2 July 2018

As an official CPD provider for the Practical Action development charity the ASP was asked to deliver a workshop for 24 Science PGCE students at the University of Leicester, on the very last day of their course.

ASP Co-ordinator, Jeremy Thomas, explained the many opportunities that teachers can have to extend their pupils' knowledge and skills outside the confines of the curriculum, especially through STEM challenges provided by Practical Action and the CREST Award scheme.

The students were in an end of term mood, as they were now Newly Qualified Teachers and about to embark on their new careers in schools and education. Although they listened politely to the formal presentation, what they really enjoyed was the opportunity to work in teams to design and build a flood proof home and then test it to destruction with buckets of water in the summer heat outside the School of Education.

Two of the structures survived the deluge and all the students went away enthused to try Practical Action activities in their new schools. The day wasn't over for the ASP though, with a live Virtual Visit to CERN in Geneva taking place in the afternoon.

Two young scientists at CERN spent an hour speaking to and answering questions from pupils at four local schools, via the large screen in the Amey Theatre. As well as the physical visitors, from Oxford High School; the European School and Fitzharrys, Abingdon School pupils were joined by the Physics Society at Sir William Borlase Grammar School, Marlow via a parallel link.

After a short introduction to CERN and the ATLAS experiment, the scientists fielded many questions from the pupils in Abingdon and at Borlase's. The questions ranged across everything from details of the particle collisions at CERN, to what was the best thing about working there and, inevitably, who the scientists predicted would win the World Cup!

As they were both from British research teams, the unbiased answer was simply that 'It was coming home'. Whether this prediction will be as successful as the discovery of the Higgs Boson, only time will tell.

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