Tuesday, 3 November 2009

IOP Workshop in Sacred Heart Grammar School Newry

This workshop was presented by Sue McGrath – the Northern Ireland Co-ordinator for the Institute of Physics and was hosted by the science department of the Sacred Heart Grammar School on October 21st 09.

Sue describes the workshop as an opportunity to: “Build your very own compressed air rocket launcher (projectable launcher). Ideal for science investigators and a ‘wow’ with children of all ages, including adult age children” The launcher was made from plumbing parts and the rockets, made from paper and tape, are easy and cheap to make in class.

Amongst other things you can change the weighting, position of fins, number of fins, shape and size on nosecone on the projectile and the pressure and angle of firing can be changed on the launcher. Participants get to take the complete launcher back to school. Great for lessons, science clubs and open days. suemcgrath@btinternet.com

See more pictures:


Attending the National Science Learning Centre (NSLC)

Time spent on a residential course at the National Science Learning Centre in York is a career defining experience for many of the teachers, teaching assistants, technicians and lecturers who visit the Centre. However, NSLC understand that it can still be difficult for schools and colleges to find the budget to allow you extended periods of time away from your pupils. This year they’re delighted to announce the launch of ENTHUSE Awards, to be made available by the trustees of the ENTHUSE Charitable Trust.

The ENTHUSE Award is designed to cover your course fees, supply cover for the duration of the course, travel, accommodation in our high quality residential facilities and all your meals and refreshments during your stay. It will also include a small amount of money to help you implement your ideas once you arrive back in the classroom.

For further information please feel free to contact any member of the SELB Science Team.

The NSLC website https://www.sciencelearningcentres.org.uk/
gives the following advice:

Who can apply?
Any teacher, teaching assistant, technician or lecturer from a school or college in the UK can apply for an ENTHUSE Award. How do I apply? Shortly after you have applied for a place on a course you will be sent an e-mail containing a link to an electronic Impact identifier and ENTHUSE Award Application Form. Simply complete these forms before the start of the course to apply for your Award. You MUST apply for a place on a course before you submit your application for an ENTHUSE Award. To apply for the course of your choice visit our courses and events page.

How much is it worth?
The value of the ENTHUSE Award varies per course and is given in the fees section on the course pages. How much do the courses cost? Costs vary per course and are detailed in the fees section on each individual course page. When will my school or college get the money? These Awards will be paid direct to your school or college following satisfaction of the terms and conditions of the ENTHUSE Award, which include completion of the course and submission of an action plan. The action plan will need to have been discussed with your line manager and show how you will ensure that the Continuing Professional Development has an impact in your school or college. Your line manager may be contacted by your course leader to discuss your action plan. See terms & conditions below.

What can my school or college use the money for?
Your ENTHUSE Award can be used to cover course fees, supply cover, travel, accommodation or to fund your ideas for improving the teaching of science. How many ENTHUSE Awards can teachers at my school or college apply for? Teachers from the same school or college are eligible to apply for a maximum of two ENTHUSE Awards on any one course. If your school or college wishes to send more than two members of staff on one course then the additional applicants will be held on a waiting list. If the course has not reached capacity one month prior to the course start date the additional applicants will also be eligible to apply for an ENTHUSE Award. However, teachers from the same school or college can apply for as many places as they wish on separate courses.

When do I find out if I've been awarded one? We will process your ENTHUSE Award within ten working days of your application. Who can I contact with any queries or problems I'm having with the ENTHUSE Award process? If you need help completing your form one of our team will be happy to assist - simply call 01904 328 300.

Terms & Conditions: There are certain criteria in place that must be fulfilled in order for your school or college to receive the full payment of the ENTHUSE Award:
You must be employed by a school.
The National Science Learning Centre must have received full payment of fees.
You must complete and submit an action plan to the course leader at the end of the course.
The National Science Learning Centre will evaluate the impact of courses in schools and colleges including an audit of how the ENTHUSE Award has been used. You and your school or college must be willing to participate in this exercise.
If so requested, your school or college will provide confirmation of the amount of out of pocket expenses incurred in connection with your attendance on the course (including course fees, subsistence, travel and supply cover).
You must complete the full course.
Should participants not be able to complete attendance of the full course, suitable reasons on compassionate grounds such as a family bereavement or serious illness will be taken into account by the trustees of the ENTHUSE Charitable Trust in determining whether full payment of the ENTHUSE Award is approved.
Partial payment may be approved by the Centre when there has been incomplete attendance of course due to mild illness, family circumstances or pregnancy.
In the case of family bereavement, illness, family circumstances or pregnancy, schools are encouraged to send a substitute person who has, where possible, been briefed by the original participant. If no substitute is available, schools will be able to transfer their booking and ENTHUSE Award on to the same course in the following year or to another course during the same year. If the school does not transfer the booking to another date on, or before the date of the course then the ENTHUSE Award will not be given and the school or college will be liable for the full fees, if it has not already paid them.

ENTHUSE Awards will not be paid when:
The participant fails to attend the second residential period or complete the course without providing a suitable reason*
The participant has absented themselves from sessions without providing a suitable reason*
The participant has left the course early without offering a suitable reason*
The school does not release the participant because of events, such as an Ofsted inspection, that are part of normal school business.
*A suitable reason would include compassionate grounds such as a family bereavement or serious illness. If any participant fails to meet the criteria to receive their full ENTHUSE Award the school will be notified immediately.

Who is providing the money to the ENTHUSE Charitable Trust to enable it to fund the ENTHUSE Awards? The money is being provided by the Department for Children,Schools and Families, AstraZeneca, AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust, BAE Systems, BP, General Electric Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Rolls‑Royce, Vodafone and Vodafone Group Foundation.


Monday, 5 October 2009

CLEAPSS Course in St Patrick's High School Keady

SELB science technicians attended a Practical Skills & Techniques in Chemistry course on Friday 2nd October 2009. Mr Bob Worley from CLEAPSS was the course presenter and the event was hosted by St Patrick's High School.

See photos below:


Thursday, 3 September 2009

Irish Astronomical Association / IYA 2009 Competition

As part of International Year of Astronomy 2009, the Irish Astronomical Association is pleased to announce a major public competition, with substantial prizes, for all ages, and in various categories, so that anyone can enter.

Entries can be made in any one, or more than one, of the following subject areas and categories
Subject areas: Anything to do with astronomy, cosmology, manned spaceflight, rocketry, unmanned space research, ‘aliens’ or possible life elsewhere in the universe, light pollution, telescopes and other astronomical instruments and observatories, possible future human travel to the stars, astronomy/space and the environment, astronomy/space and our culture and heritage etc.

Categories: Entries can be in the form of any of the following:
1. Essay/article or poem on astronomy or space, or on related themes such as light pollution, extra-terrestrial life, astronomy/space and the environment, astronomy/space & our culture or heritage etc. Articles or essays should be between 500 and 1000 words in length for Juniors; between 750 and 1500 words for Intermediates, and between 1000 and 2000 words for Seniors. Poems should be no more than 200 words in length for all age groups.
2. Observation of some astronomical object or event;
3. Drawing or painting or collage of some astronomical or space-related object or event;
4. Photograph of some astronomical or space-related object or event;
5. Model (e.g. model spaceship, model alien);

Age Groups: Entries will be divided into several age groups, to encourage children of various ages, as well as adults.
Junior: Up to and including 9 years of age, as on 30 November 2009.
Intermediate: 10 years up to and including 15 years of age, as on 30 November 2009.
Senior: 16 years of age and above.
Schools are encouraged to promote this competition, and to encourage their pupils to enter, but it is a condition of entry that the work is all that of the entrant, and not partly that of a teacher or parent or other older person!
Junior and Intermediate entrants MUST supply a photocopy of some document giving proof of age along with their entry.

Prizes: there will be prizes for First, Second and Third best entries in each of the 5 categories above, in each of the three age groups, totalling 45 prizes.
There will also be one overall ‘Grand Prize’ for the best overall entry, out of all those received, in all age groups, and all categories. This will be decided by awarding marks out of 100 for each of the entries, according to the age group. So an exceptional entry by a junior or intermediate might score higher than any of the senior entries, and so would win the overall Grand Prize. This prize will be a proper astronomical telescope, and can be suited to the age of the winner.
Other prizes will include binoculars, books, CDs, DVDs, posters, etc.

Deadline: All entries MUST be received by noon on 30 November 2009, to allow time for judging and award of the prizes before the end of 2009.

Judging: Judging will be carried out by a panel comprising the President and at least two other members of Council of the IAA. The decision of the judges will be final. No members of their immediate families will be permitted to enter, and in the event of an entry from some other person where the impartiality of the judge might be in doubt, another judge from the IAA Council may be substituted.

Eligibility: this competition is open to anyone resident in the island of Ireland during the period 1 January to 30 November 2009.

Publicity: It is a condition of entry that all participants must be willing to have their names and home towns published on the IAA website, and the IYA2009 website, if they should win any of the prizes. And further, that the overall winner will agree to a photograph, accompanied by name and home town details, which will appear on the websites above, and also possibly in the local or regional press, and/or the broadcast media.

SUBMISSION OF ENTRIES: All entries other than models should be sent to: Terry Moseley, 6 Collinbridge Drive, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, BT36 7SX. CORRECT POSTAGE MUST BE PREPAID! Entrants are advised to obtain proof of postage, and to keep a copy of their entry wherever possible.
DO NOT send by Registered Post, or any form of delivery which requires my signature, as I will rarely be there to sign for them!
Models, i.e. 3-d constructions of any sort, should be sent safely, or hand-delivered to: Armagh Planetarium, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DB, or delivered there during normal opening hours.
All entries must be accompanied by the entrant’s full name, address, age (if under 16), telephone number and email address, if any. The name and address should also be firmly affixed to the actual entries themselves, e.g. any models, drawings or paintings, photographs etc.
Observations: the entrant MUST give the date and time of the observation, and details of the instrument (i.e. telescope or binoculars) and magnification used.
Photographs (including digital): the entrant MUST give the date and time of the photograph, details of the camera, lens or telescope used, exposure, and processing.

Return of Entries: Any entries which are required to be returned must be accompanied by the appropriate return stamped addressed envelope, and any models sent to Armagh Planetarium must be collected from there by the entrant, at a suitable time.

UPDATES: Updates, if any, will be posted on the Irish Astronomical Association Website: http://www.irishastro.org/.


Terry Moseley
6 Collinbridge Drive
Co Antrim
BT36 7SX
Tel: 028 9025 3637 (w)
028 9058 7658 (h)
Mob: 07979 300842
E: terrymosel@aol.com


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

CLEAPSS Chemical Safety for Technicians in Dromore High School

This course took place on May 13th 2009 in Dromore and was presented by Joanna Sacks from CLEAPSS. The aims of the course are to use CLEAPSS information and practical skills to find information on chemicals and their hazards in school use
and to handle chemicals safely for school practical work.

The following topics will normally be covered:
Using CLEAPSS materials
Chemical names for beginners
Chemical hazards and how to work with them
Preparing chemicals for lessons using safety information
Storing chemicals
Waste from lessons and stores
Chemical emergencies.

Demonstrations, paper exercises and practical sessions are included to increase technicians’ confidence. Opportunities to ask questions on matters relating to chemicals in school occur during the day.

Use CLEAPSS information and practical skills to:
- recognise chemical names and the potential hazards of those chemicals
- explain the safe handling, storage and disposal of chemicals
- explain how to deal with chemical emergencies

More photos:


Monday, 24 August 2009

SELB Science Technician News

You can find news here or check our School Documents site on www.selb.org/schooldocuments/index.htm September 25th 2009 Anyone attending the CLEAPSS Practical Skills & Techniques in Chemistry on September 30th will have been informed of the date change to Friday 2nd October. Check regularly for new course details on School Documents.

September 23rd 2009
Look out for CLEAPSS Bulletin No. 136 which will be sent in SELB Schools' Post this week.

August 24th 2009
Don't forget to fill out the ASE Science Technicians' survey (members and non-members) at: https://survey.slcs.ac.uk/nitech The first major survey of science technicians was carried out in 1990 by the Association for Science Education. The results were published in 1992 as "Technicians - an Invaluable Asset". A further survey was carried out in 2000 jointly with The Royal Society and two reports published in 2001.
The purpose of this survey is to collect information on how the 2000 survey has affected the role of the science technician, if at all. ASE then want to use this information to lobby Government in Westminster and Local Assemblies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to go further than recommendations and strive for the creation of a nationally recognised and implemented qualification and career structure for science technicians working in education.
The questionnaire is in two sections: Section A for all technicians is about working conditions. Section B for senior technicians is about the school background. A final report will be prepared and made available at ASE Annual Conference 2010. Summary reports will also be available. The survey takes approximately 30 mins to complete.


Thursday, 23 July 2009

Upcoming Science Events 2009-2010

These will be a number of Science Events taking place this year.

  • September/October CLEAPSS Practical Skills and Techniques in Chemistry in NEELB, SELB and WELB. SELB venue is St Patrick's HS Keady on Friday 2nd October.
  • January 7th - 9th 2010 the ASE Annual Conference University of Nottingham with International Day on Wed 6th "Science Without Frontiers"
  • March 12th - 21st National Science and Engineering Week; the theme will be ‘Earth’.
  • March Primary Science & Technology Challenge heats in SELB area schools
  • May - CCEA practicals Chemistry th (or th); Physics th (or th)
  • June ASE Northern Ireland Biennial Conference Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th
  • June Young Innovators and Primary Science & Technology Challenge final, W5 Belfast
  • July ASE National Technicians’ Conference and Training Day in NSLC York


NI Science Technicians Conference 2009 at QUB

Sixty-three technicians from all over NI attended this conference on 15th June 2009 in the School of Chemistry at Queens University Belfast.
See more photos of this event:


Primary Science and Technology Challenge 2009

SELB Regional Challenge heats were held in early May with sixty-two schools taking part over one week. From this 5 schools with the higest points went forward to the NI final in W5 on June 18th.

The theme was based on space as 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy (IYA).

See more photos:


NI Science Technicians Training in York

Five technicians from each ELB together with their advisory technicians attended an excellent two-day training course at the National Science Learning Centre in York.

The course entitled Technicians as Demonstrators: The Practical Expert in the Classroom was held on June 29th and 30th 2009.

See more photos of this event:


Thursday, 18 June 2009

The ASE Annual Conference

Mrs U. McNulty and Mrs B. McConville from St Paul’s High School Bessbrook, Mrs B. Forde and Mrs G. Doherty from St Colman’s College, Violet Hill, Newry, represented two of the science specialist schools from SELB at the Association for Science Education Annual Conference at the University of Reading in January 2009.

Twenty teachers from schools in Northern Ireland and their science advisers enjoyed access to a vast range of courses, exhibitions, resources, debates and presentations in a wide range of diverse science topics. The conference lived up to its promise to be “informing, invigorating and inspiring” for science education in our schools and all teachers expressed the wish to return next year.


Science Events 2008-2009

These will be a number of Science Events taking place. The year starts off with a CLEAPSS Health & Safety Day for our Heads of Science.

  • Jan 09 CLEAPSS H&S for Heads of Science. SELB venue St Patrick's College Dungannon on 16th.
  • April Irish Science Teachers' Association (ISTA) Conference at the Strand Hotel
  • May CCEA practicals Chemistry 11th (or 15th); Physics 13th (or 14th)
  • May 12, 13 and 14th CLEAPSS Chemical Safety for Technicians in NEELB, SELB and WELB. SELB venue Dromore HS on the 13th.
  • June 10th EasyDatalogging in The Clounagh Centre
  • June 15th QUB Chemistry for NI Science Technicians
  • June 18th Young Innovators, W5 Belfast and Primary Science & Technology Final
  • June 22nd Interim Radiation Protection Supervisor training in Clounagh
  • June 28th - 30th NI Science Technicians course in National Science Learning Centre, York: "Technicians as Demonstrators - The Practical Expert in the Classroom" 30 places.
  • July 3rd ASE National Technicians’ Conference and Training Day, University of Manchester
  • Sept 29th and 30th and Oct 1st Advisers planning CLEAPSS Practical Skills and Techniques in Chemistry in NEELB, SELB and WELB.
Visit http://www.ase.org.uk/ and http://www.cleapss.org.uk for more details.


CLEAPSS for Science Departments

The new CLEAPSS CD ROM arrives in SELB schools just before Christmas each year. The previous edition expires on Jan 31st. From 2009 a separate C2K version will not be posted to you; instead a 2-page instruction sheet has been emailed to your department to enable your C2K Authorised User to put the current information on the system.

For the first time this year, the CD ROM contents have been made available online at www.cleapss.org.uk. Access is restricted to members only for some sections, including all new advice since the latest CD ROM was produced.

The password is available on the CD ROM and has been emailed to your HoD and Science Technician recently.

The new-look Bulletins should also be in your department by now, check out their very useful tips and updates!


2009 International Year of Astronomy

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.

Everyone should realise the impact of astronomy and other fundamental sciences on our daily lives, and understand how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society. IYA2009 activities will take place locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. National Nodes have been formed in each country to prepare activities for 2009. These nodes will establish collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centres and science communicators to prepare activities for 2009. Already now, 135 countries are involved and well over 140 are expected to participate eventually.

To help coordinate this huge global programme and to provide an important resource for the participating countries, the IAU has established a central Secretariat and an IYA2009 website www.astronomy2009.org as the principal IYA2009 resource for public, professionals and media alike.


The International Space Station

The Space Shuttle programme took another step forward on Monday 17 Nov 2008 with the arrival of equipment to double the accomodation for the crew. Space shuttle astronauts delivered tons of custom upgrades to the International Space Station on Monday and prepared for their first spacewalk to restore the outpost to full power.

Working from inside the space station's Destiny laboratory, shuttle Endeavour crew members Don Pettit and Shane Kimbrough used a robotic crane to move an Italian-built cargo canister from the shuttle's payload bay and fly it to a berthing port on the station.

The canister holds two new sleeping compartments, a second toilet, galley equipment and a water regeneration system to recycle urine into drinking water.

The gear is needed to support six crew on the $100 billion station, twice the current crew size.

"By going to a crew of six, we expand opportunities for ourselves and our partners to fly astronauts to do the kinds of experiments for which the space station was built," said NASA administrator Michael Griffin.

It is NASA's fourth and final shuttle mission of the year. Nine more flights are planned before the three-ship fleet is retired in 2010.

NASA and Russia have been building the space station for 10 years. It is scheduled to be finished in 2010, at a cost of more than $100 billion. Europe, Canada and Japan also are project participants. (Editing by Chris Wilson)