Friday, December 15, 2017

What's in a mince pie?



For the last week of term how would you like an activity that combines exploring mince pies with practising different types of scientific enquiry including identifying, classifying and sorting and using secondary sources?  Wouldn’t it be even better if that activity gave your children the opportunity to apply some tricky scientific vocabulary in a meaningful and engaging way? 
  
  
One of the activities in our recently updated Kitchen Concoctions resource, “What’s in a mince pie” does just that.  The lesson has been designed to help children understand that some mixtures can be permanently changed into new things whereas others can still be separated into their original ingredients.  It also helps children to understand what a mixture is and that there can be mixtures within mixtures.
Children work in pairs or small groups to break a mince pie in half and to explore what it is made of.  They are asked to consider whether it is just one thing or a mixture of different things.    They discover that although the pastry is made up of more than one ingredient it seems to be one thing, and can no longer be separated back into its separate ingredients. 

They then use a tooth pick and hand lens to carefully examine and separate out the individual ingredients from a spoonful of mincemeat taken from a jar, they initially find that many of the ingredients can be separated out.  However, when they use the ingredients list (from the side of the jar) as a secondary source they realise that not all of the ingredients are still visible and they can no longer be separated from the rest of the mixture. If they then take part in the extension activity to bake their own mince pies they are able to observe change over time as they notice the changes that happen to both the pastry and the mince pie when they are heated.

This activity, alongside the other eight exciting activities in Kitchen Concoctions, can be downloaded for free at http://www.ciec.org.uk/kitchen_concoctions/.  It contains full teacher guidance for all of the activities described, which is particularly useful for hard pressed teachers at this hectic time of year.  To receive a free printed copy of our acclaimed resource ‘Working Scientifically’, let us know how you get on using the mince pie activity with your class.  You can do this by leaving a comment on the blog or by tweeting to @ciecyork.



For the next two weeks we will be taking a break from the CIEC blog and will be spending more time eating than dissecting mince pies!  However, we will be back on Friday 5th January live from the Association of Science Education conference in Liverpool.  We look forward to seeing you there either in person or via social media.  In the meantime, have a relaxing and peaceful holiday.



Friday, December 8, 2017

Children Challening Industry

CIEC’s Children Challenging Industry programme was initiated by Tom Swan, then Managing Director of Thomas Swan and Co. Ltd. Tom Swan wanted a peripatetic teacher to visit primary schools in County Durham. Joy Parvin (Director, CIEC), then added in the site visits and school staff CPD, to create the CCI programme we have today.  Harry Swan (Tom’s son, now the Managing Director of Thomas Swan), first got involved when attending a CCI summer event, which brought back the memory of his own class visit to his Dad’s company. Meeting children, teachers and colleagues from other chemical companies at this event enabled Harry to appreciate the positive impact of site visits, and how learning about industry changed children’s perceptions of these companies and their relationship with science. Harry is now Chair of CIEC’s Advisory Committee, and plays a key role in encouraging other companies to support CIEC’s activities.


Pupils are fascinated during a demonstration at Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey in Billingham have been hosting school visits since 2002. During that time, they have welcomed more than 1500 children to their site, with over 300 of these visiting in the last 12 months alone.  The Johnson Matthey site in Royston hosts an additional 6 site visits annually and sends ambassadors into a further 4 schools each year.  These opportunities to interact and engage with the children are not only an opportunity to promote awareness of Johnson Matthey but also a chance to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers. The feedback from pupils and teachers has been excellent and has prompted yet more schools to enquire about participating in the programme.


Research shows that before participating in the CCI programme, children often have a negative perception of the chemical industry.  They see it as dangerous and polluting rather than as a place of technological innovation.  They are not aware of the links between the processes that the industries carry out and the science that they study in school.  Neither are they aware of industry’s potential as a future employer.  


Alan Bootland carrying out a Johnson Matthey demonstration
Without ongoing funding from, and the practical support of, companies such as Johnson Matthey, we would be unable to continue the invaluable work of CCI.  We are extremely grateful to them for their sustained contribution to the programme.
Jenny Harvey

Friday, December 1, 2017

Latest Research from CIEC






The CIEC’s flagship programme, Children Challenging Industry (CCI), makes explicit the relationship between practical scientific activities in the primary classroom and large scale industrial processes. We bring this to life for the children by arranging for them to participate in an in-school project run by one of our advisory teachers alongside their own class teacher. This is followed by a trip to a local site or, if this proves impossible, a visit to the school from a specially-trained “ambassador” from the industry. The CCI programme is evaluated on an ongoing basis, with participating teachers and pupils asked to complete a questionnaire before and after the experience. Our latest report represents four years’ worth of data from pupils and teachers, from 2012 to 2016; you can see it here  http://bit.ly/2Ah17Fr



Or you may prefer to see the infographics document which shows highlights from this research.

http://bit.ly/2Ap0APQ