SCIENCE

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research, charity has launched a curriculum-linked learning programme to help 11-14 year olds lift the lid on brain science and inspire the next generation of dementia researchers. Brain Box, developed alongside the National Schools Partnership, helps teachers to develop their pupils’ scientific enquiry skills at Key Stage 3 with online content, researcher blogs, videos, games and research case studies.

Pupils of Walton School in Stafford have been some of the first to acquire their seeds from space, as part of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)  / UK Space Agency co-organised Rocket Science project. The seeds were in space for six months with British astronaut Major Tim Peake, and were returned to Earth in March by the former commander of the space station, Scott Kelly. The aim of the project is to compare the seeds with ones that have not been in space, in order to study the horticultural possibilities available to astronauts.

On Monday 14th March, three students from Toot Hill School in Bingham, Nottinghamshire won the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge competition at the Science Museum in London. For the second consecutive year, BP, STEMNET and the Science Museum launched the nationwide schools competition, which challenges 11-14 year-old students to test their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills by tackling real-world energy problems.

Rocket seeds that will be grown as part of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and UK Space Agency educational initiative, Rocket Science, have returned from the International Space Station (ISS). Half a million UK pupils have taken part in the project. The 2kg of seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) in September 2015, where they have been orbiting the Earth at a speed of 17,000mph.

Encouraging students to take an interest in Science, technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects can often be a challenge. This is especially true when teaching is based around workbooks and theory; when students are unable to find a link between what they are being taught, the learning environment they are in and their own interests, they are more likely to disengage. With the ever-increasing technological advancements, it’s not surprising that the next generation of students are likely to enter the working world, looking for jobs that don’t even exist now. Therefore, we must strive to inspire children from a young age, in order to unveil talent and boost engagement.

Unless you’ve been living in a vacuum, something the hero of my story is sort of doing, then you will probably be aware that said hero, astronaut Tim Peake, has just blasted off into space, becoming the first Brit to undertake a long-duration mission on-board the International Space Station (ISS).

Do you remember the excitement of going on a school trip? You’d rush home to give your parents a paper permission slip, gleefully hand it to your teacher the following day and then spend the rest of the week looking forward to venturing out of the school gates with your classmates.

LEGO Education have kicked off their 2016 developments by announcing WeDo 2.0, a hands-on Science and Computing solution designed for Primary schools. Combining the classic LEGO brick with classroom-friendly software and engaging projects based on National Curriculum objectives, the resource will teach KS1 and 2 pupils essential practices and skills in these two subjects. The company will be running free, teacher-led workshops from Stand E141 at Bett 2016 (20th - 23rd January, London).

The BP Educational Service has launched a new Light and Pinhole Cameras resource and a Pinhole Photography Competition to help young people aged 11 to 14 explore and celebrate the science of light. The new video-led resources provides schools with the opportunity to celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies 2015, and pupils are also encouraged to build cameras and send in best pinhole photos as part of a competition.

In 2014 the new Primary curriculum brought lots of interesting changes. One of the biggest changes was adding evolution and inheritance into the Key Stage 2 programme of study. While this new topic has raised some concerns from teachers, there are lots of fun and engaging ways to introduce children to evolution and inheritance.

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