Stem Newsletter for Secondary 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.

Latest STEM news
Welsh success in the Youth Grand Challenges Competition
Congratulations to teams from two Welsh comprehensive schools who reached the National Finals of the Youth Grand Challenges Competition held in London at the beginning of December. A team of 2 yr 8 & 9 girls from Hawthorn High School, Pontypridd were chosen for their Silver CREST project on ‘Repelling and Trapping Insects’ and a team of 5 yr 8 girls from Fitzalan High School in Cardiff were chosen in the CREST Discovery category for their project on ‘Stop the Spread’. As well as 2 Welsh finalists, Pentrehafod School in Swansea were also longlisted for their ‘Stop the Spread’ project.
 The Youth Grand Challenges competition was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and required teams to complete one of a series of specially written CREST projects. The projects challenged young people, aged 11-to-19, to see how science and technology can be deployed to tackle global health issues. The theme for 2016/17 was infectious diseases.
 Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, who ran the Youth Grand Challenges, said at the end of the Finals day: “I’d like to extend my congratulations to all of the finalists of the Youth Grand Challenges competition. The projects I have seen today have all been of the highest standard, and were clearly the result of many hours of hard work. It is so encouraging to see the innovative and thought-provoking solutions the young people involved with the competition have come up with – it fills me with optimism about the future.” 
The project resources developed for the competition are still available on the CREST website and educators are encouraged to use them to enable their pupils to gain CREST Awards. (Details below)
 Stuart Thomas from Hawthorn School: "The aim of this year's project was to create an insecticide out of some everyday, or easily accessible, materials. In our weekly science club, Libby and Amelia tried and tested various oils and extracts and found a combination of peppermint and lemongrass that was simple and worked really effectively as a fly repellent. I think what has set this project apart for me was the girls' imagination and drive, as they suggested that this repellent (or a similar combination) could also work on mosquitos, and could theoretically help combat malaria around the world. This passion for science and their creativity is obvious from their schoolwork and their extra-curricular activities, which is why we were a
ll immensely pleased and proud when Libby and Amelia's project was chosen to go through to the finals of the Youth Grand Challenges awards. This was an amazing opportunity for the girls to meet pupils from other schools, to show off their passion, and for their hard work and creativity to be recognised.
Jane Holand Lloyd from Fitzalan High School added "the girls had entered  a competition to design a hand washing device for use by primary school pupils in Kenya.  The competition also involved them producing some promotional material to encourage children to wash their hands.  During the final the girls had to set up their stand with their models, video and display materials.  They were then judged by two different groups of judges from a variety of scientific and charitable backgrounds.  The had to give a small presentation and then answer any questions that the judges asked.  The team from Fitzalan were delighted to be announced runner up in their category.  The prize they have won involves spending a day with a group of research scientists at a venue of their choice in the UK.  The team had a fantastic day and an amazing experience."

Engineering Team Challenge South Wales
The South Wales programme for the Engineering Team Challenge was held 6th -  10th  November. This is an Engineering Competition for Year 9 pupils where teams are set a challenge to be completed during the day.
The aim of the scheme is to encourage students to consider a career in engineering and introduce them to a wider perspective of how diverse engineering is and to address misconceptions.
It is run by the ICE Wales Cymru Graduates and Students Committee with sponsorship from local engineering companies. Employers also support the event by providing release time for their STEM Ambassadors to lead the challenge and supervise teams.
The schedule is run in conjunction with Tomorrow’s Engineers Week.
5 venues hosted the challenge:
  • Monday     Principality Stadium, Cardiff
  • Tuesday   National Botanical Gardens of Wales
  • Wednesday Riverfront Theatre, Newport
  • Thursday  University of South Wales, Treforest
  • Friday   Swansea National Waterfront Museum
Teams were set a task to repair a bridge which had suffered damage through flooding. Their design and builds were then tested on a large model, where a flow of water and weights tested the efficiency of the structure.
30 STEM Ambassadors took part representing many Civil Engineering comp
anies in South Wales.
410 pupils attended from: Whitchurch High, Catherdral School Llandaff, St John’s College, Bishop of Llandaff, Brynmawr Foundation School, Coedcae School, Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron, Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, Ysgol Strade, Glan  Y  Mor, Ysgol Dyffryn Amman, Rougemont, Aberdare Community School, Afon Taf, Rhymney Comprehensive, Tonypandy Community College, Pencoed Comprehensive, Cefn Hengoed and Dwr Y Felin Comprehensive.
Teacher comments were valuable:
“This is the real thing; it shows pupils how the world works in reality. Most amazing is that none have looked at their mobile phones all day except to photograph their bridges! Anything that draws teenagers away from their phone must be engaging” Mr Vaudin Dwr–Y –Felin

“Perfect for a wide range of pupils including less achieving pupils, they have been able to show skills not usually evident in the classroom”Teacher Cefn Hengoed School
“Pupils enjoyed working in groups with Young Engineers – good problem solving session”
Nicole Morgan Glan Y Mor
 STEM Ambassadors:“Pupils worked really hard and produced well thought designs – a great day” Gavin Phillips “ I had an amazing week at the ETC, thanks to all who helped, you made it a success” Aodhan Teague
Pupils:“It’s something different and easier to understand when it’s practical” Dwr Y Felin
“Brilliant – best part was fun working as te

am” Cefn Hengoed
“May think about Engineering I didn’t know there was so many different Engineers” Cefn Hengoed

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 Justin 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


Teacher and pupil opportunites

Getting Practical Techmeet  and Teachmeet         
25 January 2018 : Cardiff and the Vale College, Dumballs Road Cardiff.CF10 5FE
Techmeet 2pm - 3.30pm    Teachmeet. 4.30pm - 6.30pm
Technicians meeting   - Scientific and Chemical will present an workshop using the latest technology
Followed by an informal opportunity for teachers to meet and share ideas – and equipment. Teachmeet : 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 to share ideas – 2 mins or 7 mins together with an opportunity to network.
Technicians book a place here :
Teachers book a place  here: 

Getting Practical Techmeet  and Teachmeet             
6 February 2018.  Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, Abergele LL22 7HD
Techmeet 2pm - 3.30pm    Teachmeet. 4.30pm - 6.30pm
Technicians meeting   - Scientific and Chemical will present an workshop using the latest technology
Followed by an informal opportunity for teachers to meet and share ideas – and equipment. Teachmeet : Bring equipment and suggestions with you and leave with a bag full of new suggestions and resources.

There is an opportunity to share ideas – 2 mins or 7 mins together with an opportunity to network.
Technicians book a place here :
Teachers book a place  here:  

CREST Awards for Schools
CREST Awards have been running for 30 years and now over 30,000 young people every year achieve an award. They are managed by the British Science Association and involve STEM project work. They can be run during lesson time or are ideal activities for a STEM Club. There is an award to suit every age and ability:

  • Discovery Award – Secondary pupils can earn an award in one day
  • Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards for secondary pupils

 How can I run CREST Awards? Register for an account at . There is a broad choice of downloadable project resources on the CREST website, including Sustainable Solutions and the brand new Wild Creations, both of which have been funded by the Welsh Government: more information, go to or contact Llinos at

CREST Awards are flexible as the projects can be on any STEM related topic. Teachers or students can come up with their own project ideas, provided that they meet the clearly set out CREST criteria:

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 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.
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:

Impact on young people’s uptake of STEM subjects post-16 : Merthyr College
 Tutor Mark Richards runs a STEM enrichment club every Wednesday for post 16 yrs. Requesting a variety of careers and interactive sessions, 6 STEM Ambassadors volunteered support.  The sessions range from Nuclear Physics, Games Industry and Computing, Project Management and Engineering.
 Karl Jones covered Video Game development, a career that had progressed from his background in the Defence Sector.
“Thanks Sian, Karl was superb today, Mark Richards”

School of Pharmacy Cluster Primary projects
TEM Ambassador James Blaxland is leading the Cardiff School of Pharmacy primary project with the support of 15 STEM Ambassadors.
James is working on Science projects with 5 cluster primary schools in Newport. The projects are related to his research on antibiotics and the properties of antibiotics through honey production variants. 
 Pupils have completed projects including growing bacteria on agar plates, researching antibiotic production and comparing the antibiotic properties of honeys. James has kept the STEM Ambassador Hub Coordinator updated on his project progress, which has great response from schools involved.
 What an absolutely amazing day with @TredegarParkPS @GaerPrimary @StWoolosPrimary @GlasllwchP such amazing staff, teachers and children. I am amazed at all the hard work, dedication and participation by everyone involved in this awesome project. @PharmacyCU @engagewithCU
Pupils are awarded ‘Star Scientist Awards’ for their work at the Science Club and all schools Science Clubs attended a showcase day at the School of Pharmacy in December.
 ”What a wonderful way to end our project Diolch @Cornishman100 @engagewithCU @PharmacyCU @pharmabees
Brain games inspirational speakers for children of our winning posters goody bags for all and a generation of children with a passion for science”
Clytha Primary School
 6B are having a great time at Cardiff university looking at microbiology and the brain @engagewithCU #SchoolScienceClub #EngagewithDrJAB
Tredegar Park Primary School

Competitions and resources

CyberFirst nurturing young talent – Girls Competition 2018 

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, is developing the UK's next generation of cyber professionals through their student bursaries, courses for 11-17 year olds and competitions. These interventions will hopefully help to nurture young talent and ensure women are better represented in the cyber workforce of tomorrow.

One competition, run by NCSC, is the national CyberFirst Girls Competition which, following the success of last year (attracting over 8,000 girls), is back for 2018! This is a unique opportunity for teams of school girls in Year 8 or S2, with inquisitive minds, who like solving problems and working as a team, to compete in over 100 fun online cyber security challenges. Look out for the special Deputy Directors Challenge too!

The competition gives girls the opportunity to boost their interest and skills in cybersecurity, regardless of their knowledge and experience and is a fun way to learn about cybersecurity and practice skills in a simulated real-world environment.

  • Teams of up to four girls
  • Year 8 / S2
  • Register online from 16 January 2018
  • Online competition starts 29 January 2018, closing 5 February 2018
  • Visit: for more information.

Sponsor: MOD Information Head of Professions Team, on behalf of the National Cyber Security Centre.

Faraday Challenge Day applications for 2018-19 are open!

IET Faraday Challenge Days give students the opportunity to research, design and make prototype solutions to genuinely tough engineering problems. At each event teams compete to win a prize for themselves and a trophy for their school.
The event is free of charge and set up and run by our team of STEM professionals to give you the time to focus on your students.
Delivered by the IET in 68 schools and 12 Academic Partner universities - as well as further events available as requested by funders and sponsors - the Faraday Challenge Days are one day STEM activities for six teams of six students. Our 2018-19 season's Challenge Days are designed for Year 8 students (England) and their equivalents (aged 12-13 years).
Download the application form here

2018 Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry

Entries for the 2018 Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry are now live.
Don’t miss out on participating in one of these fantastic events which:
·       Excite pupils by doing practical chemistry
·       Give pupils responsibility to carry out investigations “like a real Chemist”
·       Encourage team working and independent problem solving skills
·       Give teachers an opportunity to network and participate in CPD
One team of four students per school are welcome to participate from Year 7 and/or 8 in England and Wales.
Students will experience two hands-on practical Chemistry challenges, exciting chemical demonstrations, a prize-giving ceremony with prizes for winning schools and fun prizes and certificates for all participants.
More information and online entry here

RSB Biology Challenge

The Royal Society of Biology’s Biology Challenge is open to all school 13-15 year olds. The 2018 competition will take place between 6-26 March 2018. Teachers can register students for the competition here until the deadline of 23 February 2018.

Biology Challenge stimulates students’ curiosity for the natural world and encourages them to take an interest in biology outside of school. Questions will be set on the school curriculum, but the competition will also reward those students whose knowledge of the subject has been increased by reading books and magazines, watching natural history programmes, taking notice of the news media for items of biological interest, and are generally aware of our natural flora and fauna.

Schools can conduct the Challenge in whatever way best suits their pupils, ensuring that they enjoy participating and have a reasonable expectation of recognition for their achievements. 

Other information

Airbus Craft Apprentices Open Evening
25 January 2018
Coleg Cambria, Kelsterton Road, Connah's Quay, Clwyd CH5 4BR, 

Airbus invites students, parents and anyone interested in Craft Apprenticeships to join us at our Open Evening.

Come and speak to current Airbus Apprentices about what it takes to become one of our skilled aircraft fitters and machinists. There will also be representatives from Airbus and Coleg Cambria on hand to tell you more about our apprenticeship programmes.

Presentations will be held at 17:15 and 18:15, and tours of the college workshops will run throughout the evening.There is no need to book a place; please just turn up!

Physics and Wales; Skills for a Nation
18 January 2018, 17:00 – 19:00
Senedd, National Assembly for Wales

The Institute of Physics is delighted to invite you to a reception to celebrate the work that we, alongside our collaborators, have undertaken to improve the employability of youngsters in Wales to feed into the growing need for science skills across the nation. 
 Speakers will include the Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Baroness Eluned Morgan AM, IOP Chief Executive Professor Paul Hardaker, IOP President Professor Dame Julia Higgins, founding Director of Science Made Simple, Wendy Sadler MBE and Wyn Meredith, MD of the Compound Semiconductor Centre.
 To RSVP please register via this link, or alternatively by emailing by 15th January.

Our mailing address is:

See Science / Gweld Gwyddoniaeth

8 St Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff CF10 3DD

02920 344727 | |

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