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Bringing dust and rocks to life

Wales, like England, is a land of dramatic earth processes, rocky mountains and sweeping plains, with many resources, such as wind power, water, coal, slate and even gold.

Science teachers in Wales, like those in most of England, now have Earth science in-service training available, helping with teaching of Earth processes in Wales, England and across the globe. This training, which is already free to most schools in England, is now being rolled out in Wales for only the cost of travel and photocopying. Schools choose one or more 90-minute interactive, hands-on workshops, at key stage 3 or 4, in twilight, half-day or full-day sessions.

"Wonderful practical teaching ideas which I will certainly use in my classes. Particularly like the way experiments were related to what happens on the Earth's surface," wrote one science teacher attending an Earth Science Education Unit (ESEU) workshop in Birmingham. "Will change my teaching of rocks dramatically - never been my strong point," commented a science teacher in a Lancashire school.

"Eye-opener!" exclaimed a trainee science teacher. "I have been teaching for 12 years and run a huge faculty. This has done more to refresh my brain and improve teaching than most other training has in the past five years.

Outstanding delivery. Thank you," said a head of science from Birmingham.

ESEU Inset was launched as a pilot project in central and northern England four years ago. Its three partners are Keele University, the home of the project, the Earth Science Teachers' Association', which provides the materials and expertise, and the UK Offshore Operators Association, the umbrella organisation of the offshore oil industry, which provides the funding.

The pilot of this unique industryeducation partnership was so successful that the offshore association was glad to provide five years of secure sponsorship to ensure rollout of the project across the UK.

Currently, ESEU has 28 trained facilitators across the country, providing training to local schools. Next year, following a pilot in Aberdeenshire, ESEU workshops will be launched across Scotland, in collaboration with the Scottish Earth Science Education Forum. Shortly afterwards, ESEU will launch into south west England and Northern Ireland to complete the UK coverage.

Chris King is director of ESEU For more information contact ESEU administrator Bernadette Callan at the Education Department, Keele University, Keele, Staffs, ST5 5BG, on 01782 584437, via email on eseu@keele.ac.uk or visit the ESEU website, www.earthscienceeducation.com

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