Dundee Science Centre has been awarded a contract to enhance science education in secondary schools throughout the North East of Scotland.
As part of its commitment to 60 local authority schools in Dundee, Perth and Kinross, Angus and Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, the Science Centre will help teachers improve the way they teach science subjects and steer pupils towards science-related careers. Dundee is the only Scottish Science Centre to secure one of the four STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) contracts in Scotland.
As part of the four-year contract, Dundee Science Centre will recruit and manage voluntary Ambassadors to provide expertise and support to teachers, thereby enhancing lessons and adding a new dimension to projects, showing how STEM relates to the world of work and the many careers it can potentially open up. With 470 already recruited, from scientists and engineers to gamers and environmentalists, these Ambassadors are then matched up to schools. Ultimately, all schools will have access to free of charge, vetted, trained role models who can support teachers, assist with STEM activities and help promote positive images of STEM to young people.
Louise Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Dundee Science Centre said, “We are delighted to secure the STEMNET contract for North East Scotland which fits with our objectives to deliver to the whole community, as well as the thousands of visitors who flock to Dundee Science Centre each year. It’s essential that we widen the perception of science and its relevance in our schools and that’s where these Ambassadors, who are truly passionate about their cause, play a crucial role. Science is not defined by a lab coat and, indeed, pupils are often intrigued when a STEMNET Ambassador visits their school dressed in jeans and a t-shirt but is, in fact, a computer games expert educated to PhD level.”
As part of their induction, the new Ambassadors undertake a science communication module entitled ‘Create and Inspire’. Led by Dundee Science Centre’s Science Learning Institute, the module helps Ambassadors understand and communicate to varying age groups, and explain their particular field in a fun, informative and relevant way.
Ambassadors can contribute both to regular lessons or participate in extra-curricular activities such as STEM Clubs, Careers Days and visits. STEM Ambassadors open the door to a whole new world for young people, helping them to see STEM subjects and careers with a fresh perspective and engage their interest and imagination in new ways.
The Science Centre will also run the STEM Advisory Service which helps teachers inspire students in science technology, engineering and mathematics by helping to identify and access enhancement and enrichment activities which can benefit the school curriculum, providing Ambassadors, links with local businesses and supporting STEM Clubs.
STEMNET works to ensure that future generations are able to appreciate and understand the role of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and careers in the world around them and that more young people in the UK make a choice to enter careers from, as well as in, STEM.