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Mission to Mars! Engaging young people in STEM

by Generating Genius
Mission to Mars! Engaging young people in STEM
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
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Organization Information

Generating Genius

Location: South Croydon, Surrey - United Kingdom
Website:
Project Leader:
Tony Sewell
South Croydon, Surrey United Kingdom

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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