Spoon inventors stir the imagination

7th March 2008 at 00:00

A "thermo-spoon" that alerts users when food is too hot for infants is among the scientific inventions by pupils to be showcased from today.

More than 28,000 schoolchildren across the UK entered the annual Crest Award for young scientists. And to mark National Science and Engineering Week, the 51 best devices are on display at Centre of the Cell, a science education centre in East London and this year's venue for the British Association for the Advancement of Science's (BA) young scientists and engineers fair.

Other inventions include a prototype camera for a Mars mission.

The 11- to 19-year-old entrants are competing for a number of prizes, including the chance to represent the UK at international fairs in America, Denmark and Sweden, as well as a place on a research ship from New Zealand to the Sub-Antarctic Islands.

Sir David King, president of the BA, said: "In completing their projects, these students have been able to work like real scientists and engineers, and to find out for themselves how enjoyable and rewarding that can be."

Secondary school pupils will be asked what they want to learn about sex and relationships, as part of a "toolkit" to audit sex education launched this week.

Pupils will give their opinions on what they should be taught at different ages and whether the teacher's role should be carried out by peer mentors or outside experts.

The launch of the toolkit follows a Government announcement that it will carry out a full review of how sex education is taught in schools.

It also follows a TES poll, which found that half of teachers believe sex education should be compulsory from primary school.

Anna Martinez, head of the Sex Education Forum, which developed the toolkit, said: "Young people tell us they want to learn the emotional implications of relationships as well as the biological facts.

"They tell us that there is a big gap between the sex education they want and what they actually get."

The toolkit is being funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Jim Knight, the schools minister, said: "This will give schools practical ways of involving young people, to ensure they get the information and support they need to make safe and healthy choices."

- www.ncb.org.uk

Schools will soon be able to buy solar panels and other green technologies using carbon credits.

Funds will be raised by parents and schools shopping online through the Green It Like You Mean It website, which has links to more than 1,000 retailers, including Boots, Marks and Spencer, and eBay. Each purchase will earn points for their nominated school.

The carbon credits generated can then be used to buy solar panels and improve the school's environmental efficiency.

Duncan Stewart, founder of the site, said: "With schools producing 9 per cent of the UK's energy emissions, this scheme has the potential to make a significant impact. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for children to learn important energy-saving skills."

The scheme was launched this week by Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary. Twenty-six schools will start a pilot scheme next week and all UK schools will be invited to join from September.


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