Ever wanted to know what we get up to on the RSC graduate scheme? In this blog, members of our graduate scheme describe some of the interesting (or unusual!) activities and projects they are working on, as well as what it is like to work in a variety of departments across the RSC.

Find out more about the RSC Graduate Scheme here

Katrina - Education

Reasons primary school is awesome: aliens, bubble bath and Vikings.

Having finished my rotation with Chemistry World, I moved on to work in the RSC’s Schools and Colleges department (which actually recently converted back to its old name: Education). Here, I work on a number of smaller projects for higher education, secondary school students, teachers and – my main focus – primary school science education.

The RSC is currently expanding its primary school strategy; we want to find out what primary school teachers need to deliver better science lessons and what we can do to support them. Working with an external primary science education provider and a videographer, we’re recording a series of videos on good primary pedagogy. It’s been fun going out into primary schools to oversee the filming; I saw a bunch of 6-year-olds trying out different methods to melt an ice ball as quickly as possible to retrieve a little plastic alien trapped inside and a group of year three students making bubble bath (and both times I really had to hold back to not join them). Seeing these examples of great science teaching really showed me how important engaging children with science at this age since will pave the way for their scientific understanding and continued interest in science. We will record two more videos (one in a school in Colchester, the other up in Sunderland) before the summer break, so I’m looking forward for more exciting science lessons. The videos should be up on our Youtube channel sometime in August or September, so stay tuned for that!

I’m also working with external contractors on creating a set of ten so-called science ideas webs – primary school teaching resources that support cross-curricular teaching, meaning teaching one topic (for example the Vikings) across all subjects. Since teachers – understandably – often struggle to find a connection between these usually history- or geography-focused topics and science, the resources collate some key concepts and ideas to make some straightforward cross-curricular connections. A first science ideas web has already been made and I’m now looking forward to getting it out to teachers to collect their feedback through user testing. I’m going into schools to meet groups of teachers and also taking the science ideas web to a few primary school conferences. Those taking part in user testing will of course be paid – in RSC glow-in-the-dark pens and lanyards!  Though I’m hoping for generally positive feedback, which means teachers like the resource and find it helpful, I expect the user testing to find all the little bits and pieces that are not quite there yet – and then making them as close to perfect as possible to help teachers bring some Vikings into the science classroom.
Katrina is a Graduate currently working in the Education Team on the Royal Society of Chemistry's Graduate Scheme. To see if we are currently recruiting for the RSC Graduate Scheme click here.
Posted by Katrina Kramer on May 27, 2015 10:34 AM Europe/London

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