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How science fairs foster inquiry skills and enrich learning

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Jürgen Paul and Jorge Groß

Extract: Science competitions have continuing relevance for schools. The aim of the German youth science fair Jugend forscht is to encourage scientific thinking and inquiry methods such as experimentation. Three concrete examples of participating projects are given. We summarise the current state of research related to science competitions, including our nationwide study that analysed learning processes initiated by a youth science fair. In this context, we point out some of the core elements relevant to science education. Finally, we provide a list of suggestions to make best use of learning opportunities and for implementation at school.

Reviews

Issue: December 2017 367

Extract: 123 How to Code a Human: Exploring the DNA Blueprints that Make Us Who We Are 124 30-Second Genetics 124 Solitary Bees 125 30-Second Physics 126 The Periodic Table: A Visual Guide to the Elements 127 The Weathermen: Their Story 127 Teaching and Learning about Climate Change 128 Big Data, Small Devices: Investigating the Natural World Using Real-Time Data 129 Stargazers’ Almanac 2018: A Monthly Guide to the Stars and Planets 129 Amazing Science Jobs 130 The Super-Intelligent High-Tech Robot Book Science App reviews

Science Websearch

Issue: December 2017 367

SSR special issues and advertisers index

Issue: December 2017 367

Contents and Editorial

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Editor: Geoff Auty

Investigating possibilities of energy supply from a tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Denise Thomas and students of Gower College, Swansea

Extract: Derivation of an energy source from the movement of the tides is the reason for considering a lagoon to trap seawater in Swansea Bay. But while the professional engineers are investigating the possibility of that development, this student group has undertaken a study of the viability of developing biological sources of energy in this restricted environment. Having concluded that farming microalgae would not be economic, they focused on macroalgae, selecting Saccharina latissima as the best species to use. They investigated methods of farming and harvesting it and went on to research anaerobic digestion and build their own prototype anaerobic digester. Finally, they investigated potential markets for their fuel.

Taking STEM through the looking glass

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Colin Inglis

Extract: There is much more to science education than the requirements demanded by the examination curriculum. This article illustrates one example of an in-depth investigation, kickstarted with a Royal Society Partnership Grant, into essential oils as antimicrobial agents. The project and subsequent extensions were selected to be presented at various science events and for several awards. Building on this success, the author has obtained a Wellcome Trust grant to set up a regional hub in North Yorkshire to encourage schools carrying out biomedical science research projects, with ten schools participating in its first year.

Smells like teen shampoo

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Adrian Allan

Extract: Reform of the Scottish science curriculum for Higher Chemistry gave students the opportunity to experiment with essential oils and fragrances. With the support of a Royal Society Partnership Grant, the students learnt how to isolate and identify compounds in essential oils using microscale steam distillation and thin-layer chromatography. The isolated oils were used to produce shampoos and then test the stability of foam (lather) obtained from their samples. Finally, they did a poster presentation to their industrial partner and fellow students.

Bulletproof ice: how to teach materials science using Pykrete

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Caroline Riggs

Extract: Students make and test a seemingly impossible material made from ice and sawdust that had been developed for possible emergency use during the Second World War. It was open to the students to be creative with their methods of testing the viability of such a material. The thought of making a battleship from ice that would gradually melt seems ridiculous, but if used in the freezing temperatures of the North Atlantic Ocean the possibility is there because the presence of salt in the water lowers the melting point.

Girls inspiring girls doing A-level physics

Issue: October 2017 366

Author: Theresa Conlon

Extract: Through the development of clubs such as an engineering society and a space society, managed by sixth-form students themselves and structured to hand over responsibility to the next year-group an appropriate time before the A-level exams, girls throughout this school are encouraged to take an interest in physics and physics-related topics. One secret of success is to avoid high-level or high-intensity physics, but instead make sure that the meetings remain quite informal and can be seen as social occasions. Hence the students can ‘live and think’ physics without feeling under pressure; in this way, curiosity is developed that enables students to think further – and eventually take their turns as leaders of the groups.

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