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Location: North-EastYear: 2008Grant: £2000
Teacher: Mr Andrew MannsScientist: Mrs Anne Willis, School of Applied Sciences, Northumbria University
Why is it important to shield yourself from UV rays, and which sunglasses and suncream give the best protection? Pupils from The Thomas Hepburn Community School teamed up with the University of Northumbria to find out.
UV analysis of sunscreens.
To begin with, all the pupils were given an introductory lesson setting the scene for the project. They were then able to spend some time researching the effect of sunscreens using the internet. Mrs Susan Jenkins, who is a Macmillan Cancer Research Information Support Officer for Gateshead, came into school to talk to the pupils about the dangers of UV radiation and skin cancer.
Following on from their internet research, groups of pupils began to plan and design their own experiments. Mrs Anne Willis from the University of Northumbria helped with the design of the experiments, together with the school’s science teachers, Mr Manns. During the experiment all groups managed to collate some reliable and valid data and draw meaningful conclusions. Towards the end of their investigations Dr Kay Padget, a research scientist from the University of Northumbria, came in to school to talk to the pupils about the work she does and the dangers of skin cancer, and she was quizzed by the pupils on a range of topics.
On 10th July 2009, some of the pupils who took part in the project visited the University of Northumbria to carry out further research and laboratory work using equipment that is not available to use in school. This was a fantastic opportunity for pupils to meet and work with scientists and researchers first hand. Pupils presented their projects to different groups of pupils and adults in school.
Approximately 15 of the pupils who took part in the project were awarded a Bronze CREST Award.
Partnership Grants and the CREST Awards scheme
Working towards a CREST Bronze Award provided extra motivation for the more able and keener students who had taken part in the Partnership Grants project. It allowed pupils to work more independently and creatively within the broad guidelines I had set up. We thought that the project would grab pupils’ attention because it directly linked to their everyday lives. Some pupils we knew were frequent visitors to sunbeds and were not very well informed about the importance of suncreams/screens. At the time of doing the project our pupils had not had much opportunity to present the work they had done. Some groups who had produced good quality projects were asked to present their projects to their peer group in an assembly and to university staff who had contributed to the project as a whole. One group presented their project to a junior school and another group presented their work to the Senior Leadership Team and some school governors.
A Partnership Grants project is a good basis for gaining a CREST Award because teachers are able to plan from a blank canvas. We are fortunate in having a strong committed team that are dedicated to finding ways to broaden the science experience of our pupils. We have firm links with a number of local universities. This enables us to plan projects to engage our Gifted & Talented learners and in particular those who are considering studying a STEM related subject at university. The Partnership Grant also enables us to plan projects that require equipment that we are lacking and may not necessarily be able to afford. This has a knock-on effect for improving the science experience of the wider pupil population at school.
In our new build we are having a shared learning area built. This shared learning area is for both the maths and science departments and offers us unique opportunity to really develop the STEM agenda. The benefits of the Partnership Grants and CREST Award schemes for the school is that they help us
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