Issue date: 30 September 2008
Teachers and lecturers returning to primary and secondary schools and colleges across the UK this September have new resources to help them inspire and develop the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. Launched in Liverpool during the BA Festival of Science, the STEM Directories (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are part of the UK Government's STEM Framework Programme responding to the shortage of young people taking up STEM-based qualifications and careers.
The three STEM Directories – one each for Science, Mathematics and Engineering and Technology – have been created in direct response to teachers' needs. They comprise a collection of over 200 activities provided by organisations from across the UK to enhance and enrich the STEM curriculum. Each activity is linked to the curriculum so the impact of the experiences and outcomes can be sustained.
UWE's Science Communication Unit is part of the consortium that has managed the directories. Dr Karen Bultitude said, “This set of publications marks a milestone but is only the beginning. We will review initial reactions and build feedback into the second phase, which is likely to be an online resource launched in 2009.”
At the launch, Ian Pearson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation said, “Science, engineering and technology are integral to everyone's daily lives and offer society tremendous opportunities for the future. The new STEM Directories will give our teachers and lecturers innovative resources to engage young people and excite them about the potential of science, technology, engineering and maths.”.
He continued: “In addition, this unique scheme will hopefully inspire young people to pursue science both in school and as a career – which in turn will result in a valuable, qualified scientific workforce for the UK.”
An example of the activities listed in the STEM Directories is “Seconds From Catastrophe? Living with an active volcano.” Based on real events that took place in 1997 at the Soufrière Hills Volcano in Montserrat, this activity is led by science researchers who were onsite during the ongoing eruption and is run by the British Geological Survey.
The STEM Directories are managed by a consortium of established leaders in STEM enrichment and enhancement activities – The Royal Institution of Great Britain, The British Association for the Advancement of Science and UWE.
To download a pdf copy of each of the Directories or to receive hard copies, go to http://www.stemdirectories.org.uk