September 2014

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Welcome to the STEM Newsletter for Primary Schools in Wales

The start of a new term, and this newsletter brings more stories than ever about STEM engagement across Wales. Find out more about what’s happening, competitions, new educational resources, events, new rounds of grants and more…

For your diary

Back to topManor House Wildlife Park hosts STEM Networking event

Manor House Wildlife Park host STEM Networking event

Manor House Wildlife Park host STEM Networking eventA group of teachers from Pembrokeshire secondary schools tried out a series of experiments from the Society of Biology’s Gopher Science Lab in a STEM networking event at Manor House Wildlife Park.

The teachers were given a talk and tour of wildlife habitats in the park, and followed up with discussions with STEM Ambassadors in the park’s classroom. They joined Ambassadors in trying out the Gopher Science Lab experiments, linked to aspects of biology and wildlife.

Each schools was given a Gopher Science kit, containing teacher and pupil notes and supplies to run the experiments in school.

Links to teacher information pages

New events, competitions, grants and resources are regularly added to our teacher information web pages. You can check them out by following these links:

Back to topCREST Star Investigators

CREST logoIf you are looking for science investigation for the classroom or for a science club the CREST Star online resources are ideal. These excellent resources include more 60 activities with supporting teacher notes, many of which are available in Welsh. The activities focus on a mixture of hands-on practical work and discussion, encouraging children to work independently. The investigations last approximately one hour and are designed to be used in a club, in lessons, or outside school.

You don’t need a science background or even to be a teacher to run them. Full notes are provided as part of the resources, including a list of everything you need for the activity.

Resources in Welsh

We are delighted that, with funding from the Welsh Government through the National Science Academy, a selection of the CREST Star Investigators activities have been produced in Welsh and are available online. Free CREST Star Welsh resources are available here, towards the bottom of the page.

  • If you’re planning a project of any kind or an event at your school and need speakers, workshops, links with the real world, or an extra pair of hands, contact See Science and request a STEM Ambassador to come and help. The STEM Ambassadors Programme is FREE to schools - email or follow this link and click on 'Request an Ambassador’.
  • Don't forget to fill in our teacher feedback form if an Ambassador has visited your school or you have met an Ambassador at an enrichment activity. Please encourage colleagues to respond. Each half term we will provide one school who have provided feedback with a STEM Clubs resources kit worth £50.

Back to topSTEM Day for primary pupils

STEM Day at St John Lloyd SchoolTwo successful STEM days were held at St John Lloyd School in Llanelli for around 120 pupils from a range of Carmarthenshire primary schools.

Pupils built water-powered rockets and hovercraft (with support from Coleg Sir Gar), and designed and made a clock each using CAD. They also took part in a crash test egg activity.

STEM Day at St John Lloyd SchoolPrizes were awarded to the most successful individuals and teams at the end of each day.

Information and photos supplied by Mike Kent, Head of Technology at St John Lloyd School

Back to topGopher Science Lab at Cwmcarn High School

Gopher Science Lab at Cwmcarn High SchoolKS3 students from Cwmcarn High School took part in the Gopher Science Lab Day in Wales (GSLW) this summer. Following training from the See Science team, the KS3 pupils ran hands-on Gopher Science activities for pupils from the visiting feeder primary schools: Abercorn, Cwmcarn Primary, Waunfawr Primary, Risca Primary, Ty Sign Primary and Cwmfellinfach Primary

Gopher Science Lab at Cwmcarn High SchoolGopher Science Lab Day in Wales (GSLW) is a Society of Biology initiative which has been funded by the Welsh Government through the National Science Academy. The bilingual programme is being run out to schools across Wales. Each of the participating primary and secondary schools receives a Gopher box with 10 Gopher activities and teacher notes.

“Thank you so much for today, it was a real success!”: Elizabeth O’Malley, Head of Science, Cwmcarn Comprehensive School

If you would like to find more about this programme or attend one of the Gopher CPD workshops contact us at

Back to topPrimary Science Teaching Trust Celebration Day

Primary Science Teaching Trust Celebration DayTeachers from the St Cyres Comprehensive School and their feeder primary schools: Cogan Primary School, St Andrew’s Major C/W Primary School, Fairfield Primary School, and Murch Junior have been part of an exciting project funded by the PSTT (Primary Science Teaching Trust) to support Scientific Enquiry and the transition between primary and secondary schools in Wales.

After the celebration events Teresa Garn Head of Science St Cyres thanked us for organising “…such a splendid event on Friday. The Head was impressed and the children had a marvellous time.”

Primary Science Teaching Trust Celebration DayThe teachers from the cluster schools attended a two-day Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course where they found out how to improve pupils’ science skills and develop interactive learning. The schools collaborated with each other and STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) Ambassadors. The teachers and STEM Ambassadors met to develop a sequence of lessons which will improve pupils’ science skills and knowledge which they then apply in an investigation in the classroom. Once completed, the teachers and pupils presented their pupil’s work at a final celebration.

“Success! All the children’s knowledge and understanding of the topic area improved and that was evident when they presented their work on the Celebration Day at St Cyres Secondary School. Already I have been able to feedback my new knowledge and ideas to my staff, and they are keen to implement some of these in their own teaching. They have seen the children’s presentation on this project which was very effective as they could witness the children’s engagement in all the activities and actually see how these new initiatives/methods can be used to promote both Science and the LNF in the classroom.” Jeff Lansing, Science Coordinator, Murch Junior School.

Teachers were also made aware of the PSQM (Primary Science Quality Mark). PSTT College members attend the CPD course to speak of their experience of PSQM and the benefits of PSQM.

See Science will be applying for additional funding to extend this project to other school clusters. If you are interested please contact us on

Back to topHave a science or engineering project in mind, but need cash to support it?

Find full details of these project grants on our Grants page.

Need advice? If you’ve never applied for funding before, or if you’ve never been successful, make sure you read the funding criteria carefully and include information in your application that shows how your project meets them. Most scheme managers are happy to discuss the application process and potential projects, and are a great resource.

Need helpers? Try the STEM Ambassador programme to get help for your project from scientists or engineers. Contact

Back to topGopher Science Lab goes to West Wales

Gopher Science Lab goes to West WalesYsgol Bro Gwaun is a bilingual secondary school in Fishguard, north Pembrokeshire. Pupils come from mainly Fishguard and Goodwick but also from surrounding rural villages including Scleddau, Letterston and Newport. This means the Year 7 intake could include children from as many as ten different primary schools.

Pupils from these schools take part in organised transition days, to introduce them not only to the secondary school, but also to pupils from other primary schools. At such a day the students took part in Gopher Science Lab activities.

Pupils enjoyed getting hands on with the activities, making observations, measuring and comparing results. They particularly enjoyed creating secret writing as an extension to the colour-changing cabbage experiments.

Gopher Science Lab goes to West WalesYsgol Dewi Sant is the secondary school serving the city of St Davids and an extensive rural area of north Pembrokeshire. The catchment area has four main primary schools, although pupils from other schools may also travel to Ysgol Dewi Sant. Approximately 60 pupils of primary age attended a transition day at Ysgol Dewi Sant where the afternoon was devoted to taking part in Gopher Lab activities, led by Year 7, and some Year 8 pupils from the secondary school.

All activities took place in the school hall, with the primary pupils working in groups of three to complete the experiments. Science staff at the school scaled up the experiments to allow several pupils to take part at the same time.

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