Recently, pupils were given the exciting opportunity to undergo a STEM project involving nanoscience (the study of objects, phenomena, etc. on the nanometre scale). The project is based on making science accessible with the use of blog posts and videos.
I spoke to Michelle Wong, one of the students participating in "Nanoscience: The Big, The Bad, The Tiny", in order to discover the ins and outs of the project.
As part of the launch trip, the pupils visited Bristol University and were given a campus tour as well as a run through on what the programme involved. They attended small group tutorials based on the topic "Nanoscience: The big, the bad, the tiny" which was tutored by Josh Davies, a PhD student at Cardiff University.
"We were given assignments to do in between the tutorials which we upload on the VLE" Michelle told me. The VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) is a online education platform. "All our assignments are meant to be written as blogs, with the goal of making them as engaging and entertaining as possible."
At the end of the project, the pupils are expected to submit a unique final project in form of a written report or Youtube video. Once the project is submitted, the students are invited to attend a Graduation Event to signal the end of their work. "We apparently get to throw our graduation hats in the air" Michelle effused. "I thought that seemed pretty cool."
This worthwhile opportunity has allowed students to develop their skills positively. So far, they have learnt various interesting topics such as how nanoparticles differ from their bulk counterparts, catalysis and what make's a good catalyst and the practical applications of nanoparticles (such as in medicine).
"...a really great opportunity to experience what university teaching is like."
"All of the topics have been really interesting, and it's a really great opportunity to experience what university teaching is like - as well as explore my subjects in more depth."
Michelle also explained how the project has allowed her to demonstrate her independent learning. "We do quite a reasonable amount of research ourselves. We were taught the importance of referencing sources. I wouldn't want to be caught for plagiarism just for not referencing BBC Bitesize properly. Our tutor is pretty chill, so the project isn't as intense as you would expect."
The project is also very impressive to add on to students' CVs and personal statements and will benefit them in employment or further progression in their education. From what I have heard, the pupils seem to be enjoying participating in the project immensely and are very excited for the grand Graduation Event, including Michelle, "I also got free Domino's since I happened to be in college for the tutorial while the open evenings were going on - so it was well worth it!"
The project is set to be completed at around late November/early December.