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Wednesday 18 January 2012

Scientists at the University of St Andrews are taking their expertise on the road in a bid to help young people’s understanding of Earth science.

The new educational project, spearheaded by St Andrews geologists, was launched at a Fife secondary school by science tv presenter Iain Stewart today (Wednesday 18 January 2012).

The initiative, which will involve a mobile science unit travelling to secondary schools throughout Scotland, was designed to support secondary school teachers (and the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland), and has the backing of Scottish Government, industry and scientific partners.

Named GeoBus, the innovative outreach project was developed by Dr Ruth Robinson of the Department of Earth Sciences at St Andrews and is based on the successful St Andrews ChemBus project that provides outreach to chemistry teachers and pupils in Fife and Tayside. The senior lecturer began raising money for the GeoBus project over two years ago after realising she could help plug a gap in the teaching of geology and Earth science in schools.

Speaking in advance of the launch, she said, “Earth science teaching is poorly supported in secondary schools in Scotland, Higher Geology will be removed from the curriculum by 2015, and future curriculum changes in Scotland mean that Earth science and geology teaching will be covered by science teachers.

GeoBus will help to plug this gap by bringing educational resources to schools across Scotland and northern England, and will support the delivery of Earth science teaching for teachers that do not necessarily have an Earth science background. Earth science is the ultimate applied science, and a unique and innovative aspect of GeoBus is that the teaching resources are developed for science teachers by enthusiastic and inspiring young science researchers.”

Dr Robinson and her colleagues hope to engage young would-be scientists by introducing them to exciting research projects that are carried out by young researchers in Scotland. A further benefit to schools is that the initiative will provide a bridge between industry, HEIs, Research Councils, and schools. It is hoped that more young people will be encouraged to think about a career in geology or Earth sciences as a result.

Dr Robinson launched the mobile teaching unit at Buckhaven High School today (Wednesday) with Scots geologist and star of television science shows such as ‘Earth: The Power of the Planet’ and ‘Men of Rock’, Professor Iain Stewart.

Geobus is sponsored by the Research Councils (NERC and EPSRC), Scottish Government, Maersk Oil, Shell, Centrica, the Geological Society and the Mineralogical Society.

The current funding for GeoBus will support visits to schools throughout the school term time until June 2014.


Notes to Editors

GeoBus is available to visit secondary schools in all educational authorities around Scotland, and in northern England later in the year. Teaching packages have been designed by staff at the University of St Andrews and cover broad areas of Earth science aimed at supporting STEM subject teaching generally, and highlighting career opportunities in Earth science and other STEM subjects.

Dr Ruth Robinson, a Senior Lecturer and geologist in the Department of Earth Sciences, developed the GeoBus outreach project. Ms Kathryn Roper is the dedicated coordinator of GeoBus and Kathryn will visit the schools and deliver the teaching packages with teachers. Kathryn is a graduate of the University of St Andrews (BSc Geoscience 2009) and a qualified secondary school teacher. Many other academics and students from St Andrews will contribute to GeoBus from the disciplines of Earth sciences, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics & Astronomy.

Teachers can book a GeoBus visit via

Issued by the Press Office

Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, 07900 050 103 [email protected]

Ref: Geobus 170112

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