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 from existing teachers opting to take part during Engineers Week instead of earlier in the year. More investigation is needed to say how much, but a lot of the demand must have come from new teachers signing up.
In November 2016 there will be no I’m an Engineer event. Our plan is to move the Engineer activity to February alone, keeping the Scientist activity in November.
What is clear — clearer still where we combine the data sets— is that the school demand for our online STEM engagement activities is growing. We need to find ways to increase capacity and offer more students in Ireland the opportunity to take part.
Update: 3 June 2016
Requests by country
We had a quick look at how many of the class requests discussed above came from schools in different countries.
As the graphs show, the majority of requests are coming from schools in the Republic of Ireland, with far fewer coming from Northern Ireland, and the occasional request from a couple of international schools.
Schools in Northern Ireland have always been invited to take part in the Irish events as well as the UK events.
Moving forward, Northern Irish schools will be invited to take part in the UK events only. The occasional international school taking part will now be asked to pay a small charge to do so, this cost to the school will go towards running additional zones in the future.