Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Keeping in the Loop

I promised last time that I would report from the meeting of the NWSA all about National Science and Engineering week next March. Unfortunately the speaker couldn't come - so I still haven't got much beyond the theme. However as soon as I find out more I will let you all know what Science2U intends to do. Probably we will use our session on smart materials and tweak it to fit rather than create a brand new session.

Have you heard of the Association for Science Education - ASE?
It is a great group for anyone who teaches science at whatever level. They have regional groups that meet and organise events plus an amazing Annual conference.
But I think one of the best things they do is run a Twitter chat session on Monday evenings at 8.00
Simply by using #asechat you can join in, follow the chat and make good contacts with like minded folk.
I am posting this because last Monday we had a super session aimed at primary teachers and it was so fast and furious that we all had trouble keeping up.
Indeed there was so much to say on "excellence in primary science" that we decided we needed to narrow down the focus next time - and there will be a next time - the demand was very high.
You can help choose the topic for the week by visiting the ASE website and voting for one of usually 4 choices.
We chat about a really wide range of subjects again at all levels.
The chat is a great source of information and ideas, queries and advice. You make contact with people from all over the world - although due to time difference mostly UK.
Many of the chatters have their own blog so you can follow up chat with in depth reading plus often there are links to a teacher's class blog. So many schools encourage the pupils to blog and I must say the primary blogs are very inspiring.
You don't have to be an ASE member to join in and you don't really have to be a teacher - some of us are science consultants/presenters/advisors etc and we are made very welcome.
I do encourage you to drop in even if you only lurk for a while - you would be most welcome.

Monday, 17 September 2012

A New School Year

Ah well - the school holidays are over and I have just been into my first school this term. I must say I have really enjoyed actually having a summer break - that didn't happen at Catalyst. I have loved watching all the sport - especially the paralympics - and been busy around the house decorating. But now it  is back to the real work.
Today Science2U is launching an e-newsletter full of tips, resource ideas and links to sites we like. I expect this will be a monthly affair, it will certainly cater for all and hopefully be of interest to anyone keen on science.
Any home educators out there may enjoy the try at home ideas, which would also be useful for science clubs, school projects and science fairs.

The first issue features making rock candy crystals - a slow but rewarding experiment which you can eat -always good.
We have also discovered liquid polymorph - at room temperature it is liquid but solidifies at about 2C. Not really sure yet how we could use this but it makes an interesting addition to the now quite popular granular polymorph which transforms at about 65C in a transparent toffee like consistency. We use it in our All Change show to demonstrate a changing material and because it is good fun to play with of course!

Bookings for National Science and Engineering Week next March are beginning to come in - some people are well organised. The theme this year is inventions and discoveries and I will be finding out more at a meeting of the North West Science Alliance this week. I will post what I find out.
So for anyone wanting to receive our newsletter - visit the website and join our mailing list but don't stop following the blog!