Aoife was voted the winner of the New Materials Zone in November 2016. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money to purchase a renewable energy demonstration kit and a renewable energy monitor for demonstrations and events.
After every event we ask the winning scientists to write a short post to be sent to all the students who took part in the zone. It’s the perfect way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks, thank all the students for voting for them, and talk about how they plan to use their €500 prize money.
One of the long term goals of our projects is to reach more schools traditionally under-served by STEM outreach activities.
The Aspires project, from King’s College London has shown that science capital is a key factor in terms of students aspiring to science and STEM careers. Science capital refers to knowledge about science and how it works, interest, understanding, and contacts (knowing somebody who works in science).
After every event we ask the winning scientists to write a short blog to be sent to all the students in who took part in the zone. It’s a great way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks and thank all the students for voting for them.
Let’s take a look at what the November Winners had to say…
As part of this year’s activity we are running a non-school zone similar to our Learning Zone – just with farmers instead of teachers. We are looking to run the zone in November and we now need to recruit someone to run the project with us. Ideally we’ll find someone who understands the research in the area and knows the irish farming community. We have a full job specification. It’s could be a full time role or something part-time depending on the applicant. Please get in touch via email or on the phone – +44 1225 326892 – if you are interested.
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
After every event we ask the zone winners to write a short blog post to be sent to all the students in who took part in the zone. It’s a great way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks and thank all the students for voting for them. Let’s take a look the winners from I’m a Scientist Ireland 2015 had to say… Sinead, Drug Synthesis Zone I didn’t realise at the time I signed up just how much I would be waiting in expectation of the next chat, or for new questions to appear in the ASK section. Talking about science with you guys, on your terms and with your questions, was enjoyable and an honour. Being able to share my love of science with you filled me with a sense of pride and really reminded me what science is for: to learn and to pass … Continue reading
In November 2014 we ran I’m a Scientist in Ireland for the third time, and we run our first I’m an Engineer event in Ireland. We ran four I’m a Scientist and two I’m an Engineer zones. Two of the I’m a Scientist zones were themed (Evolution and Sustainability) and two of them were general (Boron and Beryllium). One of the I’m an Engineer zones was themed (Energy) and the other one was general (Kelvin). This report looks at how the event went. Our key findings were: Students are inspired to learn more about science and get interested in science related jobs Students understand what engineers do and what engineering is all about Scientists and engineers consider they have improved their communication skills Scientists and engineers get enthused about public engagement and want to do more of it after taking part Download the report here.
The funding for this project comes in part from the Science Foundation Ireland and the other half comes from elsewhere. We’ve got funding from the Wellcome Trust, the European Society for Evolutionary Biology and the Royal Society for Chemistry. Traditionally we try to get a zone funded by large company employing lots of scientists and engineers. A company whose business relies on a science friendly population and education system. Traditionally we get nowhere. This year we thought we’d try something different. We thought we’d ask lots of small companies who rely on scientists and engineers to fund us a little. We thought we’d try crowdfunding. It didn’t work. We created two FundIt.ie campaigns and promoted them both through our networks and through other networks. The response was almost non-existent. Why? We could have promoted it harder. But it was clear from our initial publicity that promotion wasn’t leading to pledges. … Continue reading
Paul won the Space Zone in November 2012, find out how he spent his winnings: I participated in the Space Zone of the 2012 Irish I’m A Scientist contest while finishing off my PhD. I was both surprised and elated to win it! (proof: sciencecalling.com/2012/11/23/primary-school-students-pick-top-scientists) I then defended my thesis, got married, and moved to California…whew. Finally, this summer I was granted a bit of free time to kick off my ‘dream’ project: SolarSurfer.org. My proposal is to build an interactive, story-driven, educational website to help bring astronomy and space concepts into the Irish class room. I managed to put together a consortium of solar scientists, teacher and outreach consultants, and web/game/graphic design developers. Using the Irish school curriculum, with the help of Irish school teachers, we are designing lessons that can be used in the class room to teach concepts such as magnetism, gravity, and the planets. The lessons … Continue reading