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STEM team takes 'sustainability' to the Gambia

by Guest Blogger: STEMPoint 29. March 2010 15:17

 

The Derbyshire Education Business Partnership’s STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – team, together with staff from Kniveton CE Primary School, have been on a trip of a lifetime to offer some much needed educational support to the Janet International School in Gambia. 

Mangrove swamps, dusty dirt tracks, oyster farms, blistering heat and the sound of baboons, awaited the team who spent a week over the February half term sharing a programme of work with students and teachers in the underprivileged area of Bakoteh. The programme focused on local environments and incorporated work on climate change, the carbon footprint and sustainable energy. The team settled in straight away after a warm welcome and were able to deliver a series of fun and engaging activities - including K’Nex solar panels, LEGO NXT robotic cars, wind turbines and solar ovens – to the beaming students, who had never in their life seen such technology. 

STEM manager, Lawrie Peck said, “It was an incredible privilege to be part of this project – to see the students growing in confidence as they embraced the new ideas, particularly in a region so in need of cost-cutting sustainable energy technology like these. It just demonstrates what an important role science, technology, engineering and maths can play in our world, and how important it is to build this into education from a young age.” 

Guest Blogger: Lawrie Peck, Derbyshire Education Business Partnership

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National Science and Engineering Week in the East Midlands

by HannahB 18. March 2010 14:08

On Wednesday 17th March the East Midlands STEM Partnership hosted an event as part of National Science and Engineering Week. Students spent the afternoon at the National Space Centre and saw ‘Bridget’, the multi-million pound robot, part of the EXOMars project that will touch down on Mars in 2016 to study the biological environment. Students from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire participated in some of the 150 interactive master classes held at the National Space Centre. A student from The Long Eaton School, Nottinghamshire, who attended the A-Level Physics master class said; "Today was an experience of a lifetime, most beneficial to further my studies in science".

Prior to visiting the National Space Centre, the day began at Crown Hills Community College in Leicester, where students demonstrated inspiring creative science activities; including Lab 13, a dedicated science space in the school, managed by pupils, for the pupils. Students also experienced Kit in a Kase taking part in some fun, contextual science. The morning concluded with a Come Alive with Science demonstration. Students had the opportunity to design and make their own t-shirts using photochromic paints and LED lights. A student from Crown Hills Community College said “Come Alive with Science is great fun, an enjoyable mixture of different lessons with maths, technology and science lessons".

The event supported National Science and Engineering Week (12-21 March) and was an opportunity to promote some of the fantastic STEM activities taking place across the East Midlands, many of which are funded by the East Midlands Development Agency. Other activities across the region included Lab in a Lorry, a mobile lab giving students the chance to explore science hands-on, which visited Montsaye School in Northamptonshire. Students at Montsaye, learnt how oil is extracted from its source and participated in experiments involving frequency and sound.  Year 9 students from Haven High Technology College, Lincolnshire hosted a screening of their film about climate change ‘Enter the Future’ as part of the Come Alive with Science programme.

New report from Science and Learning Expert Group

by Guest Blogger: CathyB 5. March 2010 13:41

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' (BIS) Science and Learning Expert Group has recently released a report Science and Mathematics Secondary Education for the 21st Century

The report outlines five priority areas for improving STEM learning in schools and colleges;

  1. Recruit more STEM graduates into teaching, then train and retain them
  2. Improve the content and assessment of science and maths at GCSE and A-Level (including having expert groups advise on the design and development of qualifications and assessment)
  3. Clearly differentiate the learning pathways available to young people
  4. Integrate IAG into science lessons and enrichment, and develop HE and workplace links
  5. Foster a commitment to excellence in science and mathematics in schools and colleges through accountability mechanisms and incentives. 

There’s a good article about the report on the BBC website.  You can see the responses from Schools Minister Iain Wright and Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson on the BIS website.

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Maths Inspiration: 25 March 2010, Nottingham Playhouse

by Guest Blogger 5. February 2010 13:11

Maths Inspiration is returning to the Nottingham Playhouse on 25 March after the huge success of this school lecture event in 2009.  We’re expecting pupils from about 40 schools from Nottinghamshire and the surrounding counties to come, with full houses (nearly 700) at both shows. 

The event aims to inspire more teenagers to pursue mathematical subjects to a higher level.  Audience interaction and humour are an important element.  Scientist and stand-up comedian Helen Pilcher is the MC, and Mark Lewney – rock guitarist and physicist – is the headline act.  The audience will also get insights into the building of the 2012 Olympic Stadium from engineer Paul Shepherd, and a talk on the maths of psychology (with a bit of Derren Brown style telepathy thrown in) from author and broadcaster Rob Eastaway.

The event is suitable for sixth formers and more able/motivated Year 11s. To book your place, or find out more visit http://www.mathsinspiration.com/events.html

Guest Blogger: Rob Eastaway

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Events

Top 20 Most Popular Future Jobs of 2030

by HannahB 1. February 2010 14:17

A new report (.pdf) commissioned by the U.K. government and conducted by Fast Future asked a select group of futurists and thinkers to list what science and technology jobs they think would be most popular by the year 2030.

The group came up with over 100 roles, 20 of these were selected for the study. 

These roles could see trips into space no longer being just for astronauts, with future jobs as space pilots, tour guides and astro architects! Computers and robots are expected to transform the fields of medicine and farming. The world of medicine will see advances in nanotechnology, enabling scientists to treat cancer and other resistant diseases at the cellular level.

Here’s the complete list of all 20, with summarized descriptions:

  • Body part maker: Create living body parts for athletes and soldiers.
  • Nano-medic: Nanotechnology advances mean sub-atomic treatments could transform healthcare.
  • GM or recombinant farmer: That’s “GM” as in “genetically modified” or engineered crops and livestock.
  • Elderly wellness consultant: As an aging population increases in size, we’ll need folks to tend to their physical and mental needs.
  • Memory augmentation surgeon: Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, surgeons could boost patients’ memory when it hits capacity.
  • ‘New science’ ethicist: With the rise of cloning and other ethically-dubious practices, ethicists will be needed to ford the river of progress.
  • Space pilots, tour guides and architects: Space tourism will allow for space pilots, tour guides and the architects that will allow them to live in lunar outposts.
  • Vertical farmers: The future of farming is straight up. Vertical farms in urban areas could significantly increase food supply.
  • Climate change reversal specialist: Regardless of what you think about human-induced climate change, it’s clear we’ll need scientists who specialize in altering it.
  • Quarantine enforcer: When a deadly virus spreads rapidly, quarantine enforcers will “guard the gates.”
  • Weather modification police: If weather patterns can be altered and adversely affect other parts of the world, law enforcement will be needed to keep things legal.
  • Virtual lawyer: As international law grows to supercede national law, lawyers will be needed to handle cases that involve people living in several nations with different laws.
  • Classroom avatar manager: Intelligent avatars will replace classroom teachers, but the human touch will be needed to properly match teacher to student.
  • Alternative vehicle developers: Goodbye, internal combustion engine. Zero-emission cars will need smart people to design and manufacture them.
  • Narrowcasters: As in, the opposite of “broadcaster.” Media will grow increasingly personalized, and we’ll need people to handle all those streams.
  • Waste data handler: Think of it as an “IT axe man”… for information. Waste data handlers will destroy data for security purposes.
  • Virtual clutter organizer: Now that your electronic life is more cluttered than your physical one, you’ll need someone to clean things up — including your e-mail, desktop and user accounts.
  • Time broker/Time bank trader: What’s more valuable than precious metals, stones or cold, hard cash? Your time.
  • Social ‘networking’ worker: A social worker for the Web generation.
  • Branding managers: These already exist for celebrities, but now everyone needs a “personal brand” so others can easily digest who you are and what you stand for.

For complete descriptions and resources for these jobs see the original article

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Discussion

Less than 2 months to go... National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW), 12 – 21 March 2010

by HannahB 21. January 2010 14:13

 

The East Midlands STEM Partnership is supporting The NSEW Team to encourage organisers to register their events on the national database – this is a great opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work taking place here in the region.

We are interested in all your events – big and small! Do you have an event or activity planned for NSEW here in the East Midlands? If so, add your event to the online national database by registering here, then fill in the online form by selecting ‘Add an event’ from the left-hand menu.

Thousands of people across the UK take part in NSEW events and activities every year and join the celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and its importance in our lives…this year, why not be one of them!

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On the Media: The Appliance of Science – 13th January 2010.

by HannahB 12. January 2010 14:37

 

The Frontline Club is a media club in central London that champion’s independent journalism http://frontlineclub.com/ . On the 13th January at 7pm they are planning a discussion on the leaking of the notorious ‘Climategate’ emails just before the Copenhagen global warming summit, the resignation of Professor David Nutt as chairman of the government’s drugs advisory panel: two events that demonstrate how politicised science has become.

The event will start at 7pm and usually lasts 1.5 - to 2 hours. Speakers include Ben Goldacre and David Shukman, who will be joined by scientists and science journalists.  The aim is to discuss the media's relationship to science and the science community. Looking at issues of good/bad journalism in relation to science, also the interplay of science, politics and the extent to which journalists are representing the debate.

If you are interested please contact Roxane Brown by email on or phone, 07957 631142

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Events | News

Aimhigher Leicestershire celebrates win at International Space Olympics

by Guest Blogger 2. December 2009 16:23

 

A Leicester student is the first non-Russian to be crowned winner of this year's International Space Olympics, after four Leicester colleges received funding from Aimhigher Leicester City and Leicestershire. Jonathan Bootle, 17, from Evington in Leicester, was crowned winner after he  travelled to Moscow to compete in the prestigious competition. His achievement was remarkable as it was the first time in 17 years that the title did not go to a teenager from the host country. His experience included a chance to speak to astronauts in the International Space Station. 

The competition sees students from all over the world take exams in maths, physics and creative writing – all based on space-related questions. In total 24 A-level students from four Leicester colleges attended, spending 10 days in Moscow. Several won prizes. Jonathan, a student of Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester, said it was an amazing experience. He said: "I couldn't believe it when they said I'd won. I honestly would have never believed that could have happened. It's certainly something to talk about in my interviews to get into university.” Jonathan's prize was a Gagarin Medal and a certificate enrolling him into the Cosmonautics Federation of Russia. 

The team was led by Gateway College teacher Stuart Gill, backed by colleagues from other colleges. He won a Gagarin medal in recognition of the 10th time he had brought students to the Russian capital. He said: "It's a fantastic education opportunity for students. They mature tremendously and make friends for life. This year is an overwhelming achievement. They've done Leicester very proud." 

Neil Stock, co-ordinator for Aimhigher, which encourages students from backgrounds who would not normally consider going to university, said: "We want to stretch and challenge the more able students to go on to higher education and the International Space Olympics does just that."

Aimhigher Leicestershire: http://www.vesa.org.uk/aimhigher-leicester-shire/ 

Neil Stock, Aimhigher Leicestershire

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News

Amazing feats of science and engineering on our doorstep

by Guest Blogger: CathyB 28. October 2009 13:34

Did you know that the steel ribbed umbrella was invented in Derbyshire or that the inventors of the video recorder worked for the Nottingham Electric Valve Company? Neither did until I found a new online map showing where important discoveries were made around the UK. 

These inventors are joined by other East Midlands’ scientists and engineers such as Sir Alec Jeffreys, who discovered DNA fingerprinting in Leicester, Peter Mansfield, who developed the MRI scan in Nottingham and Sir Isaac Newton who lived and worked in Lincolnshire.  

The interactive map has been built to reflect local and national treasures of the vast array of the UK's scientific heritage. 

The public will be able to vote on these leading examples of innovation and discovery and even add their own suggestions of the finest scientific achievements to come out of their locality. 

The national map has been compiled with help from the 70 various science, technology, engineering and maths organisations which support the National Science and Engineering Competition and The Big Bang, UK Young Scientists' and Engineers' Fair. 

http://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk/doorstep/

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News

2010 National Science and Engineering Competition

by Guest Blogger: CathyB 21. August 2009 11:56

Do you know of any 11-18 year olds who have done an amazing project or invented something new? If so then you should encourage them to enter the 2010 National Science and Engineering Competition. They should have completed a project or activity in any field of science, technology, engineering or maths.  

There is over £50,000 of prizes to win for both teams and individuals in three age categories. The best entries will be invited to present their projects at The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists’ and Engineers’ Fair, in Manchester on 11-13 March 2010. The two individual winners in the senior category will also gain the titles of UK Young Scientist of the Year and UK Young Technologist of the Year. 

Closing date for entries is 30th October 2009.  See www.nationalsciencecompetition.org for full details. 

Please encourage talented young people in our region to enter.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed in this Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the East Midlands STEM Partnership, its partners or funders, including East Midlands Development Agency.

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