STEM Newsletter for primary schools in Wales

February 2018                 

The newsletter that's an essential source of information and inspiration for teachers – and anyone with an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) engagement – across Wales.

 In this newsletter:

Ask a STEM Ambassador to visit your school

A STEM Ambassador's involvement can engage and enthuse both students and teachers. If you are interested in asking a STEM Ambassador to visit your school you can make your request here or contact See Science directly at

Give us your Ambassador feedback

If an Ambassador has visited your school, or if you have met an Ambassador at an enrichment activity, we would be very grateful if you could fill in our teacher feedback form. Please encourage colleagues to respond.

Hundreds of pupils have science fun in Cardiff with the RAF
Over 300 South Wales schoolchildren had fun with science today courtesy of the Royal Air Force.
The pupils were joined by a team of RAF personnel at the National Museum in Cardiff who helped them build rocket cars, make a parachute to land an egg safely, rivet aircraft together and take part in a hot air balloon challenge.
The day was one of a series of events across the UK to mark the centenary of the RAF – the world’s first independent air force - and aims to build interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
Pupils from primary schools in Crumlin, Aberbargoed, Tonyrefail, Bridgend and Caerphilly took part in the day.
Brianna Lloyd, 11, of Penybont Primary School in Bridgend said: "I've really enoyed it. We've built lots of things and out more aeroplanes and science. My favourite part was making the parachute which carried an egg and dropping it".
Isaac Jones, 11, of Crumlin High Level Primary School said: "I've had a brilliant day. I've really enjoyed doing the aerial delivery and the kinetic rocket powered car."
The programme is designed to raise awareness of STEM-based careers among young people, which will help ensure the UK has a highly skilled workforce in the future.
The RAF expects to reach up to 2 million students between nine and 15 years old through this scheme.
Other STEM events for schoolchildren have already been staged in Glasgow and at the RAF Museum in Cosford in the West Midlands late last year.
The most senior RAF officer in Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams, Air Officer Wales, said: “As we celebrate 100 years since the formation of the Royal Air Force, we want to use this opportunity to share our story with the Welsh people. Today’s event marks the launch of our expanded youth programme for RAF100 which aims to increase awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers. By inspiring the next generation of innovators we can help us, as a nation, be first to the future”.
Air Cdre Williams added: “As part of the RAF100 celebrations, our RAF National Tour will be calling at Cardiff in between May 15-20th where members of the public will be able to see RAF aircraft from the past and present on display outside the City Hall. There will also be other events across Wales and there will of course also be the UK Armed Forces Day in Llandudno this June, so the RAF will certainly be busy in Wales this year. As we look to commemorate our past, celebrate our achievements and inspire future generations, we’d love people to come and meet the people who make-up today’s RAF and learn more about us.”

BBC Children in Need awards £8000 to a local project

BBC Children in Need has awarded £8,000 in new funding to a local project, as part of Curiosity – a brand new partnership with Wellcome that is providing opportunities for children and young people experiencing disadvantage, to do science that is meaningful and fun!
The first round of the Curiosity programme has awarded 32 grants of up to £10,000 to fund projects across the UK. The programme aims to support young people to build their confidence and self-esteem, develop life skills and expand their horizons by changing how much science they do and how they do it. Projects will encourage young people to be curious about themselves and the world around them.
One of the projects to receive a Curiosity grant is Jig-So Children's Centre. Jig So will fund science activity sessions for children living in areas of deprivation in Ceredigion, which will strengthen key skills whilst positively empowering children to develop their confidence. The funding will help provide the Little Discovery Club, which will introduce children up to four years old to topics such as bees, wildlife, plants and stars, helping to grown their understanding of the world around them.
In addition, the new grant will help provide the Curiosity Holiday Club for four - 12 year olds during school holidays, the club will help the children and young people understand what science offers outside the school environment with opportunities to get involved with hands on experiments.
The grant will also enable the Jig-So Children's Centre to pilot the 'Life of a Can' a community recycling project, delivered in North Pembrokeshire, which will engage children and young people with fun sessions which help their understanding about the importance of recycling.
Charlotte Jones, Healthy Families, Resilient Communities Co-ordinator at Jig-So Children's Centre commented: “Thanks to the new funding from BBC Children in Need, Jig-So Children's Centre will be able to provide local children and young people with engaging science-based activities  which will introduce the children and young people to science-based activities whilst growing their skill sets and broaden their knowledge of the world around them.” 
Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need said: “We’re really excited that we are able to award these new grants in partnership with Wellcome, which will encourage disadvantaged young people around the UK to embrace an exciting and creative approach to science.”
Dr Hilary Leevers, Head of Education and Learning at Wellcome, added: “We know that taking part in science activities with friends and peers can make differences in children’s lives. Disadvantaged children and young people often have fewer opportunities to connect with science so we are delighted to partner BBC Children in Need to enable those children to access science and explore its relevance to their lives.”
The Curiosity programme will award grants in two further rounds over the next three years. Applications for the next round of grants will open from Autumn 2018, with updated information about the programme available from Summer 2018. To find out more about Curiosity or any BBC Children in Need grants programmes, go to

Primary Science Teaching Trust Project in Wales 

Celebration Day Cardiff High School : 16 February
The Primary Science Teaching Trust  Celebration Day was held in Cardiff High School on 16 February with over 250 pupils participating from both the secondary school and all the feeder primary schools.  Teachers and their pupils’ presented an investigation where emphasis was placed on an increase in the standards achieved by pupils in science skills and a greater variety of recording methods used in science lessons.
The primary schools analysed the use of a wider variety of recording methods improved learning outcomes in order to lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of science. This also enabled the pupils to take more ownership over their work and in many cases changed their attitudes to science to one that was more positive. Areas of recording which were particularly successful and included movie making, videos, animations, raps, poems, displays, models, cartoons and creating a short animation using a digital or mobile phone camera, plasticine and freely downloadable software. All primary school had enjoyed the opportunity
Making animations provides pupils with an opportunity to use familiar analogies, simple language and fun to encourage natural curiosity. During this process the pupils develop skills in communication, innovation and increased self-confidence. Teachers attended a 2 day CPD in the Autumn term focused upon how to improve pupils’ science skills, and developed a sequence of lessons which the pupils then apply the skills taught in an investigation. Once the investigations are completed, the teachers and their pupils’ presented their investigation where emphasis was placed on an increase in the standards achieved by pupils in science skills and a greater variety of recording methods used in science lessons.
The pupils also participated in a marketplace which provided opportunites to engage with STEM Ambassadors  from Cardiff University and Astro Cymru  as well as showcase their own work and they were also thrilled to see a show from Science Made Simple  entitled “Music to your Ears”
Commenting on the micro-organisms project by Lakeside Primary.
"I had lots of bacteria on my hands; more than I thought!" Joshua Roath Park Primary
Commenting on the See Science Stand
"It was so interesting finding out what different materials weighed, the brass surprised me the most!" Ella-Jay Marlborough
Commenting on Astro Cymru
"I love Space, so it was amazing to learn about meteorites, I had lots of fun" Amy Lakeside Primary
Sian, Arif, George and Morgan from Roath Park worked on the Digestive System project, which they presented with enthusiasm.
"We've loved working on this project with Mr Edwards, it has been so much fun and we got to try lots of new things like creating QR codes, finding out fun facts and even making Poo!
Isaac from Rhydypenau commented. "I can't wait to go to High School and learn about rockets and explosions, it looks fantastic"
"The opportunities for pupils to learn about Science here today have been excellent. I think children are so lucky to have the chance to go on and have science careers. I wish I had, had the same when I was in school" Teaching assistant from Roath Park Primary
TASC Science and Technology display
Rhydypenau Primary School win STEM Learning prize

Congratulations to Rhydypenau Primary School for winning a prize in the STEM Learngin Classroom display competition  This display showcases a yr6 science TASC project that incorporated technology. The children used the TASC (Thinking Actively in a Social Context) wheel to solve a problem in a real life context. The problem was linked to separating materials and after a visit from LUSH, they were sent a letter. The letter came with a bottle of potion and asked the children if they could find out what should be in the potion after an accident in their lab where they were making their Christmas potion. The children used the TASC wheel to help them solve the problem and the display shows the different ways in which they worked. They have applied their literacy and DCF skills throughout the project in conjunction with science skills and IT skills. The children communicated their findings to LUSH in the form of an iMovie trailer. The display is engaging, creative and clearly showcases the high standard of work that the children achieved throughout this project. 
Teacher and pupil opportunites

FREE Chemistry at Work workshop for Primary Schools

In our previous issue we reported that See Science are offering a brand new Chemistry at Work Primary workshop, funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry. We’re pleased to say that now the workshop has been successfully trialled at 5 schools in the Caerphilly area and is ready to go out to schools across Wales!
The upper KS2 workshop consists of 4 practical activities that pupils undertake in groups, each linked to a real-world Chemist’s role. The activities include pH testing and identifying unknown white powders while the real-world Chemistry covered during the session ranges from Environmental Chemistry to Forensics and even polymer manufacture.
All 4 activities have proved popular with both pupils and teachers but by far the favourite amongst the children was making their own slime. Slime making appears to be a craze amongst children of this age but after this workshop they can start to understand the chemistry behind their slimy concoctions!

Feedback from teachers included:
“A great variety of activities that all pupils enjoyed taking part in.”
“We have done dissolving in class previously and it was good to hear the pupils using the terminology they had learned then while working on this real-world investigation.”
“The workshop kept every single pupil engaged throughout the two hours. Thank you!”
While pupils wrote:
“My favourite bit was the slime but it was interesting seeing which white powders dissolved in water and then in vinegar.”
“Seeing the pH paper change colour was awesome!”
We have funding to deliver in schools in specific areas over the next couple of months and have spaces in North West Wales after Easter. Get in touch with Llinos at if you would like a visit from us.


British Science Week                           
9-18 March 2018

Getting involved in British Science Week is really easy, and you can take part in lots of different ways. Have a look at Run to the Deep. Produced in partnership with  Six to Start, the team behind Zombies, Run! (the world’s most popular smartphone fitness game), Run to the Deep is an immersive running app which chronicles a journey from the sea surface to the Marianas Trench – the deepest know part of the ocean – as you run over a 10k distance. Explorer Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of the famous conservationist Jacques Cousteau, narrates the virtual race, detailing alien creatures, amazing seascapes, and human exploration stories as you “descend” to the ocean floor. 

Chemistry in the Primary  Classroom workshop
March 26th   4pm  - 6pm
Maesycwmmer Primary School, Tabor Road, Maesycwmmer, CF82 7PU funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry

This workshop is suited to primary teachers and  consists of 4 practical activities that pupils can undertake- all linked to a real-world Chemist’s role. The activities include pH testing and identifying unknown white powders while the real-world Chemistry covered during the session ranges from Environmental Chemistry to Forensics and even polymer manufacture. This workshop will provide an opportunity to meet STEM Ambassadors and have a go at the practicals.
To book  go to


Raspberry Pi Family Jam
Saturday 3 March.

School of Computer Science & Informatics, Queen’s Buildings, The Parade, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3AA

National Software Academy (Cardiff University) 11 Devon Place, Newport. NP20 4NW

Join us for a “Family Jam” as part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation Big Birthday weekend, an event designed to get families involved in tech and inspire the next generation of software engineers.The event will include learning sessions & workshops, and ‘show and tell’ presentations covering Scratch, Python and wearable tech with prizes available for the best and most innovative solutions and goodie bags for all!

The aim of the event is to help encourage families to work together to develop their problem-solving, communication and team working skills, whilst at the same time celebrating the birthday of the Raspberry Pi FoundationFamilies from across Wales can register to attend to share in the ‘tech’ experience and develop new skills.

The participants will be encouraged to use a range of methods to create software to meet several challenges, and will be judged on how original the creation is, and how effectively it has been designed with a target audience in mind.   More here.

Raspberry Pi

Super Science Saturday    12 - 4 pm, Saturday 10th March, 2018

National Waterfront Museum, Oystermouth Road, Swansea:
A packed afternoon of inspiring demonstrations, hands on activities and jaw-dropping experiments!! In partnership with Oriel Science, Swansea University. Oriel Science will take snapshots of University research, craft them into compelling exhibits and place them in a dramatic setting with the aim to engage, educate and enthuse.

The project will first host pop-up exhibitions around the city based on Swansea University's science research and wider scientific themes featuring its relevance to everyday life, with the long term goal of establishing a permanent exhibition space in the city by 2020.

Competitions and resources

Classroom displays competition

Taking place termly, our classroom displays competition allows you to share photos of the classroom displays you are most proud of. Six winners are chosen each term, who will each receive £50 worth of vouchers.

Not only does this competition let you share your own classroom displays, it could also help other teachers get inspiration and ideas for their own – the perfect combination!

How you can get involved

Share a photo of your classroom display on the appropriate community group – Classroom displays – primary

Your entry must include the following:

  • an indication of the subject or topic area of the display
  • at least one photo of the display
  • files of the resources on the display, or a clear description of them or where to find them, to enable other teachers to be inspired and replicate your display in their own classrooms

Upload your entries before the 16 March 2018 for your chance to win. The six winners will be notified by email by 23 March 2018.


No more Cabbage

This year’s CLEAPSS competition updates a classic practical activity.  the red Cabbage indicator: help your children make and investigate the best alternative indicators to red cabbage. There are prizes available for children, the school and staff. Your school does need to be a member of CLEAPSS to participate.

PA Raspberry Pi Competition 2018                    

Now in its sixth year, PA’s Raspberry Pi competition 2018 is now open. There are three £1,000 prizes up for grabs for teams from primary and secondary schools, and sixth forms and colleges.

This year’s theme is Sustainability. The challenge is to use the Raspberry Pi – a credit-card-size yet highly capable computer – to invent something that will help ‘save the planet’.

Entrants are asked to produce innovations that would improve the lives of people who have conditions that limit their ability to do things most of us take for granted.

The main threats to our planet centre around energy use, food production and scarcer resources. So PA are Asking for inventions that could help meet those challenges. Maybe a football that stores the energy created by every kick. Or a scanner that helps us cut food waste. Or a bin that automatically recycles paper.

Register here – closing date 5 March 2018.

Funding opportunities

Royal Society Partnership Grants:
  Up to £3000 available!

The Royal Society have opened their Partnership Grant scheme to support schools in enabling students aged 5-18 the chance to get involved in STEM projects. There are grants of up to £3,000 available to schools.

Since its inception in November 2000, over £1.3 million has been awarded to over 800 schools and colleges promoting engagement within STEM subjects for thousands of young people across the UK. The scheme enables schools to run STEM research projects in partnership with a professional engaged in STEM industry or research, and give them the funds to buy the necessary equipment needed.

There are two application rounds per year, one in spring and one in autumn. More details about eligibility criteria and how to apply via our online application system here. Closing  date to register 28 February!

Biochemical Society scientific outreach grants (UK)

The Biochemical Society has grants of up to £1,000 will be available to increase participation in the molecular biosciences at school level and beyond through engagement activities. Applications for funding are invited to assist with the direct costs associated with an event and expenses incurred. The type of events funded could include:

  • Activities for a science club
  • Workshops for students or teachers
  • Lectures from research scientists

More here.

Our mailing address is:

See Science / Gweld Gwyddoniaeth

8 St Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff CF10 3DD

02920 344727 | |

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