Class at Bayside Senior National School, Sutton, celebrating the launch of Science LIVE

Class at Bayside Senior National School, Sutton, Dublin, celebrating the launch of Science LIVE

A novel project enables genuine dialogue between primary school students and university researchers using virtual tours of research environments.

A new project, Science LIVE Toolkit, was launched in March 2016 by AMBER, a materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin and funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

This novel project demonstrates how research institutes can organise virtual tours of their centres for primary school children.

During 2015, AMBER facilitated Skype visits to AMBER’s Advanced Microscopy Laboratory for over 160 students from across Ireland (seven 5th and 6th classes). To achieve this, AMBER collaborated with project partners Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC), Microscopy Society of Ireland (MSI) and Royal Microscopical Society (RMS).

During the virtual tours, participating primary students were given an insight into a nanoscience research environment by chatting to PhD researchers about the work that they do, and learning about electron microscopes as well as viewing them in operation.

Prior to their virtual visit, their teachers introduced them to the basics of nano and materials science using AMBER’s NanoWOW primary resource and the RMS Microscope Activity Kits, which contain light microscopes and pre-packed samples, allowing the classes the opportunity to learn more about microscopy.

Mary Colclough, AMBER Communications, Outreach and Public Affairs Manager, said:

“This unique project provided genuine dialogue between primary students and university researchers. It is making science real to school students, giving them access to Ireland’s leading research facilities and scientists, inspiring them to think positively about science careers and the importance of STEM in society.”

Dr. Susan Anderson, Associate Professor in Pathology, University of Nottingham and Honorary Secretary for Education and Outreach at the Royal Microscopical Society (RMS), said:

“We are delighted to have collaborated with AMBER on this project to introduce the RMS Microscope Activity Kits to Ireland… this has been a wonderful opportunity to expand the Microscope Activity Kit Scheme outside of the UK…”

The “Science LIVE” project runs from April to December 2016. Schools interested in taking part should contact [email protected] before end of June 2016.