This week, AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin launched their Science LIVE Toolkit, a project that demonstrates how research institutes can organise virtual tours of their centres for primary school children. During 2015, AMBER together with project partners, the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC), the Microscopy Society of Ireland (MSI) and the Royal Microscopical Society (RMS) facilitated Skype visits to AMBER’s Advanced Microscopy Laboratory for seven 5th and 6th classes / over 160 students throughout Ireland.
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. We are delighted that Science LIVE has received continued funding from Science Foundation Ireland for 2016, allowing us to expand and reach more students.”
Dr. Susan Anderson, Associate Professor in Pathology, University of Nottingham and Honorary Sec-retary 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. The RMS is dedicated to promoting science education through microscopy and this has been a wonderful opportunity to expand the Microscope Activity Kit Scheme outside of the UK. We look forward to expanding our collaboration with the project partners in 2016.”
“Science LIVE!” was funded through the Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme in 2015 and will continue to be funded in 2016. Schools interested in taking part should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details can also be found here at the Science LIVE! website. The project runs from April to December 2016, schools interested in taking part should get in contact before end of July 2016.