Brian Cox School Experiment films teach students practical skills for jobs of the future

29 January 2024

The Royal Society has teamed up with Professor Brian Cox to launch the next instalment of Brian Cox School Experiment videos. As well as helping teachers bring exciting, creative, practical science to the classroom, the latest films will equip students with skills and information on emerging jobs and industries being reshaped by scientific advances.

Aimed at students aged 11-14, the resources span topics at the forefront of global scientific research, including genome editing for sustainable crop production; ocean acidification, carbon capture and the loss of biodiversity; and machine learning and its use in cybersecurity.

Each topic is split into three videos. In the first, Professor Brian Cox and a teacher will set up and teach students with a simple classroom experiment. Then the videos will explore how the science is developing and being used in academia and industry, with visits to:

  • Unitary AI to show how scientists are using machine learning to detect and remove online hate speech without relying on human moderators.
  • C-Capture in Leeds, where next generation technology is being developed to capture CO2 from industrial sources such as cement, steel, and glass-making factories and power stations for future storage or reuse.
  • The James Hutton Institute in Dundee, where new diagnostic tools are helping potato breeders to identify plants with genes for naturally occurring disease resistance.

Interviews with scientists working on these pioneering technologies give students an insight into the career opportunities that may be available to them in the future.

Professor Brian Cox, Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science, said: “The next generation of scientists will lead the way on finding new ways to tackle climate change, improve food security, and shape the evolution of artificial intelligence as it transforms society. I hope these videos will be an invaluable tool for teachers, embedding experimental inquiry into lessons in the context of some of the most critical issues of our time and introducing students to some of the groundbreaking technologies being designed to solve them.”

Nathan Griggs, who teaches at Bourne Community College and filmed for the ocean acidification topic, said: “Creative, experimental approaches are key to keeping students interested and engaged in science. These simple but captivating experiments will help both experienced and less confident teachers introduce students to practical science with real-world relevance. Filming alongside one of the country’s most eminent modern scientists was a dream come true, and the students were thrilled to be taught a lesson by Professor Brian Cox.”

Downloadable resources for the three topics are available on the Royal Society’s website and YouTube channel, the STEM learning UK resource library, and the Times Education Supplement (TES) resources pages.

A further three topics will be available later in the year and will introduce students to green energy technologies; robotics, and plastics.