Despite the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer 1,045 students from 28 schools across Ireland took part, with 900 students actively engaged. Students took part in 62 live Chats, writing 14,863 lines, and asked 532 follow-up questions. From their classrooms students across Ireland took part in activities that support their Science Capital: they asked questions about science; they engaged with, and got to know, Irish researchers, engineers, and STEM professionals; they learnt about the transferability of science; and they saw STEM as relevant to their daily lives. This report summarises our 2021 activities. Read the report: I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer Ireland 2021: Summary Report [PDF] Summary: We ran 3 Zones: One I’m an Engineer Zone: Kilogram. Two I’m a Scientist Zone: Magnesium and Sustainability. 1,045 students from 28 schools took part: 86% of students actively engaged through joining live Chats, … Continue reading
In November 2021, we conducted a summative evaluation of our I’m a Scientist activities in Ireland. Read the full report [PDF] ❯ Dr Jen DeWitt, an Associate Senior Research Fellow on the core Science Capital team, has conducted and evaluation of I’m a Scientist to see how the experience might support students’ science capital. The research consisted of student surveys, teacher interviews and analysis of Chat transcripts. Read about why we took this approach. Summary This evaluation found evidence that I’m a Scientist supports science capital among participating students in Ireland. Providing the opportunity to ask about science content, it contributes to science literacy (Dimension 1) Students can ask questions of interest to them personally, which can enhance science-related attitudes and values, helping students to see science as relevant to their everyday lives (Dimension 2) When students ask about qualifications, participation may improve their knowledge of the transferability of science … Continue reading
Despite the challenges of the past year, I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer reached 2,172 students from 58 schools across Ireland. Students asked 2,985 questions and took part in 118 live chats, writing 17,797 lines. From their homes and classrooms students across Ireland took part in activities that support their science capital: they asked questions about science; they engaged with, and got to know Irish researchers, engineers, and STEM professionals; they learnt about the transferability of science; and they saw STEM as relevant to their daily lives. This report summarises our 2020 activities. Read the report: I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer Ireland 2020: Summary Report [PDF] Summary: We ran 5 zones: 3 I’m an Engineer zones: Automation, Environment, Health. 2 general I’m a Scientist zones. 2,172 students from 58 schools took part: 82% of students actively engaged through asking questions, joining live chats, posting comments, and casting … Continue reading
“It was a really easy project to engage with for both children and teachers; it only took me about 30 minutes to prepare for all 3 lessons. I was pleasantly surprised with just how excited students were to get responses from serious adults about their work and the adults’ interests.” – Vicky Heslop, Year 6 teacher A junior school that meets our widening participation criteria took part in the Climate Zone of I’m a Scientist for the first time in March 2018 with their three Year 6 classes. The activity broadened student aspirations, improved enquiry skills and challenged their perceptions of scientists.
In 2019 we ran eight school zones in Ireland: Four in I’m a Scientist and three in I’m an Engineer. Additionally, we ran a public zone: Shape the Future. This report summarises our 2019 activities. Highlights: Activity in live chats has increased by 35%. While overall engagement levels remained relatively steady across the events compared with the previous year, and with a similar number of students actively taking part, 2019 saw more than 10,000 additional lines of live chat written compared with 2018 (39,266 up from 29,033). The majority of students taking part in the events were from underserved communities, with 57% of students taking part from schools in SFI target counties. The Shape the Future Zone successfully engaged students and the public in 3D printing and its role in helping to create a sustainable future. 48 different and creative ideas were submitted showing how people of different ages had … Continue reading
In 2018 we ran eight zones. Three I’m an Engineer zones in February–March ( Health, Production and Space), and five I’m a Scientist zones in November (Environmental Care, Genes, New Materials, Smart Data and Neon). Key findings: Engagement levels in IAS have increased in IAS when compared with the 2017 event. An additional 11 schools took part (58 in 2018, compared with 47 in 2017), and 420 additional students registered (1,958, up from 1,538). Students asked nearly twice as many questions as were asked in 2017 (5,057, up from 2,559). We have demonstrated the success of online engagement in terms of reaching students who are normally underserved by the sector. 1,360 students from SFI target counties took part (58% of total students). These students asked 3,425 questions in ASK, and contributed nearly 10,000 lines of live chat. Additionally, the project continues to offer scientists and engineers the opportunity to engage … Continue reading
“As we are a remote rural community we do not have a huge variety of careers on our doorstep but these events help to bring them closer to pupils. More students should be getting these funded opportunities across the UK.” — Emily Tulloch, Science teacher on the island of Unst The most northerly school in the UK is located in one of our most distant areas in the Shetland Isles. Emily tells us how I’m a Scientist allowed her remote students to explore a range of STEM careers and increased motivation to learn science.
In 2017 we ran seven zones. Three I’m an Engineer zones in February–March (Energy, Health, and Space), and four I’m a Scientist zones in November (Diagnosis, Energy, Food, and Fluorine).
Our key findings were:
- We have improved on engagement rates in IAS since previous years.
- We have been successful in using online engagement to reach students who are normally under-served by the sector.
- Taking part improves attitudes of scientists and engineers to public engagement.
- Taking part leaves most students feeling more positive about working in a STEM career.
In the I’m a Scientist Ireland project pilot in 2012 we ran three zones, since then we have run four zones every year. While we were under capacity in the pilot, the demand for the activity from teachers has remained relatively consistent and looks to be increasing. Assuming the trend carries on, we would easily be able to run a fifth or even sixth zone in November this year. The story in I’m an Engineer is a little different. For the past couple of years we have run two I’m an Engineer events each year; one with the I’m a Scientist event in November, and one in February to coincide with Engineers Week Ireland. In the first year, we saw teachers favouring the November event albeit only slightly, in 2015/16 though we saw a huge shift towards February, with demand being almost twice what was expected. The increased demand is too big to come only … Continue reading
In 2015, we ran six zones: Three I’m a Scientist themed zones (Nanoscience, Drug Synthesis and Food Science), one I’m a Scientist general zone (Nitrogen Zone) with a mix of scientists from different areas, one I’m an Engineer themed zone around computing (Boole Zone) and one general engineering zone (Metre Zone). Our key findings in 2015: We have improved I’m an Engineer audience numbers since last year. In 2014 we ran I’m an Engineer for the first time in Ireland and we got an average of 208 students logged in per zone. In 2015, we have even exceeded our target of 330 students per zone, with 377 students in the Boole Zone, and 350 in the Metre Zone. We have improved the diversity of the scientists and engineers taking part. 10% of the participants were from a black or minority ethnic background, and we got a perfect gender balance in both … Continue reading