Here at the National Science Learning Centre we have been looking at bringing Cutting Edge Science into the classroom. Often as science teachers we look at ‘Science in the news’ and take recent news stories and use them as a way of engaging our students when they ask that fateful question…’How does this apply to me and my life?’
Recently there was a story about how a city in Norway uses ice cold water from the local fjord to provide heat for the inhabitants.
Now, as the story says there is nothing really new with heat pumps, as they have been around since the 19th Century, but with recent advances in technology we can now make something that is efficient and useful. The story also highlights the worrying trend that occurs when people holding the purse strings don’t fully understand the science. All too often people see the technology and jump on board without it being fully researched and place big orders for inefficient services. If we can get our students to understand this idea better, then we will see less stories of people being misled and buying solar panels or wind turbines to power their homes, only to see it makes little to no difference to their bills.
When you read the story you may think the science behind it is quite high level, but here is a resource from the National STEM Centre e-library which can be used with KS2 students on how a heat pump can heat a lifeboat station. It also helps build up students practical skills and gets them thinking scientifically.
With the changes to the curriculum we are now able to integrate cutting edge science more and more into our courses so teachers and technicians can take these ideas back and use them with their students. We will have researchers doing talks to participants, something which was demonstrated at the recent Alumni conference where Sparsh Navin who came over from CERN did a talk on the Medical Applications of Particle Physics. This talk was linking in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and how the principals behind it are used in PET scans and MRI machines. It has also led on to the possible future of cancer treatment, Proton Beam Therapy. Once again it was discussed is this the best option, in terms of cost effectiveness and patient numbers….only time will tell and that is the key message to get across to our students.
Working alongside the National STEM Centre with researchers and teachers we will soon be introducing a wealth of cutting edge science resources that teachers can use in their classrooms. We have looked at areas as diverse as Nuclear Fusion, Nanotechnology such as using viruses as wires and Quantum Key Distribution for security. Even last week (20 April 2015) I was involved in the #asechat with teachers discussing ideas of how to bring cutting edge science into the classroom. This is an area we will be very keen on developing and assisting teachers with. If you have any suggestions then please do contact us at the National Science Learning Centre.
Find out more about our Cutting Edge Science programme in York and across the UK.
Filed under: continuing professional development, physics teaching, Primary, Science teaching, Secondary and Post-16 | Tagged: cutting edge science, RCUK, Research Councils UK, science teaching | Leave a comment »