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Aug 30, 2018

Mission to Mars a new APP for teachers

 

Mission to MARS becomes an App. We are seeking support to have:\

 

‘Mission to Mars’. Science clubs. Our App will give teachers the resource to deliver this exciting 

venture

 

Rationale:Students from more disadvantaged backgrounds may lack the breadth of experience and self-belief common in students in more advantaged areas and schools. This puts them at a disadvantage when competing for places at the more prestigious universities and, ultimately, when seeking to enter ‘the professions’.

 

Aim of this resource:To improve students’ motivation to study science post 16 and post 18 and improve their capability in selection centres and UCAS interviews. Students exposed to the supercurriculum will gain confidence from becoming experts in their chosen STEM topic(s) and will become more comfortable in discussions, interviews or presentations through repeated opportunity to develop transferable skills.

 

The answer is start university preparation at Year 9 at the very latest.

These activities are designed subliminally to give students the self-belief that prepares them for higher study and the professions.

 

STEM Insight Activities:

Teachers are free to choose any activity from the suggestions below. In each case the activity will require students to undertake some reading/listening/watching/practical investigation in order to develop insight into the chosen topic. Several activities can result from the same background research undertaken by the students. In many cases the research culminates in an event (often held after school but not necessarily so) which can be facilitated by a teacher, or a STEMLearning Ambassador, or a Governor or Livery Schools Link Volunteer.

  1. STEM Changing the World Discussion Group 

Students are provided with a reading/listening/watching list on a STEM topic then come together in a small group once a fortnight (lunch times or after school) to talk about what they found out. This can be facilitated by a teacher, or a STEMLearning Ambassador, or a Governor or Livery Schools Link Volunteer.

ADDITIONAL: Students could submit an essay based on their reading/research for a ‘Named Essay Prize’ (sponsored by a governor or a business with a prize).

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Responsible research and Innovation Discussion Group.

Students research the regulatory framework and the ethical and societal implications of a topic. Based on the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation, students research the health and safety or resource or environmental implications of their chosen topic and then, within a Discussion Group, discuss the implications of the research on society eg will a manufacturing a new device result in shortages of a component material, will there be environmental implications of the manufacturing process such as waste treatment, will the availability of a device or process lead to societal impacts eg job losses or ethical concerns.The discussion can be facilitated by a teacher, or a STEMLearning Ambassador, or a Governor or Livery Schools Link Volunteer.

ADDITIONAL: Students could submit an essay based on their reading/research for a ‘Named Essay Prize’ (sponsored by a governor or a business with a prize).

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. ‘Radio’ interviews based on chosen topic/directed reading

Interviews are conducted with two students, one observing and the other being interviewed. This is followed by evaluation by the observer, interviewer and interviewee.  The two pupils then swap seats. The aim is to discuss ethical issues and to look at both sides of an argument that had no obvious right answer. This can be facilitated by a teacher, or a STEMLearning Ambassador, or a Governor or Livery Schools Link Volunteer.

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Presentation Society  

A fortnightly meeting of a group of students. Each meeting to have 4 or 5 presentations on any science topic.  No more than 5 min talk followed by 5 min to 10 min of Q&A.  The regularity and high frequency helps to maintain a degree of pressure and constant practice. This can be facilitated by a teacher, or a STEMLearning Ambassador, or a Governor or Livery Schools Link Volunteer. 

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Poster session 

Students prepare an A2 poster to showcase what they know about their chosen topic. Posters are displayed around the room and each student stands by the poster. Visitors (parents/governors/businesses/peers/younger students) walk around looking at posters and asking questions of the author. The best poster design/ most informative poster / best answers to questions, etc can be recognised with award. This is a good ‘end of term’ event.

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Mini conference 

Students make short presentations eg 5 minutes plus Q & A to peers and/or visitors (parents/governors/businesses). This can be combined with the poster event above.

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Interviewing an expert (having read their life story) – for an article/recording

Students research the life story and career history of an academic or other expert and devise questions to ask in an interview. The interview could be face-to-face, or by Skype. The interview is then published on-line or in a school publication. It could be added to this website. 

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Café Scientifique 

Outside speakers or student speakers (possibly in pairs) are invited to speak on their chosen topic and the audience (peers/parents/governors/businesses) then asks them questions. This can be facilitated by a teacher, or a STEMLearning Ambassador, or a Governor or Livery Schools Link Volunteer.

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Dragon’s Den 

Students prepare a business proposal including patents based on a perceived gap in the market and pitch to a panel of experts. This can be facilitated by a teacher, or a STEMLearning Ambassador, or a Governor or Livery Schools Link Volunteer.

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Problem Solving activity 

Paper-based or experimental activity undertaken in a group to come to a final solution. This can be undertaken over an extended period eg several after school sessions or over a half term break.

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Mock Court Case

A court case which ends in a mock trial to a jury who decides the fate of the accused based on cross examination and defence. There must be real trail transcripts on record which can be anonymised for the course but would also add interest because we could give the students the verdict in the real world. Students could be on the defence or prosecution team and have mentors working with them. They could work on the background of the issues, consider their arguments which would be held up to scrutiny at the trail from the other team. It could involve coaching on self awareness in terms of presentation and delivery. Because it’s based on a real trial some of the issues could be revealed to them as they go along. This would be best as a half term activity and could be delivered by a University Outreach/Widening Participation department.

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

 

  1. Role Play

Students in teams have to undertake roles in a scenario replicating real life eg ‘solving a mystery’ or ‘averting a disaster’. Because it’s based on a real life scenario some of the issues could be revealed to them as they go along. This would be best as a half term activity and could be delivered by a University Outreach/Widening Participation department.

  1. Resources – hard copy
  2. Resources – on-line/websites/Tedtalks/Youtube
  3. Resources – iplayer
  4. Tech Talks
  5. Named Contacts
  6. Linked organisations/businesses
  7. Third sector/special interest groups

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Self-insight activities

  1. People Like Me

The current PLM takes a simple approach based on adjectives to enable girls in Years 7 - 9 to self-identify as being the sort of people who can be happy and successful in STEM study and careers. Independent evaluation by Open University has shown that it is more successful than other approaches in changing attitudes to STEM study. The current PLM is available as a PDF to be printed off and filled in on paper. This should now be put on line and make ‘interactive’ – as a website and an app? 

 

  1. People Like Me Pathways

PLM Pathways seeks to extend the PLM approach to boys and girls in years 10/11/12. The aim will be to enable students to self identify as the sort of people who are successful in STEM careers and will map them on to qualification routes and disciplines that are reflected in their personal aptitudes as well as interests.

As with PLM, the PLM Pathways will be available to students across the UK. GG can provide training, for a fee, for teachers and Ambassadors to use the resource in their school. In addition, companies who wish to encourage students to apply to work for them, can commission sector specific versions of the resource.

The PLM Pathway resource will exist on the SuperCurriculum website as pdf versions for adults to print off to use in class. It can also be made into a ‘clickable’ version for direct use in an app or website for students to try independently. 

 

  1. Skills Gap Analysis - Portfolio Building and CV writing

Students undertake a ‘Skills Gap Analysis’ which shows them the skills they have (that should be showcased in a CV/application/personal statement and identifies the ones where they need to establish a personalised programme of activities and experiences to ‘bridge the gap’

 

  1. Influencing people – System 1 brain thinking

The way people make decisions is not a logical as we like to believe. Our System 1 brain is prone to snap judgements and biases. Our System 2 brain is more logical and relies on facts – but often people find it’s too much hard work to use the System 2 brain and this means people often make poor judgements. Explaining how the brain works and helping students to understand how people think will help them to take the best approach to persuading people, explaining things, writing CVs and other documents.

 

  1. Fearless Futures
  2. Fearless Futures is an intersectional feminist social justice organisation that runs programmes with girls and women and men in schools, university and the workplace to develop knowledge critical thinking metacognition and understanding of inequality to support Innovative leadership development programmes supporting diversity and inclusion and unconscious bias for girls and young women with peer power, social change and female empowerment at their core.

Fearless Futures engages people in critical thought to understand and challenge the root causes of inequalities and grow powerful new ways of leading transformative change.

 

  1. Science it’s a People Thing

 

This workshop is designed to inspire girls about the STEM subjects where they are under-represented, such as physics and computer science. The workshop uses role models to facilitate small group discussion and explore gender stereotyping in a comfortable and safe environment. The discussions look at myths and facts about girls and women in STEM, how these subjects connect with issues that girls care about and their importance as a gateway into a wide range of interesting jobs and careers.

 

  1. Thinking Skills – ‘hats’

TBA

 

 

  1. Mock Job interviews 

As students approach interview age, setting up the opportunity for interview practice with ‘strangers’ will give them confidence when they experience the real thing.

 

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Useful Contacts and Links

  • People – experts, volunteers and ambassadors.

o  University researchers

o  Outreach departments 

  • Organisations

o  Businesses

o  University departments

o  Charities/third sector

 

  • Sources of information

 

  • Industry visits

 

  • Work experience

o  Livery Schools Link 

 

  • Scholarships

o  Arkwright  

o  Power Academy 

  • Summer schools

o  Smallpeice Trust

o  Universities

 

  • Awards

o  Teentech Awards 

o  Big Bang Fair

o  Crest Awards 

 

  • EPQ
  • Other
  • Teacher suggestions – offers of materials to put on the site
Jun 1, 2018

Mission to Mars: A digital curriculum for schools

Students working on their mission to Mars
Students working on their mission to Mars

TARGET: SENDING MORE MISSIONS ACROSS THE WORLD

 

Flashback to 60 years ago, when the two mega powers USA and Russia were competing to land on the moon. It was a race of time, of who had the most resources and the brightest minds. Who ever won this race, had shown the world that they are the most powerful nation on earth. Now, there are more players contesting for the next big challenge:  getting humans to Mars.

 

The missions to Mars have to be timed right, as scientists take advantage of the alignment of planets, waiting for the time when the distance between the two planets decreased to the closest journey. The term ‘close’ in this context, is a relative one, the closest Mars can ever be to Earth is 54.6 million kilometers. NASA, still one of the major players,  has now announced its plans to reach Mars by 2030. There have been some spectacular developments over the last couple of years and even private people with huge budgets have entered the race to be there first!

 

Our students had the chance to experience the rush and complications of both the preparation and the landing on Mars with Thinkers in Education. Matt and his team design a day filled with activities which use virtually every aspect of STEM to ensure their success. It was all about teamwork; 5 teams representing 5 nations that are fighting to be the first to arrive and ‘claim’ Mars: Russia, China, Europe and the US.  

 

The teams had to determine whether there was water on Mars, if it is in fact habitable, how they would approach bringing equipment to Mars, how to land and savely build it. Using a cross section of skills teams had to show quick thinking, teamwork and analytical skills.

 

Thinkers in Education run ‘Mission to Mars’ around the world with other Year 10 groups. We are proud to say that the Generating Genius group broke the world record for team work, quick thinking and safe landing out of hundreds of schools who had participated in this programme all over the world.

 

The race is on to colonise Mars! You will need to cooperate to ensure success but only one team can claim final glory! During this event you will organise the Mission to Mars; You will conduct scientific experiments and get to understand real techniques used in Aerospace research and engineering.

Our Junior Genius cohort have been getting to know each other more throughout the beginning of the year especially during this February half term where they had the chance to interact and bond as a group.

 

 

Generating Genius

 

Nearly a decade ago, Generating Genius was founded , an innovatory programme to identify and nurture STEM talent among disadvantaged school students. Through its two programmes, Junior Genius for those aged 11 to 16, and Uni Genius, for sixth-formers, it has grown into a highly successful intervention, building leadership, resilience and self-confidence alongside academic success.

Generating Genius was the first programme of its type, and – uniquely – it provides a sustained programme of support across the whole secondary school career. This is no ‘quick fix’.

Generating Genius has now grown into a major programme which has inspired and supported hundreds of young people to pursue STEM-subject degrees at university and STEM careers afterwards. Our bespoke academic tutoring programme, provided by STEM undergraduates and postgraduates, has made a major contribution to closing the gap in subject knowledge between young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more privileged peers.

 

As the UK struggles to produce young people with the high-level specialist skills needed for the years ahead, Generating Genius has made a major contribution to creating a STEM talent pipeline for young people from non-traditional backgrounds.

 

The Mission to mars concept has now led to us creating our Science manual, which we can distribute to schools

 

Junior Genius. Year 9 to year 11

We are still planning the project and we haven’t yet assigned the PhD students. We no longer want an ad hoc curriculum with a set of one offs: New students Junior Genius must be prepared to undertake the range of sciences

They are taught by academic mentors: PhD students in 5  areas:  1 Engineering, 2 Computer Science 3 Bio-sciences, 4 Mathematics/ Physics, 5 Applied chemistry

They will also be taught leadership mentoring : , soft- skills from independent schools including debating skills

Output

  • presentation in front of real experts / debates
  • Teaching manual
  • Improved leadership and soft skills
  • Interaction with Independent schools
  • Video of best debates put forward for national competition
  • Group work – International coding

 

 

Opportunities to scale – up programme

  • Digitalise manual

An example of how we would operationalise a Junior Genius project in the new framework:

Using Chemistry to save the world: Generating Genius debate

 

As ideas have developed to address the Global Grand Challenges some developments are now changing the way the chemical industry is interacting with Society. The biggest recent tension has been plastics and the environment.  Too much of the debate has been on an ‘emotional’ level. Generating Genius can see an educational positive. Why don’t we use science and in particular Chemistry  on two levels:

 

1 To seriously debate the science facts and debunk some of the myths around for example Plastics and the environment

 

 2 Can we find Chemical solutions to environmental problems, in other words can Chemistry be the good guy/girl  in saving the world.

 

In order to achieve these two objectives we need students to understand the positives and challenges facing the Chemical industry. We need to see how the Chemical industry can add value and we need to understand its real shortcomings.

 

Using science to inform debate?   (Averil Macdonald)

 

Can we live without plastic?  After a brief overview of the great variety of physical properties of plastics that make them suitable for various intriguing and surprising applications, students are reminded of the basic concepts of solid, liquids and gases. From there, students are introduced to the idea of polymers consisting of long chain molecules. Polymers can exist as solid and liquids but often have properties of both (as in slime). Lively demonstrations show the effects of increasing the temperature, crosslinking the molecules, "tangling up" the polymer chains, and dissolving them in liquids. Some examples are given to show how by controlling what happens at the molecular level, the characteristics of the final material are determined.  This leads to the development of some great products which we might not want to let go.

 

 

Therefore Generating Genius would like to encourage a wider interest from students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This would result in a number of key outcomes:

 

1 Increased subject knowledge about Chemistry

2 Wider understanding of the Chemical industry

3 Developed debating skills

4 Passion to study chemistry at a higher level

5 Scale the methodology of Generating Genius across the country using a digital framework.

 

We want to develop a tool that teachers can use – which has the framework to run an informed school debate on: Can Chemistry save the world?  Schools then send us back their you-tube debates on this subject. This would be a link from our website  where teachers can download resources

 

We need funding to do two things:

 

1,  Test our model with the Generating Genius students.

 

2, Develop a debating resource for teachers

 

3        Run a video completion for the best school debate

 

The winning school get a chance to come to London to display their debate and they get Chemistry related prizes.

 

What we  have is nice. We might like to look at Worshipful Company of Horners as part funders along with British Plastics Federation (BPF) and Plastics Europe if you’re more ambitious.

  •  
  • My reservations hinge on the time required for schools to produce their videos. Do your schools have time/resource to do this? I’ve seen many cases of students being excluded from STEM stuff due to resource / time limitations.

 

  • Conversely I wonder if there’s mileage in hooking this into Teentech’s award scheme. They are currently expanding their awards to age 16-19. Your students or teams would submit their project (15 pages of written submission) for judging against criteria including innovation and their main aim is ‘changing the world’. The stage 1 winners present at Royal Society with a number of celebs judging e.g. Brian Cox, James May. The overall winners of each category go to Buckingham Palace for the presentation.

 

Uni - Genius

This is year 12 and 13  students mainly from BME backgrounds. We use PhD  students from related  Universities to help us develop the content and delivery. They are taught by academic mentors: PhD students in 5  areas:  1 Engineering, 2 Computer Science 3 Bio-sciences, 4 Mathematics/ Physics, 5 Applied chemistry

 

Outcomes:

  •  Academic poster/ paper
  •  Presentation in front of real experts / debates/soft skills with Corporations
  •  Related work experience/
  •  Attend high level University based lectures/ STEM in Action days
  •  Link to EPQ
  •  Ucas prep

 

 

 

We need funding  to develop the manual and scale this into schools across the Uk.  We are initially seeking £5,000.00.  Every little helps. Please give .

 

 

Mar 6, 2018

Mission report

 

Overall  students they were very happy with the mission to Mars   event, they  felt challenged, and enjoyed learning more practical aspects of science outside of the classroom. 

 

90% of them felt either agreed or strongly agreed that the session was fun and they really enjoyed the blood analysis. The only comments were that they would have wanted more time for the final activity but that is inevitable. 

 

 

WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON?

 

Our Junior Genius cohort have been getting to know each other more throughout the beginning of the year especially during this February half term where they had the chance to interact and bond as a group.

 

 We were hosted at Imperial College, where Professor Rankin and her team organized a masterclass titled “The Future of Biomedicine”. The Year 10s were introduced to the world of biomedicine and the evolution of medicine reaching from stem cell research to the use of alternative materials in transplants.

 

According to the feedback 99% of the  young people either agreed or strongly agreed that the session was interesting, 85% of them thought that the quality of the teaching was excellent and 92% of them thought that the content was appropriate for them.

 

Thursday we were off to conquer Mars along with Thinkers in Education at Brunel University. The entire day was staged as a game; 5 groups, 5 nations to be the first to arrive and thrive on Mars. This activity not only engaged them instantly, but challenged their critical thinking, teamwork, time management skills and a range of scientific theories. Thinkers in Education run these workshops around the world and not only for young people, but also in corporate settings to identify individuals that are outstanding. We are proud to say that our winning team that day broke the record that was set by students throughout the UK, Singapore and Australia since 2009!

According to Feedback: 90% of them felt either agreed or strongly agreed that the session was fun

 

Queen Mary University hosted us on our final half term day for a Masterclass on ‘Wearable Technology’. The challenge was to code a microcomputer called Bella using raw data, think like entrepreneurs and design a product that can help physiotherapy patients complete and count their prescribed exercises.

According to feedback: 90% of them felt they learn things that they would not have learnt in the classroom, it was a brand new topic.

 

Thanks to our partners at SThree, five of our Uni Jenius year 13s have been awarded a scholarship for their undergraduate degrees. They will be granted £2,000 per year throughout their three or four year courses. They were awarded the scholarship not only because of their outstanding grades, but also for their passion for the STEM sector and the potential we saw in them to achieve great things.

We congratulate Louis, Rada, Mariatu, Gloria and Arron!

 

Some of Year 12s have completed their work experience in February and we are working hard with our partners to ensure that every one of them will get an experience that will reflect their interests and career goals. Samuel, Year 12 has written a great blog about his experience at Department for Transport

y Samuel Omiye (Uni Genius- Y12)

What do you picture when you hear “Government Department”? Well I pictured a cluster of grey 4-sided cubicles and people typing at desks to fix traffic jams. Well boy was I wrong.

My first point of contact was Martin (HR) who warmly welcomed me to DfT and briefly gave an overview of the advancements in technology that we quite often take for granted (Were it not for engineers you wouldn’t be reading this blog post with the convenience of your computer/mobile). My second host, David  (Leader of Innovation Team) introduced us to the rest of the department and informed us of the great developments in transport awaiting us in the not too distant future, and what DfT was doing to stay ahead of the curve. Such novel forms of transport include: Hyperloop; Drones; Automated cars; and Flying vehicles. To be on the cusp of achieving what only existed in Sci-Fi movies, the future does look exciting doesn’t it? On Thursday I was treated to a “Futures Workshop” at the fancy high class Amba Hotel, where some staff members were being trained to identify emerging modes of transport and how they will affect the world.

At the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) I learned about the intriguing research on making energy cleaner. There are experts with various credentials and PhDs working on the development of wind farms, solar panels, and nuclear energy. I was awestruck to discover that the government had a goal of 0, yes 0 carbon emissions by 2050. This monolithic aim explained the atmosphere of urgency and focus that I experienced. Throughout the week I found that most individuals at DfT and BEIS were not driven by money or personal gain but rather the betterment of society as a whole.

Approximately 2 million engineers will be required by 2025 to satisfy growing demands, and unfortunately this is not likely to be met due to a lack of advertising and profession promotion. However, the government is trying to cure this with: “The Year of Engineering”. As of Jan 1st, 2018 has been dubbed as the year of engineering, in which the government (in alliance with private companies) holds educational workshops that encourage passionate children to pursue careers in STEM.

In conclusion, I was very grateful and privileged that Generating Genius organised a work placement at The Department for Transport and gain an insight into what the government have planned and the future they are carefully preparing us for. This experience has fuelled my desire to be an engineer, something that Mr Robinson said not only encouraged the generation ahead of me, but also the one behind me; seeing the flames of innovation pass down and cultivate drives them to continue inspiring.

Dear reader, you too can help solve this skills shortage by sharing this information with others and inspiring them to take up a STEM subject.

 

WHATS NEXT?

 

We are continuing our partnership with Latymer Upper School that provides curriculum masterclasses for our Year 10s on March 10 for Maths, and in April for Chemistry.

 

Junior Genius will also have the chance to meet our GG Alumni Gagan Khurana that is now working at Kilburn & Strode. They will be providing us with an insight day at their new offices exploring the world of intellectual property and the future obstacles that will be faced in privacy law. 

 
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