Tag Archives: Sciences

Magnificent Microbes

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 learning@dundeesciencecentre.org.uk

Scottish Water – Play safe around water this winter!

Scottish Water is reminding teachers and learners of the importance of playing safe this winter.

In recent years Scotland has witnessed some of the coldest winters for generations, so there’s no telling what the coming weeks may bring. Scottish Water is advising customers that they should remain vigilant and should not take any risks around freezing cold watercourses.

While it’s important that youngsters enjoy their school holidays and that people across Scotland take pleasure in the country’s beautiful lochs, rivers and reservoirs, it is also vital that they stay safe. Latest figures show 22 people died accidentally or from natural causes around water in Scotland last winter, but there are easy ways to prevent tragedies, and equipping yourself with the knowledge of what to do in an emergency can save a life.

For further details of Scottish Water’s recent release and advice on how to stay safe around water this winter, go to: http://bit.ly/1b4agsG

Climate Change in Scotland – Reflecting on Typhoon Haiyan and the impact of global climate change

The number of people confirmed dead in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan now stands at in excess of 4000, and a further 4 million people have been forced to leave their homes since the storm hit.

At a recent conference at the Royal Society in central London, the Prince of Wales claimed that the typhoon is a ‘direct result’ of climate change and that ‘the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events has increased, and is set to increase even further’.

In the face of global warming and it’s possible impact closer to home, Scotland has set world-leading greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and has plans in place for how to reduce further by 42% by 2020.

Adaptation Scotland provides advice and support to help ensure that Scotland is prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of climate change. Find details of key messages, climate information and adaptation suggestions in light of climate change in Scotland.

Mission:Explore celebrates John Muir with launch of a new ebook

A partnership between the John Muir Trust and Mission:Explore – a group of teachers, artists, activists and adventurers – has launched a free ebook to introduce the great explorer, naturalist, writer, mountaineer and conservationist to a new audience.

Supported by Scottish Natural Heritage, Mission:Explore – John Muir, features a range of activities that reflect the adventures and ethos of the Victorian Scot, whose 175th birthday will be celebrated this month in his adopted homeland the USA as well as in the land of his birth.

It encourages people of all ages – including groups and families – to follow in the footsteps of Muir by taking part in an imaginative set of ‘missions’, which involve looking, touching, walking, exploring, thinking, and even dancing in wild nature wherever they find it.

Suggested activities range from observing how frogs swim to getting windswept, creating a mini-National Park, and staring at the stars.

The book launch ties in perfectly with Year of Natural Scotland 2013 and its theme of celebrating John Muir. There is already interest across the UK and in America.

Your ebook is free to download from Mission:Explore and John Muir Award web pages, and can be used on smart phones, laptops and tablets, or printed off and read in the old-fashioned way.

Link to John Muir Award launch page – http://www.jmt.org/jmaward-mission-explore-john-muir.asp
Link to Mission:Explore launch page – http://www.missionexplore.net/shop

Daniel Raven-Ellison, Guerilla Geographer at Mission:Explore, said: “Mission:Explore and the John Muir Award have much in common. We’re both all about discovering, exploring, conserving and sharing, so making this book together made perfect sense.

“We had a great time making it and we’re sure that our readers will have an even better time doing each of the quirky adventures inside. Good luck!”

“These missions are great, you can really see the spark they’ve generated with teachers.” Carol Walker, South Lanarkshire Outdoor Learning Development Officer

Featuring 20 activities that reflect the adventures and ethos of the Victorian Scot, you can access the free Mission:Explore John Muir eBook or PDF in a number of ways:

• eBook – on-line with Graphicly http://graphicly.com/mission-explore/mission-explore-john-muir/john-muir
• eBook for iPhone or iPad – via ‘Mission Explore John Muir’ in iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/mission-explore-john-muir/id627660952?mt=11
• eBook from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=The%20Geography%20Collective&search-alias=books-uk&sort=relevancerank
• Printable PDF version (5.3MB) from http://www.jmt.org/jmaward-mission-explore-john-muir.asp

Find hundreds of other missions on the Mission:Explore website http://www.missionexplore.net

About Mission:Explore

• Mission:Explore is a collection of books created by the Geography Collective, a unique team of over 25 geographers, teachers, educators and artists who work together to help young people explore and see the world in new ways. It makes books full of illustrated challenges that aim to make children a little more confident, happy, empathetic and knowledgeable.They think that learning in the real world, in real places and about real issues are vital to any childhood.

• Mission:Explore has won awards including National Trust & Hay Festival Outdoor Book of the Year 2011, and a Pink Stinks approved stamp for being gender neutral.

About Year of Natural Scotland 2013

• The Year of Natural Scotland 2013 is the latest in a series of themed years for the Scottish Government. It aims to highlight Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity, and promote opportunities for visitors and residents to enjoy our beautiful landscapes, wildlife and heritage responsibly. http://www.snh.gov.uk/enjoying-the-outdoors/year-of-natural-scotland-2013

About The John Muir Trust

The John Muir Trust is the leading wild land conservation charity in the United Kingdom, with a membership of around 10,000.

We seek to ensure that wild land is protected and enhanced, and that wild places are valued by and for everyone.

The Trust does this by:
• Owning and managing wild land for conservation
• Assisting others in wild land management
• Campaigning for the long-term legal protection of wild land
• Encouraging people to connect with and care for wild places through the John Muir Award and volunteer conservation programmes.

We take our name and inspiration from John Muir (1838-1914), the pioneering, influential Scots-born American conservationist who dedicated his life to protecting wild places and campaigned successfully for the establishment of National Parks to safeguard vast tracts of wild land, including Yosemite Valley in California.