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Get started planning your practical activity

Introduction to week 1 of Planning Activities.
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[Deborah] Welcome to ‘Planning Activities’, the second course in the ‘Inspiring Young People in STEM’ program for STEM Ambassadors, and other volunteers in STEM. I’m Dr Deborah McNeill, the lead educator on this course. I’m Director of the Glasgow Science Festival and part of Science Connects, the team responsible for managing the STEM Ambassador programme in the West of Scotland. [Zara] And I’m Dr Zara Gladman, Public Engagement Coordinator at Glasgow Science Festival. [Deborah] Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing our experience of developing and planning STEM activities. You’ll look at a range of practical activities, videos and articles and share your ideas in discussions throughout this course.
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[Zara] It’s really important to tailor your activity to meet the educational needs of the young people you’re engaging with. For example, the type of activity and language you use will differ if you’re working with a secondary school physics class compared with a Girl Guide group. We’ll discuss how to plan and develop activities differently for the classroom or other, non-school environments. Key to this is communicating effectively with educators as part of your activity planning. We’ll examine how to discuss the aims of your activity with teachers or group leaders, and how to ask the right questions.
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[Deborah] By the end of this course, you’ll be equipped with tools to help you to develop your own engaging activity that inspires young people with STEM learning and careers. First, we need to explore what we mean by an engaging activity and inspiration.

The purpose of this course is to help you match your volunteering activities to the educational needs of the young people you work with. Central to this is being able to communicate with educators or group leaders in the schools or community groups you volunteer. We focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in this course, and practical activities such as experiments, demonstrations and hands-on tasks.

On this course

In Week 1 you will look at different modes and delivery for engaging with young people, and how to use curricula to inform your discussions with teachers. In Week 2 you’ll create your activity plan with a risk assessment and practise your activity.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Develop an engaging and inspiring STEM-related activity for young people
  • Communicate, negotiate and agree with educators and group leaders about activities and demonstrate an appreciation of the STEM curriculum
  • Design a practical activity to be delivered within a school or non-school organisation, with an awareness of the audience, ability and age group
  • Create an activity plan to use when delivering a practical activity in a school or non-school organisation

Dr Deborah McNeill, from the Glasgow Science Festival, University of Glasgow and Science Connects, the West of Scotland STEM Ambassador Co-ordinator, will guide you through the course. Deborah is supported by Dr Zara Gladman, Glasgow Science Festival, University of Glasgow with advice from Aileen Hamilton, Science Connects.

Introduce yourself

For the benefit of all learners on this course, we invite you to again say hello, who you are, and what volunteering role you have in the comments below.
To start this course, we’d like to know what you’ve experienced as volunteer or participant that has really made an impact on you personally.
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Volunteering in the Classroom: Planning and Organising Practical STEM Activities

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