Red Arrows bring science to classrooms


Studying aerodynamics with the Red Arrows, designing and building solar-powered UV water filters that could save countless lives in disaster-hit countries and exploring the chemistry behind couture are just some of the schools projects that are being funded by Royal Society grants totalling over £70,000, awarded this week. 

The grants are part of a scheme that has been helping scientists and teachers to establish innovative science and engineering projects in schools since 2000.

This latest round of the Partnership Grants Scheme, funded by The Royal Society and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Commercial Education Trust (LCCI CET), will provide 18 primary schools and 21 secondary schools from across the UK with up to £3,000 each to bring science and engineering to life in the classroom and help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Each partnership offers young people the chance to meet and work with scientists and engineers from leading universities and industry and allows them to build and develop their scientific understanding in a way that is exciting, original and relevant to their lives.

Professor John Pethica FRS, Vice-President of the Royal Society, said: “The Royal Society Partnership Grants scheme may be the first time that some of these pupils have had the opportunity to work with, or even meet, a practising scientist or engineer. We believe that these experiences are both inspiring and empowering.  Not only are the sciences an exciting area to study and offer a vast range of careers, but a sound understanding of how science ‘works’ is important for all of us in our society where we face complex questions and choices on issues where science and technology are critical.”

St John’s Church School in Peterborough is amongst the beneficiaries. Their project, Take Off!, will see the primary school pupils working together with some of the Red Arrows engineers to build aeroplanes which can fly 50 metres and land safely.  There will be a prize for the best plane - judged by the Red Arrows pilots. 

At Framwellgate School in Durham, pupils will be working with a chemist and fashion designer, to investigate how chemistry is used to create textiles that have enhanced functionality, achieve greater visual impact and reduces environmental impact. The students will work with other organisations that can demonstrate the use of such textiles in real life context, for example the police force and fire brigade. 

Meanwhile, at Ripley St Thomas Church of England High School in Lancaster, pupils will work to design and build a self contained solar powered UV water sterilizer that can be mass produced at low cost for use in disaster relief. Natural disasters kill millions of people, not usually from the physical impact itself but from disease that spreads after the disaster due to damage to infrastructure, often originating from dirty water. This innovative project will produce a UV water sterilizer that will kill bacteria and viruses, powered by a small solar panel that allows it to be used in the absence of electricity and batteries. 

Applications for the next round of funding are open until 25th February 2011. Teachers, scientists, engineers and industry partners interested in applying for a Partnership Grant should visit www.

February 2011

School Leadership Today