28 Mar 14

Pupils get B+ in science challenge

YOUNGSTERS from the area are being encouraged to earn their science stripes by making a bee-line to join a new ‘citizen science’ project.The Big Bumblebee Discovery is being supported by EDF Energy in partnership with the British Science Association, and will be encouraging thousands of children to count bumblebees in their schools, parks and gardens.

Heysham 2 station director, Alan Oulton, said: “At Heysham we already have strong links with our local schools, supporting their science weeks and of course we saw 600 pupils at the Christmas science shows.

But the Big Bumblebee Discovery is a great way of engaging pupils from across our region and indeed the UK to see science in action.”
The Big Bumblebee Discovery will seek to 'recruit' thousands of children to act as scientific researchers this summer. They will be asked to count the number of bumblebees they spot.

Researchers from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology will use the results to map bumblebee numbers across Britain and what impact changing population numbers have on crop pollination. EDF Energy is encouraging parents and teachers across the UK to sign up by logging on to www.beediscovery.org.

EDF Energy hopes the citizen science project will also encourage more children to see science as fun, engaging, and relevant to them but also as a potential career.

Paul Spence, Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, EDF Energy said, “Through the launch of ‘The Great EDF Energy Experiment’ we aim to make science accessible, exciting, and engaging, and encourage more children to consider a career in science when they’re older.

“EDF Energy’s commitment to a sustainable future is only possible if we have generations inspired to study STEM subjects and pursue careers in these industries.”

Campaign ambassador, science broadcaster and TV presenter Dallas Campbell said: “Although young people are often inspired by science at a young age, by the time they get to secondary school they’ve already discounted it as a career option – meaning that fewer people are going on to study science in further education.

“The Great EDF Energy Experiment is a great way to ensure young people are inspired and excited by science and encourage them to see the opportunities it can hold for them in the future.”

The Royal Academy of Engineering is warning that the UK could face a skills gap in future. It estimates that 600,000 new STEM graduates are needed in the next six years just to maintain current employment numbers.

Katherine Mathieson, Director of Programmes at the British Science Association commented, “The British Science Association has a long history of engaging parents and their children with science in fun and unique ways. Working with EDF Energy to launch a new programme of Citizen Science investigations, addressing real scientific questions which relate to climate and environmental changes is a further step in our mission to get kids passionate about science in a long lasting and meaningful way.”

Over the last five years, EDF Energy has implemented and operated a successful learning and teaching tool with an online resource, ‘The Pod’, which has reached over 10 million school children.

In this time The Pod has come to be a trusted source of education materials for teachers and students alike, making it the ideal platform for children across the UK to take part in The Great EDF Energy Experiment.

Likewise, launch partner the British Science Association continue to run a number of powerful education initiatives including CREST Star, which has been enormously successful in engaging primary children with science and encouraging positive opinions of STEM over the last seven years.

To find out more about The Great EDF Energy Experiment – The Big Bumblebee Discovery, or for parents and teachers to sign up to take part, visit www.beediscovery.org.