Students As Real World Researchers

Ploughing through a science curriculum, no matter how innovative, can’t bring STEM alive as well as working on a real research project with real scientists. Jeremy Thomas of Abingdon School, reports on an exciting new project.
Students collaborating on project

Do most pupils in most schools get any experience of how science really works in the world outside the classroom? Do most science teachers, even those educated to degree level, really know how practicing scientists go about their business? Standard school science lessons are designed to deliver known facts or methods within a short time interval, as just one of the many subjects covered in a normal school day. Nowhere in the science curriculum do pupils get the opportunity to work like real scientists, spending extended periods of time working on questions to which there are no known answers and developing the real skills that needed to discover the solutions. The Institute for Research in Schools puts pupils in direct contact with researchers from a variety of disciplines and encourages them to work together, with mutual benefits for both parties. The Abingdon Science Partnership, funded by Abingdon School, is leading the way in encouraging local schools to participate in these exciting projects and is providing a partnership model that can be replicated elsewhere.

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