Faculty of Environment

Celebrating our Faculty Outreach Stars

On Wednesday 15th January, we held a Faculty Outreach event to showcase all our staff and students who were busy this year, helping to promote the Faculty and wider university. It was a chance to learn about their stories and to chat to them face-to-face about their outreach activities in schools engagement.

If you missed the event, here are a few of our stars…

Tom Fletcher (PhD) | Dinosaurs and Volcanoes Primary Schools

"Every child knows about dinosaurs, so they're a great subject to base scientific activities around. I use group exercises, class discussion and real fossils to bring the subject to life, and the response from both pupils and teachers has always been fantastic. Outreach is a great way to give something back."

Daniela Meier, Tomasz Stawski, Cindy Lockwood (PG) | Science Day | Primary Schools

“Our aim was to show the pupils with a few simple experiments and some hands on experience that science is more than wearing lab coats and safety specs, but that it is actually great fun. We also wanted them to see that science is done by ‘normal’ people and not just nerdy looking old men with fuzzy hair (sorry Prof. Einstein).”

Dr Fiona Gill | Rocks and Fossils | Primary Teachers

“I was shocked to learn that only 3% of primary school teachers have a science background, and realised that the number with specialist knowledge in Earth Science must be even smaller. I designed and delivered a short training session on Earth Science for key stage one and two teachers. The sessions were practical and interactive.”

Dr Katy Roucoux | Geography | Secondary teachers

“I have co-run an annual workshop for secondary school teachers over the last six years. It’s an opportunity for teachers to update their knowledge, rekindle their enthusiasm for geography, and pick up ideas for exciting new approaches they can use, and for topics they can cover in the class room.  If every teacher spreads the word to their students, that's a lot of people hearing about our research!”

Hannah Mantle (PG) | Climate Change | Secondary Schools

“Over the last two years I have delivered roadshow workshops to pupils aged 11-16 across West and South Yorkshire as part of National Science Week. These sessions have been centred on

the theme of climate change. Sessions always include interactive elements with the students, encouraging them to debate and discuss topics. Feedback has been positive, with follow-up sessions requested! I enjoy the outreach aspect of my role at the university immensely and believe it is an important part of research that should be fostered and promoted wherever possible.”

Jamie Boyd (PG) | Discovering Dinosaurs Primary Schools

“I have been involved with Discovering Dinosaurs (activity) for the last few years… where the children are shown our collection of fossils and get to draw their first scientific sketch. They also get to act out scenarios to help them understand how Palaeontologists interpret what it might have been like when dinosaurs roamed the earth…The look of awe on the children’s faces when you tell them that they are holding a dinosaur claw that is over 65 million years old is the reward in its self.”

Sarah Bradbury (PG) | Bees and Biodiversity | Primary Schools

“I arranged four outreach days in spring 2013 (teaching children the importance of bees and biodiversity). The children seemed to really enjoy themselves and I really enjoyed myself too! I received an email from a teacher at one of the schools which said The children loved the activities and learnt so much! You have inspired us to plant some bee-friendly flowers in our school garden.”

Helen Durham, Rachel Oldroyd, Amy Burgess | Discovering Geography | Secondary Schools

“With the help of Amy (not pictured) we delivered an outreach session. This involved the mapping of real-life earthquake events and tectonic plates with 2 groups of Year 9 students (who) were given an introductory presentation about the use of Geographical Information Systems in real world applications, from predicting crime in London to penguin mapping in Antarctica. The students thoroughly enjoyed working with real time data and were amazed at the number of significant earthquake events in the past 7 days, many mentioning this as the highlight of their day.”

Dr Jen Dyer | Biofuels/ Sustainable Farming | Sixth Form

“I held an interactive session focusing on the sustainability issues of biofuels as part of the ‘Reach for Excellence’ Summer School. I used my own research, with photos and anecdotes, to engage the students and then asked them to apply the concepts I had introduced to case studies in order to encourage them to explore the ideas further… feedback from students was positive, with many saying they would consider studying Earth and Environment degrees in the future.”

Prof Jon Lovett | MOOC: Fairness and Nature – When World’s Collide

“We ran a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in October. The MOOC attracted school students who gave us positive feedback. In fact, pretty much 100% positive feedback.”