Stem Newsletter for Secondary Schools in Wales

        November   2017                 

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
A Party at the Palace

For the second time in three years pupils from Ysgol Glan-Y-Mor in Burry Port have won a National TeenTech Award. Year 8 pupils; Rebecca, Mollie and Sophia won the Fashion and Retail Award with their idea for a multi-functional development for the Scan as you Shop system used by some supermarkets. Their S.S.A.S system allowed customers to budget, locate products, and receive Smart nutritional and allergy advice all accessed  through an improved scanning device. The girls were supported in their work by local Tesco stores and Tesco technical head office. Following their success the girls were invited to a celebration event at Buckingham Palace where the category winners were presented with their awards by TeenTech’s patron HRH the Duke of York. The afternoon at Buckingham  Palace was an exciting experience and just reward for the months of hard work the girls put into their STEM project.

                 Welsh Physics Teachers Conference

The IOP Welsh Physics Teachers Conference
is the largest meeting of the physics-teaching community in Wales, bringing together physics teacher, technicians and PGCE students to learn about the latest developments in physics and physics education. The 16th Welsh Physics Teachers Conference took place in Christ College, Brecon on Wednesday 4th October provided a wonderful opportunity for teachers and technicians to take part in a wide variety of physics CPD activities with over 160 delegates attending. Teachers participated in a variety of workshop and talks including the Virtual Physics Laboratory with John Nunn, Energy for GCSE Physics with Lawrence Cattermole and Isaac Physics with Ally Davies. Many enjoyed the hands on workshops with Helen Steer (Do It Kits), David Grace (Make and Take Planks Constant) and Alessio Bernardelli (Space Science on Earth) and several other providers.
Dr Jess Wade, winner of the Jocelyn Bell Burnell Award in 2016 in recognition of her research and exceptional public engagement work provided the keynote talk. “From Plastic Fantastic – Making my way with Molecules” highlighted Jess’s research work at the Centre for Plastic Electronics in Imperial College London and also her  outreach work in encouraging others to study physics and looking at Gender Balance. Professor Brian Foster from Oxford University and professional violinist Jack Liebeck  mesmerized the audience with a talk about Einstein’s obsession with the violin and how his ideas have shaped our understanding of subatomic physics. The lecture was punctuated by musical interludes from some of Einstein’s favourite music. The exhibition area had over 20 stands displaying scientific equipment, booksales and useful classroom resources. Teachers noted that they took home with them  lots of useful ideas and activities  that will help with teaching and learning in the classroom.
The event was organised by Cerian Angharad, Physics Network Coordinator South Wales.

A Taste of Engineering scores top marks again! 

STEM Ambassadors Christina Kio and Rosie Jay yet again achieved an outstanding success in coordinating their event at Swansea Bay Campus on September 19. 100 Yr 9 pupils from Croesyceiliog Comprehensive School, Llandovery College, St Joseph's Catholic School, Port Talbot and Pontarddulais School attended. Teams completed challenges of building a roller coaster, speedboat, wind turbine and towers. They also had a tour of the Engineering Department at the University.
It was a well balanced and engaging introduction to Engineering - including an emphasis on Apprenticeships.
All teachers gave feedback that they would definitely bring pupils to the event again and all responded that the activities were at the correct level:

'Keep up the good work' 'Loved the uni tour' 'Very good idea to mix pupils.' 
After the event 54% of pupils said they might be interested in pursuing Engineering as a Career.

Caer - Ely Hidden Hillfort Project
STEM Ambassador Dr David Wyatt, Senior Lecturer in Early Medieval History, Community and Engagement together with Dr Ollie Davies drive the the project, which is now revealing the most ancient monument in Cardiff - the Iron Age Hill Fort of Ely. Working with local primary and secondary schools and community groups, the project is bringing together expertise from Cardiff University and the dedication of pupils and residents. STEM Ambassadors working with schools and the community to reveal a local treasure and develop STEM skills
The efforts of the first phase uncovered a wealth of information and items, developing skills in the community and educating pupils in their local heritage.

September 6 celebrated the unveiling of a new information sign by Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University and Mark Drakeford AM for Cardiff West.
An exciting development is the conversion of the local gospel Hall into a customised location for the ongoing project work. 
Stalls were displayed at the event by National Museums of Wales, Cardiff School of Pharmacy with STEM Ambassador James Blakeland, amongst others.
STEM Ambassador Dave Wyatt quoted 
“The Hidden Hillfort Project has the potential to ............enhance individual life-chances for local people of all ages.”

The CAER Hidden Hillfort project is a Heritage Lottery-funded (HLF) initiative between Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE) and Cardiff University.  

                       CREST Awards Survey for Schools


Calling all teachers who have been involved with CREST Awards in Wales: the British Science Association would love your feedback about the scheme in order to help them improve CREST delivery in Wales. Please complete a short survey: and you’ll be entered into a draw for a £25 gift voucher.
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:

For 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:

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

Mentoring at Newport High School : STEM Ambassador Patrick Sullivan (West England Hub) lives in Wales but studies at Bristol University.  Patrick contacted STEM Ambassador coordinator Sian Ashton to enquire if any students in the Newport area would be interested in mentoring support for UCAS / Apprenticeship applications. He is already an Arkwright mentor. Patrick was introduced to teacher Julia Brockley in Newport High School. He has now established a programme of Mentoring which involves helping them write personal statements and CVs, highlighting notable opportunities for them to pursue, and talking to them about their future aspirations. He spends an hour visiting every fortnightand will be in email correspondences throughout the application period.
 "We had a productive first session Wednesday afternoon and will continue the sessions once a fortnight until the UCAS deadline in January. The initial feedback from the staff and students was great and hopefully I'll be able to help the boys get some good offers in from universities and employers.  I have created documentation with advice on personal statements, universities, student finance, CVs, and apprenticeships that they might find useful to help mentoring “ Patrick Sullivan 

Tredegarville  Primary School ‘Inspiring the Future’ week
STEM Ambassador Adam Johnson of AECOM presented an Engineering workshop for Yr 2 pupils: “Thanks again for welcoming me at the school.  The year 2 group were great with some good questions and enthusiasm.  I hope the class found it interesting.”  Adam Johnson
Maths activities at St Peter’s Primary – response to STEM Ambassador Coordinator Sian Ashton from STEM Ambassador Sarah Alzetani: Maths session for the KS2 pupils at St Peter's went very well! The kids really enjoyed it. Please do let me know if there are any more opportunities like this. Thanks again!”

Teacher and pupil opportunites

 ASE logo                                                    

STEM Beyond the Classroom

Saturday 11 November, 10.00am – 2.30pm  National Museum of Wales

Inspirational lectures and workshops for primary & secondary teachers that aim to address the new science and technology curriculum.

  • Prof Justin Dillon, Professor of Science and Environmental Education, University of Bristol, explores some of the issues around learning outside the classroom.
  • Dr Rhys Jones, lecturer, herpetologist and presenter of Rhys to the Rescue, presents on his own experiences of science communication and the need for literacy in science.

Primary and Secondary science workshops will cover a range of topics from animal behaviour and scientific research, to chemistry and astronomy. A series of short teacher-led vignettes will explore approaches to inspiring science opportunities. There will also be a special Presentation of Awards for the Primary Science Quality Mark.

Book a FREE place and your workshop choices here. For more info please contact or 07870 351212.

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.

Take part and make maths count.                        Friday  2 February 2018

Number Day logoJoin thousands of schools for a mega maths-inspired fundraising day and raise money for the NSPCC. With new creative activities this year, it's maths but not as you know it! Whether you dedicate a day or an hour to being a maths maverick, every pound you raise counts towards our fight for every childhood.  Register your school

Do you know an outstanding teacher that deserves recognition? Is there someone at your local school that needs celebrating? Are your teaching staff leading the way in technology or using Welsh language? 
 Well, the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru are back for 2018! Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams is looking for the very best education professionals that Wales has to offer and those that have made a real difference to their school or education setting.

 There are nine categories this year including Teacher of the Year, Headteacher of the Year, Inspirational use of the Welsh Language and Best Use of Digital Learning so there is plenty of opportunity for your school to get the recognition that they deserve.
 If you’re a teacher, student, parent, employer or colleague and know someone that would be worthy of a Professional Teaching Award you have until midnight on 30 November 2017 to make a nomination online at:

Competitions and resources

The Ultimate STEM Challenge is now open.

The Ultimate STEM Challenge is a national competition brought to you by BP, the Science Museum and STEM Learning.

We are asking teams of two to four students aged 11 to 14 from across the UK to put their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills to the test and win some fantastic prizes.

The Ultimate STEM Challenge has been designed to build confidence and teamworkskills, and to inspire everyone, not just the science enthusiasts! 

Get started: Choose from one of our three challenges based around the theme of My Sustainable Future. They are perfect for STEM Clubs, and you can request a STEM Ambassador to enhance students' experience.

STEM Learning

Classroom display competition

With the start of the new academic year comes the inevitable classroom of blank display boards. As the term progresses and display boards blossom into being, then why not add your classroom display to our ever growing collection and enter our popular competition?

How can I get involved? All you need to do is share a photo of your favourite classroom display into   Classroom Displays – Secondary.

Your entry must include:

  • 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

The closing date for entry is 15 December 2017 and six lucky winners will receive £100 worth of vouchers – just in time to treat yourself before Christmas! Winners will be notified by email by 22 December 2017.Submit your entry here:  Classroom displays – secondary

UKRoC – The great UK Rocketry Challenge 2018

UKRoC – The great UK Rocketry Challenge 2018 is ready for take off!

The UK Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKRoC) is a great way to engage the next generation of engineers with practical experience of building and executing complex missions. This is an exciting way to learn more about maths and science, with the UK winners getting the chance to compete against teams from France, USA and Japan at the International Finals.

So if you know a team of young people 11-18 who have strong interests in STEM, thrive with team problem solving and would relish the opportunity to network with business and industry aviation leaders – the UK Rocketary challenge is for them!

Register here – closing date 28 February 2018.

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. 

Cisco and STEM Learning have relaunched the Little Big Awards for 2017 which has now been renamed to the Little Big Futures.

The Internet of Things is about connecting everyday objects to send, receive and process data to solve real-world issues. The Little Big Futures programme is aimed at students aged 11-14 and has a collection of five one-hour lessons across the STEM subjects and for your STEM Clubs.

There are heaps of subject-specific investigations that explore the Internet of Things and will get your students engaged and thinking about the world around them.

These resources introduce upcoming technologies that will soon be part of everyday life and give your students the opportunity to be creative with their learning and explore careers education.

Get involved and share your experiences on Twitter #LittleBigFutures and be in with the chance of winning some fantastic prizes, courtesy of Cisco.

Other information


Aged between 16-19 and studying physics?

Sign up to Qubit, our e-newsletter for school and college students studying towards A level, Higher or equivalent physics qualification.

As a subscriber you will receive regular updates on:

  • What’s new in physics
  • Exam and university guidance
  • Information about careers from physics
  • Upcoming events and competitions

Young People's Book Prize

Young People's Book Prize 2017
The shortlist of the 2017 Young People’s Book Prize, which celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people has been announced. Six fantastic books were chosen by a panel of adult judges. Over the next five months, this shortlist will be judged by over 300 groups of young people across the UK - together they decide the winner.
Our mailing address is:

See Science / Gweld Gwyddoniaeth

8 St Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff CF10 3DD

02920 344727 | |

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list