STEM Newsletter for primary schools in Wales

January 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.

DVLA Code Challenge Finals

The finals of the fantastic Code Challenge competition were held on November 28 at DVLA Centre in Swansea:
The day was an X-Factor for Primary Coding Champions – voting for the winners was by a live link to schools - ensuring that the audience had the final say!
Hosted by BBC Wales Lucy Owen the event final welcomed 27 Primary Schools from North, South East and West Wales. I was honoured to be one of the Judging panel, Code Club Regional Office Adam Williams filtered the huge number of entries down to a final 5 Schools. Teams selected one of 4 themes from Saving the Whale from pollution, Anti Bullying, Cycle Safety and a World without Cars. They developed a video game along the theme. Scheduled to perfection, all pupils were entertained during the day by outdoor exhibitions from the Fire, Incredible Oceans, Road Safety Police, Army,
  DVLA (Swansea) have a team of 30 STEM Ambassadors all of whom were actively involved in the mentoring of schools or took supporting roles coordinating the day.  Without this exemplary team the day could not have been possible. The event was masterminded and brilliantly directed by STEM Ambassadors Karen Pitt and Mark Jones. Comments and photos on this amazing day found here ‪#DVLACodeChallenge
  Winners of the finals were awarded monies for IT equipment:

 1st  £3000     Usk Church in Wales Primary School
2nd £2000     Our Lady and St Michael Primary School
3rd £1000      Ysgol Y Berllan Deg
Runners Up:
£750   Newton Primary School and Gwyrosydd Primary School
Best Competition Video  Ysgol Bro Gwydir


  • Over 60 Schools across Wales entered the competition.
  • Over 180 children and 150 Adults attended the RLDC on the 28th November.
  • Over 1700 people joined the live link across Wales to watch the event.
Fruits of a STEM day: Apples Workshop 
STEM Ambassadors, particularly novices, often ask about creative ideas to deliver a relevant and practical session. There are many well-developed resources online, but here is one worth a read to inspire you!  STEM Ambassador Ken Matthews visited ST Mary's VA Church in Wales School.  Ken volunteers at Brymbo Heritage and presented an Apple pressing workshop at St Mary’s VA CIW School.
“The Primary school in Wrexham requested us to be part of their science week. 28 children attended supported by 2 teachers and STEM Ambassadors from Brymbo Heritage Orchard, James Boardman, Ian Mclean and myself, Ken Mathews.  Ken set up a series of activities all connected to science and maths. The children counted the apples, divided them into 40 sets then each group of 7 children: 
1.     Weighed the apples
2.     Cleaned the apples
3.     Scratted them
4.     Juiced them
5.     Tasted the juice
6.     Bottled the Juice
7.     Pasteurised the juice

 All the data was later collated and analysed in the class room. 
They designed labels for juice containers and drew some of the apples.
They all enjoyed the day - and the juice - and will be planting trees in the Brymbo Orchard.”

STEM beyond the Classroom.
The ASE Cymru Regional  conference was held in partnership with the National Museum  Cardiff on 11th November 2017. Over 90 primary and secondary teachers attended  with opportunities to listen to Prof Jus n Dillon, Professor of Science and Environmental Education, University of Bristol, exploring  some of the issues around learning outside the classroom followed by  variety of lively workshops and debates including Robin Mobbs form the National Space Acedemy, Heather Jackson introducing “Under the Grounf  from the National Museum, Dr Anita Shaw presenting a Primary workshop and many others.
Vignettes were also presented by Sharon Pascoe, Headteacher at Fochriw Primary School, Susan Quirk, Design and Technology, Glan y Mor Comprehensive  School, Susan Miles Cardiff and the Vale College and Liz Berry, Thornhill Primary School
Dr Rhys Jones, lecturer, herpetologist and presenter of ‘Rhys to the Rescue’, presented his own experiences of science communication and the need for literacy in science enchanting the audience with his own personal story
Primary Science Quality Mark Awards were also presented to Fochriw Primary School, Edwardsville Primary School and St Peter’s RC Primary School in Cardiff
If you are interested in finding out more about the Association for Science Education or PSQM then contact

Oldcastle Primary STEM Week

STEM Ambassador Jacqui Murray, works with the STEM Ambassador programme to source STEM Ambassadors and site visits for all pupils during STEM Week in November.
6 STEM Ambassadors delivered practical sessions including  
  • Alun Armstrong: Design and Build
  • Jon Laver: Engineering and Electro magnetism
  • Mark Smith: Astronomy and Forces
  • Cardiff School of Neuroscience
  • Cardiff Museum Geology
  • Myself: Electrolysis and Chemistry
Oldcastle School's STEM week has been praised  by Estyn in their report. Teacher feedback is consistently high:
“Thank you so much for attending our STEM week yesterday.  The pupils had a fantastic time. Thank you for the hard work you put into organising and delivering your sessions. 
I hope we can work together again next year on STEM 2018”
Teacher :  Katie Coleman
Teacher and pupil opportunites

FREE Chemistry at Work workshop for Primary Schools

See Science, with funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry, are offering  new workshop aimed at KS2 pupils (Yr 5 and 6) entitled Chemistry at Work. We are aware that Chemistry can be a challenging subject to introduce at primary level and the aim of the workshop is to demonstrate to pupils that Chemistry is an exciting and varied subject that can lead to a wide range of opportunities and careers.
The two hour workshop includes hands-on chemistry experiments and activities for pupils to carry out in groups as well as information on how and where chemists work and, where appropriate, links to local companies and careers. STEM Ambassadors will be present to help us to deliver the sessions, thereby bringing a ‘real Chemist’ into the classroom!
Initially, the workshop is available, free of charge, to schools in areas where pupils are less likely to have experience of the chemical industry but later in the year will be available to all.
During late February, March and April 2018   we will be in the following areas and are looking for schools who would like to host our Chemistry at Work workshop:
South East Wales – Feb 26 to Mar 9
North West Wales – Apr 16 to April 20
West Wales 12-16 March
If your school is in one of these areas get in touch with Llinos at to book your FREE workshop!

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.
  • Organise an event. Running an event of your own may seem daunting, but we’re here to help you all the way, from writing your pledge, to applying for grants to providing activity packs. We also have ‘how to’ guides to help you get started and advice about finding a presenter.
  • Run the Solar System. This virtual race was first created for British Science Week 2017 but has been relaunched due to popular demand. While you’re waiting for British Science Week 2018 to kick off, why not dust off your trainers and travel through space with us? Run the Solar System is a 10k ‘virtual race’ which involved journeying across the Solar System from the Sun to Neptune in just 10 kilometres accompanied by music and audio commentary from science broadcaster Dallas Campbell.

Getting Practical Teachmeet                   
25 January, 4.30pm – 6.00pm.
Cardiff and the Vale College, Dumballs Road Cardiff. CF10 5FE
An informal opportunity for teachers to meet and share ideas – and equipment. Bring equipment and suggestions with you and leave with a bag full of new suggestions and resources.
Keynote speaker: Stuart Sherman – How to engage pupils in Practical Science
Stuart has an impressive reputation as a facilitator, trainer and advisor at national, regional and local levels. He is currently employed as a Senior Challenge Adviser in the Central South Consortium of Local Authorities in Wales. He has extensive experience in education founded on twenty-five years of teaching in secondary schools in Wales and England. He in particularly interested in school improvement, teaching and learning, and in science.
There is an opportunity for technicians to share ideas – 2 mins or 7 mins together with an opportunity to network.

Book a place here :

Getting Practical Teachmeet                   
6 February 2018, 4.30pm – 6.00pm.
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, Abergele LL22 7HD
This is an informal opportunity. for Teachers to meet and share ideas – and equipment. Bring equipment and suggestions with you and leave with a bag full of new suggestions and resources.
Keynote speaker: to be confirmed There is an opportunity for technicians to share ideas – 2 mins or 7 mins together with an opportunity to network.

To book a place go to

Competitions and resources

S4S Week competition ‘Am I a Good Scientist?’

This is a tricky question to answer.We think that a Good Scientist is one who addresses issues of ethical science, design and technology including peace, social justice and environmental sustainability and even this can mean many different things. We are asking you to explain what it means using our broader ideas. Your entry can take the form of words, pictures or words and pictures. These could be in any form, including: film poster or essay.

The important thing is that your medium captures what you think makes a good scientist and so can be an inspiration to others.

Enter our UK-wide competition with the chance to win these prizes including:

  • ‘Am I a Good Scientist’ experience for your class, club or group
  • • Science4Society Box of resources including games and activities
  • • Science Museum gift vouchers

For ideas about ‘Am I a Good Scientist?’ see the resources on

Closing date for entries: midday Friday 23rd February 2018. All entrants must be within the age categories below:
7-11, 12-14, 15-18
We welcome entries from schools, science clubs, youth groups and other organisation 


The Better Energy School Awards aim to assist and encourage environmental education for young people aged 5-11. They promote cross-curricular work on the environment and ANY work you are doing at your school covering any kind of environmental issue can be entered. The Better Energy School Awards for excellence in environmental education link with the National Curriculum for England and Wales  – explore our guides hereEnter your school today – win up to £5,000! Read the competition rules here.

The Better Energy School Awards are split into four regions (South/Central, North, Wales and West, Scotland) and there will be a winner for each Award category in each region. The best entry chosen from all of the winners in each region will be made a Regional Champion and will receive £1,000. The best of the Regional Champions will be chosen as the UK Champions, who receive a total of £5,000 for the school funds. In addition to all the winners, 16 Runners-Up will receive £250 each for the school funds. A further 20 Highly Commended schools will receive £100.
Representatives from the four Regional Champion schools attend a special Awards Ceremony in London, where they receive their prizes from specially invited celebrity guests. Previous venues include London Zoo and the Science Museum.
Funding opportunities

The Edina Trust Science Grant Scheme (SGS) offers small grants to all state-funded primary schools, nurseries and special schools in designated educational areas. For the 2017-18 school year only, SGS grants will be available in Caerphilly.

The SGS is non-competitive: funding is set aside so that there is enough for every school in these areas to get the full amount. There is a Main Grant for “full” Primary Schools* and ASN Schools of £500 per year towards a science project. Examples of what the SGS will fund are:

Details of our simple application process are here.

FSC Kids Fund

The Kids Fund is part of the Field Studies Council (FSC). FSC is the only environmental education charity dedicated solely to providing informative and enjoyable opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to discover, explore, be inspired by, and understand the natural environment.
The Kids Fund is funded by donations from individuals, Trust Funds and from FSC Membership subscription. FSC staff also organise fundraising events.
The Kids Fund aims to:
·      Bring environmental understanding to disadvantaged young people by attending a course at an FSC learning location.
·      Help disadvantaged young people to attend a course who may otherwise be excluded due to some form of disadvantage – health, mobility, deprivation or financial.
More information here

Our mailing address is:

See Science / Gweld Gwyddoniaeth

8 St Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff CF10 3DD

02920 344727 | |

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