By Luciane V. Mello
One way we can contribute to young people’s enthusiasm for science is by working with their teachers, e.g. through continuing professional development schemes like STEM Insight.
Last February in partnership with the Biochemical Society we received Maria Saeed, from Blackburn College, for her Insight into University experience placement.
The week was a great experience and I am now putting into practice what I have learnt. For example, I am working on developing a numeracy skills pack for all learners, and I am hoping to do several practical sessions in the same format I saw at the university that worked very well… I believe the scheme has been invaluable in developing my own teaching practice and the links between the college and Liverpool University in the long-term.
I’m delighted to report that Maria Saeed was nominated for the ENTHUSE Further Education Award, an event organised by STEM Learning and the Wellcome Trust to recognise the impact that teachers and technicians have on their pupils, colleagues, schools, colleges and peers. I would like to thank all members of staff who helped me to offer Maria a wonderful experience during her week in the Department of Biochemistry (IIB) and in the School of Life Sciences: Amal Abdulkadir, Fabia Allen, Peter Alston, Andy Bates, Rob Beynon, Elaine Connor, Caroline Dart, Claire Eyers, Pat Eyers, Karen Fitzsimons, Blair Grubb, Phil Harrison, Keith Hatton, Joscelyn Sarsby, Jerry Turnbull, Susanne Voelkel and Mark Wilkinson.
A successful team work! We are now prepared for other teacher visits so if you are interested, get in touch.
The Victoria Gallery and Museum
(VGM) started in 2008 as the University’s contribution to Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations. As well as paintings, sculpture and ceramics it displays objects of historic, cultural or aesthetic value from the University’s science and engineering departments. It receives around 4000 visitors per month.
A few years ago, my search for insects for a school visit led me to the Heritage Curator, Leonie Sedman
. I visited the VGM stores with her and saw shelves of objects once used in the University’s zoology teaching and research.
From this chance meeting came a plan to bring some of them back to public display through collaboration between the VGM and B. Sc. Life Sciences degree students. Four students have worked on their final year projects using this material with Leonie, Lu Vieira de Mello
The team: Luciane V Mello, Nicole Coombs, Sophie Banks, Leonie Sedman, Meriel G jones
The result is thought-provoking exhibits at the VGM about egg collecting, critically endangered pangolins and rhinos – and a witchitty grub embedded in resin for visitors to handle.
From the first two student projects with VGM; Witchetty grubs in acrylic. The students were Lewis Wade and Harriet Passey, both graduated B Sc Biological Sciences in summer 2014.
The museum materials are at the centre, but other objects like a 3D print of a rhino horn (thanks to the School of Architecture/Creative Workshop
), molecular image of keratin and video of live pangolins
put them into a twenty-first century context.
What do the students get from this? Project results that communicate science to visitors, an insider’s introduction to museum curation and the challenge of bringing objects, research and imagination together.