September 2011

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Welcome to the STEM Newsletter for
Primary Schools in Wales

STEMNET contractor holder logoSee Science is your new STEMNET contract holder, with effect from 1 July 2011, to manage the Schools STEM Advisory Network and the local management of the STEM Ambassadors Programme in Wales.

STEMNET creates opportunities to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

This enables young people to develop their creativity, problem-solving and employability skills, widens their choices and supports the UK’s future competitiveness.

STEMNET helps encourage young people to be well informed about STEM, able to engage fully in debate, and make decisions about STEM related issues.

The STEM Ambassadors Programme enables teachers to make links from the curriculum to how STEM is practiced in the world of work, illuminating applications across a vast range of careers.

If you would like to find out more or would like a visit from a STEM Ambassador contact us at

How you can help us

You can help us by telling us about STEM activities you have organised and provide us with an insight into what the pupils gained from the experience by filling in our online feedback form. All feedback forms will be entered into a prize draw each term.

Llew Davies Ysgol Cae Top wins UK Teaching Award

Llew Davies photoThe Royal Air Force Award for Teacher of the Year

Llew Davies is one of those teachers children remember for all their lives. His lessons are like an adventure and he is always thinking up new ways of engaging his pupils. The youngster who nominated him said: “He is a funny, very nice teacher he always makes us laugh. He is very strong and good at sports.”

Llew offers his pupils educational opportunities they might not normally have. He differentiates his lessons so each child, regardless of ability, gains the maximum benefit. National judges saw evidence of a lesson on volcanoes which ended in red stains on the ceiling!

In another exercise, designed to stretch gifted and talented children, his pupils took part in a competition to design, construct and race a Formula One car made of balsa wood. Not only did his pupils rise to the challenge but they came first in North Wales and third in the whole of the UK in the contest.

A colleague said: “He has an excellent rapport with the children and seems to know how to get the best from them. While keeping a well-ordered classroom, he manages to make learning for 9 and 10 year-olds the most fun they’ve ever had!”

In his class children also develop confidence and self-esteem.” I was as quiet as a mouse when I came to Mr. Davies’ class”, says one. “He has helped me be much more confident. Now I’m a chatterbox.”

Parents love the way he motivates their children and described how they “can’t wait to be in Mr. Davies’ class”. One parent told judges: “The amazing thing is, he is so good at teaching that the children do not realise they are learning, they think they’re just having fun!” Another said: “He must be superman!”

In Llew’s class pupils develop as bilingual speakers, which is not easy when more than a quarter of the pupils in the school have English as a second language and Welsh as a third.

As deputy head, he works on developing teaching and learning and on strategies relating to giving pupils a voice. The school is now recognised as a ‘Smart Flagship School’ due to the high standard of ICT skills, which is directly down to his intervention.

Llew’s contribution to the wider activities of the school is described as “priceless”. He organises sporting activities and games clubs, ICT, design and technology clubs, and takes an active part in school trips.

Judges who observed his lesson said “his magical and captivating effect was evident in the children’s expression as their eyes sparkled and their contributions flowed.

“We felt we were in the presence of a truly inspirational, effective and talented professional. Whatever you call it, the X factor, wow factor, that certain twinkle or spark 'Llew has it!' ”

TES Schools Award winners

Now in their third year, the TES Schools Awards – or Tessas – aim to celebrate this work. This year’s awards attracted a record number of entries, extolling the achievements of teachers, school leaders, support staff and pupils alike.

Congratulations to St Christopher’s School, Wrexham for achieving the awarded for the ‘Outstanding Sustainable School or Partnership’ and to teacher Bev Evans from Pembroke Dock Community School for her Award for TES Contributor of the Year. Check out the TES website to see the resources.

Great Bug Hunt Competition

The GReat Bug HuntCongratulations to Year 4 St. Michael’s Primary School – Pontypridd and Brynford Primary School Science Club – Holywell who were both runners up in Great Bug Hunt Competition 2011

The Great Bug Hunt competition is a fun and fascinating way to introduce children to the weird and wacky world of mini beasts. So grab a bug net and awaken their sense of discovery and adventure in the great outdoors.’

The ASE’s schoolscience Great Bug Hunt 2011, in association with Martin Rapley and Gatekeeper Educational, has been a resounding success – not only because it fits into the science curriculum so neatly, but also because of the passion it evoked in the primary school children who took part. This year’s entries were truly inspirational, with schools preparing for the hunt weeks in advance. School fields were cornered off to let the grass grow, bug hotels were designed and built and a few even found the perfect reason to start a science club!

There will be a display at our Annual Conference in Liverpool next year, so come and take a look at this year’s amazing entries to inspire you for your 2012 competition! "Just change your horizons; lower your perspective and the world all around you become just as exciting as the African plains or South American Jungle! This is proper adventure; full dangerous predators, venom squirting monsters and cannibals but equally one filled with exquisite beauty and wonder. Start the adventure and it’s one that’ll last you a life time; It’s so addictive I can guarantee once you’ve been on a bug hunt you will never ever be bored again.’"Nick Baker, Naturalist.

For more information on the Great Bug Hunt 2012 competition visit

Things go with a bang

Gaz TopTV presenter Gaz Top helped the opening of a science fair go with a bang at the National Waterfront Museum.

The star, who appeared in hit children’s science show How To, opened the Big Bang Cymru exhibition which aims to promote the exciting side of science through experiments, interactive displays and a range of exhibitions.

Ray Collier, chief executive of Careers Wales West, said: “The Big Bang Cymru is a fantastic way of engaging school pupils, teachers, parents, local employers and the general public in highlighting the benefits of studying subjects like science, technology, engineering and maths”.

Mandy Wescott, formal learning officer at the museum, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting The Big Bang Cymru at the Museum.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to further engage young people into the wonderful world of engineering and highlight the part it played and continues to play in Wales’s industrial past and future.”

South Wales Evening Post

Neville Evans Wins the Science and Technology Medal for School Posters

Neville EvansNeville Evans from Radyr, Cardiff is the winner of this year’s Science and Technology Medal at the National Eisteddfod. He received the medal in a special ceremony on the pavilion stage on Thursday 4 August.

Originally from Fforestfach, Swansea, Neville was educated up to doctorate level in the city. After a period teaching, he was appointed as a lecturer in the Applied Physics Department, UWIST, before becoming a HMI with special responsibility for science.

He realised there was a severe lack of awareness of the contribution of Welsh scientists across the country, and therefore, with funding from the Welsh Government – through the National Science Academy for Wales, created a series of colourful posters suitable for use in school to mark the contribution of our scientists.

The Medal is presented to an individual who has promoted the use of Welsh in the fields of science and technology.

To find out more about the posters contact


National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) Information Sessions

NSEW logoThis year’s NSEW theme is ‘Our world in motion’. Come along to one of the information sessions near you and find out more.

  • Bangor: Conference Room, Trefenai, Normal Site, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, Bangor University, Bangor LL57 2PZ on 29 September
  • Cardiff: Cardiff: ATRiuM Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries University of Glamorgan Adam Street Cardiff CF24 2FN on 19 October

Find out about British Science Association support and funding for schools in challenging circumstances that help take the hard work out of organising excellent events.

NSEW is a great time to plan your science activity week and take part in national projects from the British Science Association.

Attend a NSEW Info Session near you to see how you can take part in the nation’s largest science and engineering activity week.

Generate a real buzz in school around science or create an inclusive event for the local community.


  • Details of funding schemes you could apply for
  • Hands-on activity ideas for young people
  • Details of the 2012 theme ‘our world in motion’ and mass participation activities
  • Free resources for organisers
  • Additional NSEW projects you can take part in
  • Case-study from an existing NSEW event organiser

More information…

ASE Conference National Museum of Wales Cardiff – 8 October

ASE logoA day about Antarctica for science teachers, teacher trainees, science communicators and other interested professionals. Explore the fascinating environment of Antarctica through hands-on activities. Find out about the physical landscape, the animals that live there and discover how Antarctica has been explored by scientists in the past and today.

The day will focus on practical ideas for the classroom, developing confidence about the topic and providing resources and activities for use in the classroom.

Contributors include:

  • Professor John Harries, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru Scientists
  • Professor Peter Barham – University of Bristol
  • Dr Siwan Davies – University of Swansea
  • Anne Goldsworthy – Nice Ice Workshop, Brenda Keough and Stuart Naylor
  • Dr Liz Pasteur – The Polar Foundation

For further information and details about how to book a place…


Competitions and Awards

The Jaguar Cars Maths in Motion Challenge for Schools

See Science are now the Coordinators for The Jaguar Cars Maths in Motion Challenge for Schools. If you would like more details about the competition, how to get involved and the benefits for your school contact Visit the website to find out how Blackwood Comprehensive School won the 2011 Challenge at the Heritage Motor Museum in Gaydon.

The Jaguar Cars Maths in Motion Challenge has now become well established in the calendars of many schools as a way of engaging children of all ages and abilities in an exciting and motivating mathematics based project. The software is suitable for all ages from 9 upwards. It is an ideal base for a primary school maths project, for a ‘transition years’ project or for general use with older students throughout secondary school.

The Challenge involves students working together in small teams, who compete against each other in an effort to win a Grand Prix type race and become U.K. Champions. This activity involves a wide range of basic mathematical skills, some practical, being used and applied. Further details can be found on the website or by contacting

STEMNET’s National Awards

The STEMNET Awards aim to recognise the UK’s most inspirational people for motivating young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The UK benefits from a huge network of people dedicated to inspiring young people in STEM. STEMNET represents around 30,000 volunteers, 2,300 STEM Clubs, 10,000 teachers and 3,500 employers. Lord Sainsbury will host the award ceremony at the House of Lords on 13 December 2011. Awards will be presented to the most dedicated STEM teacher, club, ambassador, employer and for the first time, the most inspirational technician. The Inspirational Technician Award has been launched by STEMNET in partnership with The Gatsby Charitable Foundation. This award aims to recognise the work of a technician who can demonstrate they have inspired young people to follow technician career routes.

STEMNET Chief Executive Kirsten Bodley says: “The STEMNET Awards provide a fantastic opportunity to reward those who make a regular and valued commitment to STEM education in the UK. The launch of the Inspirational Technician Award is an exciting time for STEMNET as we continue our successful collaboration with The Gatsby Charitable Foundation on programmes that can inspire young people in STEM.”

Online nominations for each award will open on Monday 5 September 2011.

The 2011 WISE Annual Awards 2011 – 19 October

WISE logoThe WISE Annual Awards are given in recognition of companies and individuals who have actively addressed the issue of promoting science, engineering and construction to girls and young women, so supporting the aims of WISE.

The Award ceremony will held on 19 October 2011 at The Institution of Engineering and Technology, London.

The WISE Excellence Award is open to women who are in the early stages of their career, scientists and those working in construction. She must have demonstrated a high level of commitment to her chosen profession and to the promotion of science, engineering and construction to girls and young women. The winner will receive a cheque for £1,000 and an engraved plaque.

The WISE Champion Award is open to schools, industry, universities, colleges, charities and professional bodies who have taken steps to actively address the WISE mission to encourage girls and young women in to STEM education and related careers. The winner will receive an engraved plaque.

The WISE Advisor Award is open to career advisors, teachers, ambassadors, mentors and educators who have motivated and enthused girls and young women to pursue STEM related subjects. The winner will receive an engraved plaque.

Deadline for nominations is 5pm Friday 16 September 2011.



Ri E&E grants scheme

Would you like to organise enrichment and enhancement activities to raise the profile and enjoyment of mathematics in your school? Deadline Friday, 16 September

The Ri E&E grants scheme, funded by The Clothworkers’ Foundation, will make 60 grants of up to £500 available to primary and secondary teachers of mathematics to choose activities from the STEM Directories in the 2011 calendar year. Details on how to apply*, grant entitlements and expectations, are available by emailing

* Consultancy and support on the choice of activities during the application process, and on fostering related good practice.

RSC South East Wales Local Section small grants to support chemistry related extra-curricular activities in schools

RSC logoSchools should be located within the area covered by the RSC South East Wales Local Section. A map is available online. The maximum award is £200 per grant.Successful applicants will be notified at the start of the next calendar month following receipt of the application. Payment will be made upon submission of a report of 100 words with a photograph and itemised list of expenditure signed by the bursar or head teacher within 30 days of completion of the activity.

Assessment criteria:

Promotion of the chemical sciences – will the activity enthuse pupils about chemistry, illustrate the benefits of chemistry to society and highlight career opportunities in the chemical sciences?

  • Safety – can the activity be conducted safely?
  • Feasibility – is the activity likely to succeed in its objectives?
  • Value – how many pupils will benefit from the activity?
  • Sustainability – will the activity be a one-off or will a resource be created that can be reused?

Funds should be used to support activities that would not otherwise take place – i.e. lie outside core teaching that should be taking place anyway.Enquiries should be made to Dr James Redman, Cardiff University, School of Chemistry, CF10 3AT. Tel 029 20 876273. Email:


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