The UK Schools Computer Animation Competition aims to excite school students aged 7-19 about Computer Science, and to encourage more of the brightest and best of the next generation to become not just users of computers, but creators of the future of Computer Science and Information Technology. The competition has run annually since 2008, and to date (March 2012) we have attracted over 3,000 competition entries from more than 5,000 school students from over 600 schools across the UK, representing an involvement by over 1,200 teachers.
In 1960 Theodore Maiman succeeded in the first experimental demonstration of the laser. Fifty years later it is difficult to figure out a scientific discipline that does not involve a laser or a day without any laser-based devices. The aim of this project was the development of an outreach book about lasers to increase the interest for science among students and the general public. Two thousand copies were distributed in universities, schools and libraries and now it is available to be freely downloaded.
Funded by Beacons for Wales, Ten young people aged between 13 and 18 from the Barnardo's Neath Port Talbot Partnership spent seven days and six nights in student halls in Swansea Metropolitan University on a residential drama week. They worked with a team of drama practitioners and technical students to produce their own piece of work based on the theme of 'Our Place in the Future'. The week began on Saturday 24th July 2010 and the performance took place on Friday July 30th.
The I National Competition of Crystallization in the School (http://www.lec.csic.es/concurso/) is a contest on crystallography and crystallization for young pupils that has been carried out among 20 secondary schools across 7 provinces (Granada, Cadiz and Malaga, Gerona, Oviedo, Murcia and Zaragoza) of 5 different regions (Andalusia, Catalonia, Asturias, Murcia and Aragon) throughout Spain.
In Spain, it is well known that secondary school students’ motivation to study Science (especially Mathematics) is not very strong. This is a common problem to almost all Europe. Spanish and Andalusian governments have general policies on education to promote the study of Science. They are necessary and convenient. However, we think that local actions in the students’ environment, which supplement these policies, are also needed.
Mathematics is often perceived as a dull, uninteresting and unpopular subject. It is socially acceptable to say in public that one is 'no good' at mathematics, and the subject is often undervalued or disparaged in the media by public figures.
Many existing initiatives aim to improve the public image of mathematics in schools, through teaching and in the media. However, the majority of the population is not 'reached' by books, mathematics lectures and programmes on elite radio stations and TV channels.
Our hands-on activity aims to convey that cutting-edge science is often hidden in plain sight, and accessible to people of all age groups and backgrounds. This is exemplified nowhere better than with Graphene, the world’s first two dimensional material, which was considered not to exist in a stable form. Graphene was first isolated only in 2004 by Manchester scientists Geim and Novoselov who were awarded the Nobel Prize for their efforts. Our activity allows just about anyone to make their own graphene with nothing more than a piece of graphite (pencil lead) and sticky tape like ‘Scotch’ tape. Indeed, this is identical to the way graphene was first isolated and now produced in high-tech clean room laboratories around the world. With this activity, we endeavour to allow people of all walks of life to experience the latest advances in science, and we reward their efforts with a chocolate Nobel medal!
Chemistry is evil, malicious, nasty and malevolent?
When the word chemistry comes to our minds, automatically we make negative associations as pollution, wastes or toxicity. We believe that this vision is outdated, in modern societies, as the benefits of the chemistry surpass the potential risks that entails. Chemistry can be displayed in an enjoyable and good-humoured way, and it can transmit positive aspects.