October 31, 2011 - 1:03 pm
WANTED: A VOLUNTEER THAT WANTS TO BE KEPT IN THE DARK! STEM Ambassadors with interest in astronomy are invited to help with the Dark Sky project.
With a resident population density of approximately two people per square mile, it’s perhaps not surprising that Northumberland National Park has some of the darkest skies in the region. The opportunities for star gazing are infinite and at this latitude, even the Aurora (Northern Lights) can be seen on those rare occasions of intense solar activity. Many people consider dark skies as contributory factor to the area’s sense of tranquility; however, it is a special quality that cannot be taken for granted. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. (CPRE) has published Light Blight maps for the last 20 years, and though Northumberland is still considered the darkest County in the UK, its percentage of area with truly dark skies decreased by 28% and its average night time brightness rose a whopping 1,000% between 1993 and 2000. And this trend is unfortunately still on the increase!
Following recent, successful conversations with the Kielder Observatory and other Astronomical Societies, we are considering whether to secure Dark Sky Reserve status for Northumberland National Park, to complement Kielder Water and Forest Park’s bid to secure Dark Sky Park status.
The application to achieving either status requires a high degree of commitment from the main organisations overseeing and financing the process, but more importantly, it is the roles of volunteers that will be critical to making this happen, particularly those with specific skills/experience. We would like to know if there are any volunteers out there who may have the following skills, and would like to have their names put forward for being involved in this project.
· Project management
· Experience of project funding bids
· Data collection
· An interest/passion in astronomy/dark skies
We are still at a very early stage of this project, but I will be more than happy to talk to anyone about this exciting venture. Do not hesitate to contact Duncan Wise from Northumberland Nartional Park Authority) by phone on 01434 611521.
Source: Northumberland National Park info; NNP logo from
October 27, 2011 - 2:03 pm
Global CREST challenges are based around Practical Action’s work, which uses science and technology to address global issues such as energy, water and food. The resources are designed to help teachers and students undertake CREST awards that relate to the work of Practical Action, a UK-based charity that uses engineering solutions to help communities in the developing world. The activities give students a real insight into how science and technology can be used to tackle challenges faced by communities in the developing world, and how they can be part of the solution. These awards form part of the British Science Association’s CREST award scheme.
The five different themes which will help students begin their challenge are based around: shelter, food, transport, water and energy. The resources can be downloaded from the Practical Action’s website: http://practicalaction.org/crest
To find our more about CREST Awards check: http://stem-ncl.org/crest/secondary.php
Source: Practical Action website www.practicalaction.org
October 26, 2011 - 11:06 am
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) honours teachers for their dedication to inspiring the next generation of chemists.
Do you know someone who has made a significant contribution to teaching the chemical sciences, developed innovative materials for students or is based in industry and has played a key role in promoting the chemical sciences in education?
They have a wide range of Prizes and Awards to acknowledge those undertaking excellent work. In recognition of their achievement award winners receive up to £2,000 prize money. Visit the RSC website for further details and to make a nomination.
Reward achievement: 2012 nominations open on 1 September 2011.
To view our full list of Prizes and Awards visit the RSC website.
Closing date for nominations is 15 January 2012
To find our more visit: www.rsc.org/EducationAwards
Source: RSC Education Awards flyer
October 25, 2011 - 3:39 pm
Tyne Metropolitan College and Norham Community Technology College visit Siemens Energy Services for a Collaborative Development Day
Engineering Staff from TyneMet College, 4 teachers from Norham Community Technology College and Jo Lyons from the North Tyneside Education Business Partnership recently met with Carl Hopper, Siemens Energy Services STEM Ambassador for a tour of the Siemens Energy Services Plant to discuss ways of actively driving the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) agenda in North Tyneside forward.
The visit enabled the group to share good practice and discuss related teaching and learning resources which will lead to enhancing and enriching the curriculum, both inside and outside the classroom, to motivate students towards STEM.
The STEM agenda is integral to the College’s growth and development plans, TyneMet is already a regional leader for Engineering and Technology, with a wide range of vocational courses at its Coast Road Campus, designed to up-skill and advance both employees and employers across the North East.
TyneMet’s partner college and dedicated A Level Sixth Form, Queen Alexandra, is one of the top performing colleges in the country for Science and Maths with 100% pass rate across many AS and A2 subjects including Maths, Further Maths and Physics. More than half of Queen Alexandra’s students taking Physics and Further Maths are gaining the highest possible grades (A*, A or B). Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College outranked all other English schools in its category for AS Use of Maths to win a prestigious ‘Good Schools Guide Award for 2011. This coveted A Level awards recognises teaching excellence: an accolade that further demonstrates the College’s commitment to outstanding results, support for our A Level students and vision for growth in STEM areas for the future.
Across industry, societies, charities, universities and government, there is a wealth of expertise, resources and commitment to inspire and engage students with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The STEM Framework aims to bring coherence to the wide range of activities on offer; creating a clear path for students and teachers to access the support available while enabling funders and providers to see where they can make a difference.
Mick Burton, Head of Engineering at TyneMet, said:
“Collaboration between industry and education is essential and underpins the College’s commitment to providing outstanding education and training so that students, the local area and employers can succeed and prosper.”
For advice and guidance on courses still available at TyneMet College and Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College, call 0191 229 5000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively visit the website www.tynemet.ac.uk
Photo – Left to Right
Gary Eiles, Teacher in Engineering TyneMet College, Carl Hopper, Siemens Energy Services STEM Ambassador, Mick Burton, Head of Engineering TyneMet College, Stephen Moore, Head of Technology Faculty Norham Community Technology College, Jo McClean, Science Teacher Norham Community Technology College, Nick Hinder, Technology Teacher Norham Community Technology College, Stephen Jackson, 2nd in Maths Norham Community Technology College.
Source: TyneMet College press release
October 24, 2011 - 4:06 pm
Moorland Indicators of Climate Change Initiative (MICCI)
The National Park’s Audience Engagement Project needs growing support from Voluntary Rangers and volunteers to help more people (both numbers & type!) to enjoy Northumberland National Park.
The latest opportunity to help out and do something a bit different is Moorland Indicators of Climate Change Initiative (MICCI)
What is MICCI?
Very basically the project gets young people out to measure the depth of peat, take soil samples and send data to be analysed by www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk So not only is it fun & educational for those involved, but it the data analysis is an output that will benefit other areas of the organisation’s work such as biodiversity and archaeology
Where did it come from?
This project has been running in the Peak District National Park for the past 4 years. Have a look at http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/learning-about/learning-projects/climatechangeproject for a bit more background.
Why do it in Northumberland?
Our Border Mires are internationally important and have an unbeatable (we think but let’s prove it!) depth of peat. Some schools have already shown interest in helping us collect consistent data on peat depth in our park.
What is the volunteers’ role?
We need volunteers to assist staff, teachers and university students on field trips to carry out the peat depth sampling. These trips will take place next March to coincide with science week (weather depending). To enable interested individuals to do this we are running a training session this autumn.
MICCI TRAINING SESSION
DATE: Friday, November 11th
TIME: 10.30am – 4pm
VENUE: Twice Brewed Inn, Bardon Mill, Hexham, Norrthumberland, NE47 7AN, plus site visit
Indoor session at Twice Brewed Inn (back room)
10.30-11 Background & how MICCI works (Chris Robinson, Learning and Discovery Officer at the Peak District National Park)
11-11.30 Peat in Northumberland, including a showing of Our Beautiful Bogs (Gill Thompson)
11.30-12 How will MICCI work in Northumberland? (Mandy Roberts)
12- 1pm Lunch (provided) & travel to site
Site Visit at National Trust land south of Peel Crags.
1pm-3.00 Practice Field Trip
3.00-4.00 Travel back to Twice Brewed for warm-up, coffee & quick discussion.
If you are a STEM Ambassador or a teacher interested in this training session please contact STEM Outreach team on 0191 200 4453.
- 1:57 pm
Chantry High School get Appy with BT at STEM Challenge 7 Final
BT and STEMNET invited STEM Challenge finalists to compete for big prizes at the Natural History Museum
Chantry High School, Suffolk has won the most recent STEM Challenge! The competition asked students from across the UK to work in teams to design a smartphone app which can be used by visitors at London 2012.
STEM Challenges are a series of competitions designed to encourage young people aged 11-14 to use the skills learnt in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths lessons to help prepare for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games. STEMNET (The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Network) works in partnership with major organizations to nationally manage each Challenge for UK Secondary Schools.
STEM Challenge 7, supported by BT- the Official Communications Services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – asked students to help make London 2012 Everyone’s Games by designing an app that provides useful information, communicated and accessed in the best way possible in order to contribute to a great Games experience for all.
Following regional competitions, eight schools from across the UK reached the national final at the Natural History Museum on Thursday 20th October. Each team of students aged 11-14 competed in a Dragon’s Den style pitch before a panel of expert judges. Finalists included:
• Bushey Meads School, Herts & Luton
• Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, Hereford & Worcester
• Broxburn Academy, East Scotland
• Chantry High School and Sixth Form Centre, Suffolk
• All Hallows Catholic High School, Lancashire
• Gosforth Central Middle School, Northumberland & Tyne & Wear
• Kesgrave High School, Suffolk
• The Harvey Grammar School, Kent & Medway
The winning design, presented by Chantry High School, was commended for its professional finish and in-depth technical knowledge. The team won £1,000 worth of equipment for their STEM Club and an experience prize awarded by BT. Second place was awarded to Team Oxidise from Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, Hereford who received £750, the third place team from Broxburn Academy, East Scotland were awarded £500. The judges were looking for a creative, innovative idea which also applied the Olympic and Paralympic Values to the project, as well as a display of excellent teamwork and the development of inspirational ideas.
The STEM Challenges have received the London 2012 Inspire Mark and are part of Get Set, the London 2012 education programme. The first STEM Challenge required students to consider some of the steps involved in designing a National Handball Centre for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the second was to design a glove suitable for rowing, canoeing or sailing. The third STEM Challenge invited students to explore approaches to anti-doping laboratory techniques. The fourth Challenge asked students to pitch their plans for sustainable travel from their schools to forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Game venues. STEM Challenges 5 and 6 focused on designs for leading GB paratriathlete, Jimmy Goddard and paralympian Rachel Morris.
STEM Challenge 8, sponsored by Deloitte, is now underway and invites students to explore Paralympic sports available in their local areas and propose ways in which more people can get involved! Schools wishing to enter this challenge can visit www.stemchallenges.net for further details.
Source: STEMNET’s press release
October 17, 2011 - 3:19 pm
One of our STEM Ambassadors – Dr Elisa Lopez-Capel from Newcastle University is delivering a workshop on energy production. Teachers are invited to attend.
Teachers’ workshop: Motivating critical thinking of young people in issues surrounding energy production and use.
Date: Thursday 24th November 2011
Time: 4:15pm to 6:30pm
Venue: The Meadows. Waterville Road. North Shields. Tyne & Wear, NE29 6BA. http://www.meadowwellconnected.org.uk
Travel: Next to Meadow Well metro station (see map attached)
Registration Deadline 15th November
Buffet and refreshments available on arrival.
Please register for this event so that we know how many people to expect: http://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=2303
The ‘North East Schools: understanding Energy and Sustainability’ project aims to develop a sustainable programme in Energy Education through Newcastle University engagement with Schools, Councils and Museums in the North East.
Programme activities include: taster sessions, identification of resources (online questionnaire), development of resources (including teachers’ workshops), and delivery of activities at schools.
If you have time, please fill in the online questionnaire to ensure the event meets your needs and expectations. http://www.survey.bris.ac.uk/newcastle/beaconenergyteachersq
The purpose of this workshop:
• Capture your views on energy related educational resources
• Provide training in energy management (including a tour of renewable energy facilities at the Meadows)
• Showcase some of the energy educational materials we are developing: workshops, lesson plans, pupils’ findings, outcomes. This will include a presentation of findings from the Whitley Bay High School yr9 workshop on ‘Can you help improve your school’s energy efficiency?’
Identify educational resources associated with our core expertise in energy research at Newcastle University
This workshop has been developed in collaboration with North Tyneside Council, and supported by Whitley Bay High School and The Meadows.
If you would like more information about the project, please contact:
Dr Elisa Lopez-Capel , Research Associate in Energy Biosciences at Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (email@example.com) http://www.beaconnortheast.org.uk/projects/18/ne-schools-understanding-energy-and-sustainability-project
If you would like more information about The Encompass tool and Energy management, please contact: Mike Keenlyside, Environmental Sustainability Officer at North Tyneside Council.
October 6, 2011 - 4:00 pm
STEM Ambassador / Teacher Networking and Nuffield Celebration
During last school summer holidays 32 students from across the North East took part in amazing projects working with some of the region’s leading Higher Education Institutions and organisations at the forefront of STEM. Having succeeded against stiff competition, the students received funding from the Nuffield Foundation Bursaries Programme (coordinated in the North East by Newcastle College STEM Outreach).
More about Nuffield Bursaries here
Around 100 teachers, students, parents, STEM Ambassadors and Nuffield project providers met last week at Newcastle College Performance Academy to celebrate the work of Nuffield students and their mentors. They were treated to some entertaining demonstrations of “Famtastic Plastic” by students, Reece Hughill and Aleksandra Slebzak, with their Mentor Anne Willis of Northumbria University.
The event was also a great opportunity for Teachers and STEM Ambassadors (trained and CRB checked volunteer professionals who work in schools throughout the country) to talk about enrichment in schools and forge relationships to bring “real life” STEM into the classroom.
The STEM Ambassadors and teachers networking event with Nuffield theme was supported by Nuffield Foundation and Royal Society of Chemistry and many chemistry projects were displayed. This ChemNet type event allowed people to talk about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths behind the Nuffield projects and about STEM in schools.
The event was supported by:
- STEM Ambassadors
- Nuffield Foundation
- Royal Society of Chemistry
- The Wolfson Foundation
- Newcastle College
Pictures by: Dominic Gange firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2:06 pm
Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for all survey!
Newcastle-based social enterprise Open Engineering Solutions is carrying out a survey about skills shortage and youth unemployment levels, including female participation in science and engineering. WE encourage all STEM Ambassadors, teachers and other STEM-oriented individuals to spend 5 minutes and help with the research.
The survey is open until 31 October