Apr 212015

dundee science centre

Throughout the last term Dundee Science Centre’s STEM Learning Team have visited 10 secondary schools across Dundee, Fife, Perth and Kinross and Angus with Dr Stephen Watt of the Jacqui Wood Cancer Centre, University of Dundee. The team took groups of senior phase learners through an electrophoresis workshop developed to suit Unit 1 of the new CfE Higher Human Biology course.


The context was skin cancer, and the workshop had three distinct strands. Stephen had some DNA samples of a particular oncogene which the pupils had to prepare for loading, load into the gels, and then analyse the gels to determine which samples were healthy skin and which were cancerous.


Cancer workshop Crieff HS

Whilst the gels ran, they had the opportunity to study healthy and cancerous skin tissue through microscopes, identifying key features of each. There was also time for the pupils to speak to Stephen, to ask questions about skin cancer and what it is like to be a research scientist.



The groups then went through a data analysis task to see which type of cancer treatment is most effective – chemotherapy or targeted treatments.

The workshop provided an excellent opportunity for young people to learn from a professional scientist about world leading research.

Here’s what teachers said:

“It fitted in well to the Higher Human course”

“Pupils really enjoyed the workshop”

“An absolutely fantastic workshop, thank you!”

“I would personally love it if you were able to come out again when we are teaching CfE Higher Human next year!”


Dundee Science Centre hopes to be able to offer this experience again in the future. If you’d be interested to find out more, get in touch by e-mailing learning@dundeesciencecentre.org.uk


Apr 212015


The light at the end of the tunnel

This year’s Institute of Physics Stirling Meeting will take place at the Stirling Court Hotel (formerly known as the Management Centre) on Wednesday 20th May. Full details, including the programme and the online registration system are available at www.stirlingmeeting.org

Registration deadline is 15th May.

Once again SSERC will be distributing free a valuable educational resource to all delegates who are currently teaching in schools.

Apr 202015

Citizen science on prime time!

Sunday night’s Countryfile programme on BBC1 highlighted the issue of tree diseases and the effect on our environment and our economy.

The biggest threat to British trees is disease – and in many cases there’s no cure. The Countryfile team investigated the threats to our woodland and found out what we can all do to defend our trees including collecting data using the Forestry Commision website and app. You can also use the OPAL Tree Health survey to record findings.


Apr 172015

It’s an early bee count!great-british-bee-count-logo-waitrose

Find out about bees and why they are important. Encourage them into your school grounds and local environment and learn about the role they play in local ecosystems.

Different bees fly at different times. This year the Great British Bee Count will be looking at bees that appear earlier in the year.

So on Friday 1st May get ready to download the new bee spotting app and let them know what bees you see. The Great British Bee Count will run for the whole month of May.

educators_313Here are some ideas of things you can do with your class to get ready and encourage those bees into your school grounds!




Apr 172015

track a tree Track a Tree is a new project that will record the progress of spring in woodlands across the UK.

Phenology is the study of recurring seasonal events in plants and animals, and the timing of these events in relation to weather and climate. In spring, phenological events include trees coming into leaf, the flowering of plants, nesting of birds and emergence of caterpillars. Track a Tree is a citizen ecology scheme that will record the spring phenology of individual woodland trees and the flowering plants that make up the ground flora beneath them.BirchBudburst_Med

Use this project with your class as a way of connecting with the outdoors, giving young people ownership of their school grounds, or why not track a tree in the local community? This could also be used as a homework challenge with learners tracking a tree on their street or garden!ROS_CP_B1a

Visit Education Scotland’s ‘Panda Reporter‘ blog to find out about more of the citizen science activities schools across Scotland are taking part in! Plus Patrick the Panda will be tracking a tree in his local area and learning more about the environment.borestone panda

Apr 162015

Thales Mars balloonMARSBalloon is a free project open to all UK schools that launches student Mars science experiments on high altitude balloons 30km up into Earth’s atmosphere.

At this altitude the conditions of gas pressure, temperature and radiation are very similar to the surface of Mars; making it an ideal testing ground for trying out anything that humans or robots might be doing on Mars in the future.

Teachers can register now for our next flight where we plan to launch up to 100 student experiments; each of which should fit into a kinder egg toy capsule. After the flight the experiment capsules will be returned to the schools for analysis by the students.

This project can be run within a variety of STEM subject lessons or after school clubs and taking part will help your students to:

learn more about the environment of Mars and its future exploration

work as a group to formulate, design, build and analyse the results of a real Mars science experiment

consider careers in UK space and other STEM industries.
This project is run by space engineers from Thales Alenia Space UK and funded by Thales UK for the purpose of engaging more students into high tech engineering and ground-breaking science.

There is no cost to take part in the project other than that of experiment materials and postage. Teachers can find out more and register their class or club for free at www.marsballoon.com

To see footage of the previous launch click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvBxVCYyaXk



Apr 072015

science networkThe ENTHUSE Partnership Awards are a grant of £12,000 for groups of between four and eight primary schools wishing to work together to address local issues of underachievement in science/STEM subjects.

The ENTHUSE Partnership Award aims to support collaborative activities over two years to develop and strengthen local partnerships which can subsequently continue independently.

New schools wishing to apply to become an ENTHUSE Partnership, which will commence in September 2015 should show an expression of interest.

To receive an expression of interest form for completion, please email award-entry@slcs.ac.uk. Completed expression of interest forms need to be received by 4pm,Thursday 30 April 2015. Initial expressions of interest need to be submitted toaward-entry@slcs.ac.uk for the attention of Eleanor Malcolmson.

For full details please visit: www.slcs.ac.uk/consortia/national/enthuse-partnership-awards/

Mar 312015

Stirling HS John Muir Award Group Survey image 1 (2)The ‘Our Environment Competition’ is a great way of engaging young people with their local environment and conservation issues.

Children identify and collect information about an issue in their local environment, collate the information and propose a solution.

Submit your entry as a presentation, poster, leaflet, video or photo storyboard – or maybe you can think of another creative way.

Have you already been working on an environmental project? You can use what you have found out and produced for this competition!

The winning entry will get £1000!

Find out more here.


After much interest the closing date has been extended to Friday April 10th

Mar 262015

Following the publication of its 3-18 Curriculum Impact Report for Sciences in September 2012, Education Scotland organised a series of conversation days where priorities for action to secure improvements in science education nationally were identified.

Key aspects for development emerged which included:

  • support with the initial planning for learning and teaching in the sciences
  • guidance in and exemplification for assessment in the sciences
  • support for the delivery of topical science

To address each aspect the sciences team hosted three Glow Meets, each complimented by a series of professional learning twilight sessions delivered throughout Scotland.

Each Meet and twilight event has been very successful and to continue supporting practitioners we have uploaded the Glow Meets and power point presentations onto the Primary and Early years Glow 365 site.

Access through bit.ly/glowsciences

Mar 242015

Stirling HS John Muir Award Group Survey image 2 (2)There’s still time to get your competition entries in for the Our Environment Competition!








It’s easy to enter and you can win £1000!

Identify an environmental issues in your local area/school grounds.

Collect data about the issue (these easy-to-use surveys might help you!)

Young people can present their ideas for solving the problem (via presentation, leaflet, poster, video, photostory – or something else!)

You have until March 31st!