Stem Newsletter for Secondary 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.

Latest STEM news
 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

CREST Celebration Day at Pentrehafod School
A class of year 8 pupils from Pentrehafod School, Swansea were fortunate to have the opportunity of taking part in a Discovery Day to celebrate CREST Awards in Wales in the company of Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association - who administer the CREST Awards - and Julie James AM, Leader of the House and Chief Whip, Welsh Government.

Appropriately, a Welsh theme was chosen for the Discovery Day with the Wild Creations activity that was developed specifically to compliment the Welsh curriculum and funded by the Welsh Government. 

Wild Creations challenges students to work as a team to celebrate their culture and heritage through the design and creation of a model, sculpture or STEM installation. Wild Creations are about inspiring students
 to use their imaginations, dream big, and discover that they can create just about anything they put their minds to!

There was a good variety of creations from the Pentrehafod students ranging from Welsh themes such as balls and dragons to more local ones like Joe's Ice Cream!
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed and at the end of the day the pupils fully deserved their CREST certificates.  

Teacher and pupil opportunites

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.

OU in Wales launches new ‘STEM talent’ programme

STEM Talent

The Open University in Wales has launched a new ‘STEM talent’ programme which enables sixth form students to study an OU science, technology, engineering or mathematics module during their studies. The initiative has been developed in partnership with the all-Wales Reaching Wider network.

“We are delighted that through this project we can offer more Welsh students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the opportunity to undertake OU study to support their transition to Higher Education.” 

Eleri Chilcott, Widening Access Manager, OU in Wales

The programme will help students to improve their knowledge in their chosen STEM subject and develop an understanding of what it is like to study at university. It will also provide them with evidence which can help to strengthen their UCAS applications and help them to stand out when applying for competitive university courses.

As part of this programme, The Open University in Wales is offering students from under-represented groups a bursary to study one of these courses for free.

To find out more and for details on how to apply please visit our STEM Talent page.  

Raspberry Pi Family Jam
Saturday 3 March 2018
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

Feedback and Impact
Feedback and Impact are of great value – the provide us with evidence for engaging with the wider audience!  Please add your own feedback on any activity here:

Ciara Bomford Careers Wales hosted several STEM Ambassadors webinars
The  most recent one was Jess Morgan-
Hi Jess, Thank-you so much for your webinar on Engineering.  It was very lively and inspiring. 
Mock Interviews at Bryn Celynnog
Hi Sian, Just wanted to say a big thank you for sending out my request for support for the Mock Interviews at Bryn Celynnog – have had a great response from some really interesting and specialist ambassadors which we wouldn’t normally get in attendance so that’s brilliant!
Joanne OKeefe Careers Wales
Ysgol Y Ddraig Primary 
"I am looking for another STEM  Ambassador to come into school for 2 Year 6 classes in  Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan to support our topic Blood Heart. We have previously had a STEM Ambassador to deliver workshops about the circulatory system, heart dissection and components of blood and the visits were very successful to enthuse and share expertise with the children. Your help is greatly appreciated. 
Teacher Lisa Crowther"
STEM Ambassador Hayley Pincott 
I started my STEM Ambassador role just over a year ago and absolutely love promoting  science and what I do to children. I’ve visited a couple of primary schools where we’ve looked at the structure of blood which then led to a practical to investigate centrifugal force, this allowed me to explain how this process is used in a biochemistry lab to analyse blood samples. 
We’ve also grown cultures to see what is in our environment, and this gave me the chance to explain the importance of antimicrobial resistance, how bacteria can be good for us, and not all bacteria is bad. This little microbiology session allowed us to look at infection control and how we need to wash hands properly to prevent vulnerable people getting worse. One practical session that children seem to get excited about is when we look at their cheek cells, I think they love the fact they get to sit down at a microscope, looking at cheek swabs. Most of the children are fascinated with cellular pathology however I do have to be aware of my audience and I do filter down how much I tell them of what my job entails.
I just want children to understand that to do a scientific job you don’t always have to be the cleverest person in the class, it’s ok to be ok at science. All you need to be able to do is ask lots of questions, which I encourage in the sessions I organise, and be willing to find the answers to those questions.

Competitions and resources

RAF100 Competition

The RAF100 Competition is an opportunity for young people to tell the story of an RAF base and bring together their understanding of history and physics

The history of the RAF demonstrates how people and their needs have pushed scientific development. How can knowledge of those people and the technology they worked with push us to think about developments for the future?

On this website there is an interactive map showing all the RAF bases in the UK and another of all the RAF bases used globally. The maps start from the First World War period through to today. Currently these maps only include very basic information about each of the bases. We would like schools and youth groups to provide the information about the bases.

In addition to helping tell the story of each base, the competition offers an opportunity for young people to bring together their understanding of how scientific ideas and technology have developed in history to explore current and future technological developments that might shape the RAF and civilian world of the future.

The prizes include opportunities to attend commemorative events during the centenary year, as well as gifts for the school.

Age groups: the competition will run with three age group categories: 11-14; 14-18 and 11-18.

Closing dates: the prizes are spread over 2018 and include tickets to events, so there are three opportunities to enter for different prizes:

  • Closing date 1: will close on 30 March 2018
  • Closing date 2: will close on 11 June 2018
  • Closing date 3: will close on 30 November 2018

Schools/youth groups etc can put forward as many entries as they wish for each of the deadlines, but each entry (research piece/film etc) can only be submitted once.


Scrub Up on Science Challenge 2018

Young people explore the chemistry of bubbles, foam and fizz with the ‘Scrub Up on Science Challenge 2018’

The Society of Cosmetic Scientists is challenging young people aged 11-16 to put their creative and scientific talents to the test through the 2018 Scrub up on Science Challenge.

The Scrub up on Science Challenge, which the Society of Cosmetic Scientists launched in 2014, is asking young people to create a bubble bath or bath bomb, and is supplying schools with free surfactant – the special chemical compound responsible for soapy bubbles. Using the surfactant, students aim to create the longest-lasting foam, the frothiest fizz, or the biggest bubbles. Schools can order free surfactant from the Scrub Up on Science website. To enter the competition, participants will also need to create a short video or a PowerPoint presentation that describes their product idea and showcases their understanding of the science behind it. All entries can be submitted through the website, before the closing date on Monday 27 April 2018.

Selected finalists will be invited to The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester on 20 June 2018 to recreate their product for the judges in a bid to be crowned winner.

The Scrub Up on Science Challenge is designed to build young people’s interest in STEM by raising awareness of lesser-known career pathways. Schools can request a visit from a cosmetic scientist through the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, to give students a fascinating insight into the world of work in the cosmetics industry.

For more information and to enter the Scrub Up on Science Challenge, visit

Uncover Copper

Are you a UK student aged 11–16? Would you like the chance to win £100 (plus £500 for your school) by exploring copper’s essential role in our present and future? Read on!

Copper surrounds us. It’s in our phones and tablets, the walls of our houses, our hospitals and even inside our bodies, but we rarely notice it. This competition calls on students to uncover copper, seeking it out in buildings, health and medicine, and new applications in renewable energy and sustainable transport systems.

More  here. The deadline is 25 May 2018. Winners will be announced in June.

Physics Teachers Award.             

Teachers contribute an immense amount to any society, however they sometimes do not achieve the recognition they deserve.

The Teachers of Physics awards, instituted in 1986, celebrate the success of secondary school physics teachers who, by their outstanding practice in the classroom have raised the state of physics and science in schools. Individuals are honoured alongside distinguished research scientists and industrialists. In this way we recognise that without dedicated teachers there would be no physics research community or technological base in our society.

For Wales, you can download a combined nomination and referees’ form here. The Deadline for submission is 1 April 2018.

Interested in a great funding opportunity for STEM at your school? 
The Royal Society run a Partnership Grants scheme offering up to £3000 to UK schools or colleges. You need to apply for a STEM investigation project with pupils aged 5-18 years in partnership with a STEM professional from research or industry.Register by 28 February Good Luck!

Other information


          British Science Week
         9-18 March 2018
          marketing pack

This month, we're thrilled to bring you our new online shop, where you can get special marketing resources for British Science Week. Some of these resources are also available to download for free via the British Science Week website.

                   FREE STEM challenge 
Ditch the Dirt - 
 Aimed at  pupils aged 8-14, the challenge is set in Turkana, Kenya where two-thirds of the population are reliant upon collecting contaminated water from ground water holes. Ditch the Dirt challenges pupils to design, model and test water filters to remove the 'dirt' from water then investigate ways to make it safe to drink. The challenge can also be used by pupils to gain a CREST Discovery Award.

Our mailing address is:

See Science / Gweld Gwyddoniaeth

8 St Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff CF10 3DD

02920 344727 | |

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