Teachers: Welcome back - we are with you By Maria Rossini, Head of Education at the British Science Association -------------- Most children in the UK have finally returned to school, and there are some glimpses of ‘normality’ returning to their lives, albeit with a few remaining challenges to overcome. So, we wanted to take this opportunity to reach out directly to teachers and parents to say a huge thank you, and that we, at the British Science Association, have your back. Thank you for adapting to this uncertain time while doing your best to teach, educate and inspire our next generation. Thank you for all of the extra work you have done to create socially distanced plans and activities both during and beyond the lockdown period. Thank you for doing the incredible job you’re doing. We appreciate your efforts. We appreciate you. We also wanted to let you know that, as the first weeks of school come to an end throughout the UK and the dust begins to settle, we are here to help you in any way that we can. We have a number of ways that we can support you in rebuilding your classrooms, lessons and activities over the next term. Check out these handy resources We know planning lessons and activities for your classrooms are difficult at the moment, so why not use some of our CREST activities and project plans to help take the pressure off? We’ve even curated a new collection of activities and project ideas on our resource library, which are designed to work well with little or no equipment, so planning for a socially distanced STEM project doesn’t need to be a challenge! Not only that, but we recently launched a new brand new set of CREST Discovery, Bronze and Silver resources, supported by the Royal Society, all on the topic of machine learning and artificial intelligence. We think your students will love the challenge of using machine learning principles to solve some of the big issues we’re facing today. Your students might have their own ideas about what projects they would like to complete as part of a CREST Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. They can learn about how to form questions as part of their project here. We can’t think of a better way to kick off the new school year than starting a STEM project with your students. Project-based learning offers a chance for your students to develop a whole range of skills, including communication, reflection and team work, but it also gives them a sense of achievement as they progress through their investigation. We think it will be a great way to help get your students back up to speed after a long break away from the classroom. Apply for funding to help promote science in your school This year’s round of Kick Start Grants will be opening for applications next week, offering grants of up to £700 for schools to take part in British Science Week in March 2021. The Kick Start Grant scheme is for eligible state-funded schools to put on events for students, parents and the wider community, including other schools in the area. There are a number of projects you can run, with previous successful applicants coordinating activities such as a community gardens and science fairs. Or you might consider applying for our CREST Underrepresented Audiences Grant, which are aimed at helping schools run the CREST Awards at some point during this school year. Grants of up to £600 are now available to support and enable schools and organisations to run CREST Awards with young people underrepresented in STEM. The Critters Are Coming Our brand new British Science Week 2021 taster packs will be landing online later this term, and we have made sure to bring back your favourite critters across the Early Years, Primary and Secondary packs! This year they will be showcasing a wide variety of activities surrounding our 2021 theme, ‘Innovation for the future’. Why not get started and think about ways your classroom can innovate to solve problems facing our planet, or learn about famous innovators who have created solutions in our day to day lives? You can get a bit of a sneak peek at British Science Week 2021 with this handy guide. We cannot wait to release the activity packs to you so that you and your classrooms can unleash their creative and innovative minds during British Science Week next year! CREST webinars Over the last few months, we have been developing a series of webinars to help teachers and parents understand the CREST Awards, and how they can help develop the skills and knowledge of the young people who take part. We have our next webinar coming up on Tuesday 22 September at 16.00, when we will be speaking to a teacher and CREST assessor about using the activities in the classroom in these new and uncertain times. You can find all of our webinars, including our latest one, in our webinar centre. If there is any way we can support you with innovative and interesting activities to use in a classroom, please don’t be afraid to reach out. We are here to support you and help you as you return to some form of normality everyone across the STEM sector and beyond.