A year of discovery

27th April 2001 at 01:00
Nigel Paine invites schools to join in the activities as Science Year gets under way.

Science Year is off to a flying start. More than 50,000 of the free interactive science packs that were made available earlier this year have been ordered by 10 to 15-year-olds. Nearly 10,000 of the related teacher's booklet were sent out, and teachers can continue to find plenty of support and information on the Science Year website www.scienceyear.com Science Year will be launched officially on September 7. The science packs have helped raise teenagers' curiosity about how science works in everyday life. Young people across the country are bringing the packs into schools and engaging with teachers on the science behind them. The teacher's booklet also contains material for class discussions.

With Science Year, the Government recognises that engaging young people in science is necessary - now more than ever. Jobs in the science and technology area are growing much faster than the skills base to support them.

Schools minister Jacqui Smith says: "Science Year is all about turning teenagers on to science and encouraging them to study and work in this area. Teachers play a vital role in all of this and Science Year aims to support them with information kits, classroom materials and staf development resources."

Science Year is intended to help teenagers believe they can change the world through inventions and breakthroughs and feel confident that they can create, invent and take charge of the future.

Young people will have opportunities to experience how it can be a lot more fun to participate in science rather than just be a passive consumer.

From September, Science Year will run many activities to enthuse students, support teachers and get the wider community involved in science. These include a travelling roadshow, networked science clubs, as well as television and other media coverage.

The organisers plan to release curriculum-focused science software every month during Science Year, including some for cross-curricular science AS-levels. The Association of Science Education and the British Association will deliver associated programmes of activities including "megalabs" and experiments, as well as CD-Roms and other resources.

Come and get a taste of Science Year at "Tomorrow's World Live" from June 27 to July 2 at Earl's Court, London. You can check out all the latest news on the Science Year website, which includes links to other science sites and organisations around the world.

Nigel Paine is director of Science Year

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