors and research institutes join the group. Presentations included careers in life sciences venture capital, the Higgs Boson, Antioxidants in food and Stem Cell research. Speakers then worked with teachers to produce professional learning materials, teacher and pupil resources and assignment materials.
The feedback from the events was very positive with those attending keen for the model of cross-authority collaboration to be extended to include preparation for the new Advanced Higher courses, review best practice in National 3,4 and 5 courses and to quality assure materials share through the GLOW 365 sciences platform.