Descriptor: physics, technology
- Age: > 12
- Project: Mediatheque of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings
Description:Scientific imaging prepares the way for discoveries in medicine, biology, chemistry, astronomy and many more disciplines.
The Cell EXPLORERS programme is a science education and outreach programme developing a sustainable way of engaging the public in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
Cell EXPLORERS is a science outreach programme that began in the School of Natural Sciences at the National University of Ireland Galway. The programme delivers Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities regionally and nationally. Cell EXPLORERS runs on a unique, sustainable model where higher education institution employees and students, on a voluntary basis or as part of their degree, are involved in public engagement. Thus, there is a dual benefit of engaging children and the general public whilst also facilitating the training of tomorrow’s science educators and communicators.
The Cell EXPLORERS model of using volunteer students and staff to engage the local public has been expanded to several higher education institutions in Ireland, in both universities and Institutes of Technology. The current project involves a further expansion to a total of 10 institutions spread nationwide. These local teams of scientists will visit schools around their institution and engage children and their families in hands-on science using tried and tested Cell EXPLORERS activities. The Cell EXPLORERS team members act as role models of people pursuing a career in science for children at an age where they decide whether they like science and they would like to study it.
The aim of the project is to test whether this model of outreach and engagement can be used effectively across institutions to engage local communities and to develop guidelines on effective and sustainable outreach from higher education institutions. In addition, the model could allow engagement of traditionally hard-to-reach localities across the island of Ireland.
Target groups: college students, education authorities, general public, industry, parents, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university students, university lecturers, vocational school students, youth clubs
Topic: Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine, Biotechnology, Ecology, Environmental sciences, Food science, Gender in STEM, Genetics, Medical sciences, Microtechnology, Oceanography, Pharmacology, Physiology, Technology, Zoology
Start year: 2015
End year: 2018
Contact person: Muriel Grenon Email Muriel.grenon (at) nuigalway.ie
Assessment of the programme and evaluative research is performed on all aspects of Cell EXPLORERS activities including the volunteer scientists constituting the national teams as well as pupils, students and teachers hosting the teams in their schools.
Cell EXPLORERS volunteers are asked to complete pre- and post- activity surveys to gather feedback on their motivations, expectations and experiences of volunteering with Cell EXPLORERS. Partner team coordinators, who are responsible for managing the local Cell EXPLORERS teams in their institutions, are interviewed to gather information on the running of the team as well as any perceived impacts on their institutions, students and communities.
Outreach activities are evaluated to determine any short-term impact on the general public. In particular, the Fantastic DNA session is evaluated across all partner teams.
The curricular component of the Cell EXPLORERS programme is studied by asking project students to critically assess the project module and to reflect on any personal or skill development gained during the project.
A first step in project assessment has been completed and a summary of results is available here (http://media.wix.com/ugd/a74b8a_d096e33f7c6044bd86ff258a911af0ca.pdf). The full evaluation of the first stage of the project run in 2015 and 2016 where 5 teams were active is to be provided.
The main goal of the project is to investigate the adaptability and sustainability of the Cell EXPLORERS model of science outreach. Evaluation of the programme’s success and growth in NUI Galway indicates that the use of volunteer students, when given appropriate training, is beneficial both in terms of sustainability and in terms of providing young, accessible science role models to young people.
In addition, volunteers, as well as project students, indicate that they are gaining valuable skills and experience through participating in the Cell EXPLORERS public engagement activities.
The evaluation of the national roadshow has shown that half of the children visited in their classroom had never met a scientist before. The reports on this first meeting show a positive experience associated with the enjoyment of hands-on activity in the classroom.
This study is important in order to share knowledge about best practices for the involvement of HEIs in public engagement in science. Based on existing evidence, the model is successful, due in part to its mobilisation of third-level science students as science outreach volunteers. Further study at a national level could lead to the adoption of the model by HEIs and its use in STEM topics other than biology. A consequence of establishing a set of collaborating partner teams will be the emergence of a community of practice. This will allow sharing of best practice guidelines and ideas for novel outreach activities.
This could directly impact the dissemination of science education and public engagement (E&PE) activities in Ireland and in Europe.
The programme uses hands-on activities and local scientists to engage a range of publics in the importance of science in society with a diverse set of activities including school visits and science festival workshops (http://www.cellexplorers.com/activities).
The Cell EXPLORERS partners team run school roadshows nationally to classrooms. During the visit, participants impersonate scientists and are mentored by local scientists, facilitating real-life science experiences and one-to-one interactions with science role models. Each classroom visit is one hour long, are run at a high demonstrator-to-pupil ratio. The Cell EXPLORERS sessions involve hands on STEM activities allowing each pupil to carry out each experiment/activity themselves.
The programme promotes modern biology and biomedical sciences with most activities based around the topics of research in the school of natural sciences in NUI Galway.
The Fantastic DNA session is the most established Cell EXPLORERS school visit delivered nationally. The session involves a presentation, a banana DNA extraction experiment, another short presentation, a DNA model-building exercise and a quiz. It is described in detail on CE webpage: http://www.cellexplorers.com/#!fantastic-dna-/cp2o
Teaching material and protocols used during the Fantastic DNA Cell EXPLORERS Session are available in the Teacher Zone Section of the Cell EXPLORERS website. Other educational material on Cells, Genetics as well as the circulatory system and the respiratory system are also available in the teacher zone of the website.
Descriptor: engineering, information and communications technology (ICT), mathematics, technology
Description:This report sets the scene on how STEM education can improve students' learning outcomes and skills development -with the help of ICT- and how business can support the educational community in these developments. The research needed for this report was...
Descriptor: applied sciences, astronomy, biochemistry, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, ecology, electronics, energy, engineering, food technology, genetics, geography, geology, information and communications technology (ICT), mathematics, optics, physics, space exploration, technology, zoology
Description:Publication that compiles the workshops, experiments and demonstrations carried out during the “Finde Científico 2017” (<em>Scientific Weekend</em>) event.
Descriptor: agriculture, biology, botany, ecology, zoology
Description:Polinizapp is a game that simulates the pollination process of flowers in nature. The player becomes a pollinating insect with two objectives: to get life and to accumulate points. Life is produced by contact with the flowers, since they have pollen and...
Descriptor: astronomy, computer science, information and communications technology (ICT), mathematics, physics
Description:This book gives access to the bank of activities and teaching resources based on the movies studied during the project. The basic purpose is to help teachers to teach maths through movies.
Descriptor: educational sciences, equal opportunities
Description:This Teacher Professional Development programme provides teachers with tools to reflect on gender and the opportunity to change their practice to become more gender inclusive in their teaching.
Descriptor: aeronautics, astronomy, physics, space exploration
Description:Students build their own satellite using household materials. Through the process, they learn about satellites and their functions.
Descriptor: astronomy, physics, space exploration
Description:What is a star and what shape is it? Students explore both artistic and scientific representations of stars, and learn that stars are like the sun but much further away and make their own star hat.
Descriptor: astronomy, physics, space exploration
Description:Street lights of the same type will look brighter when they are close to you, and less bright when they are farther away. The same applies to astronomical objects: a given star will look brighter to a nearby observer than to an observer far away. In both...
Descriptor: chemistry, earth sciences, physics
Description:When you add water to effervescent (fizzy) tablets or baking powder, bubbles are formed: a gas is produced. You can use this gas to inflate a balloon without blowing it up yourself. What kind of gas is it? Let us collect this gas and analyse it through...
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