An innovative project that saw scientists take their expertise on the road to schools has been hailed a ‘tremendous success’.
In a bid to help young people’s understanding of Earth science, geologists from the University of St Andrews launched the Geobus project one year ago today (Friday 18 January 2013).
The educational project was launched at a Fife secondary school by science tv presenter Professor Iain Stewart, and in the last year has reached an incredible 9,527 youngsters.
The initiative, which involves 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.
GeoBus, which helps plug a gap in the teaching of geology and Earth science in schools, is coordinated by Kathryn Roper and directed by Dr Ruth Robinson of the Department of Earth & Environmental Science.
Dr Robinson said, “The project has been a tremendous success and in the last twelve months we are pleased to have fulfilled our aims and reached all the targets set by ourselves or our sponsors.
“Since our launch last year, almost 10,000 school pupils have been involved in practical hands-on Earth science. We have visited 88 schools – with 17 repeat visits – across Scotland, including those in remote and disadvantaged regions.
“We’ve also been to the Western Isles and Skye and are planning further visits to Orkney and Shetland in the spring.”
The Geobus team also presented the project at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen and the Earth Science Teaching Association conference at the British Geological Survey last September.
The initiative has benefitted from the involvement of volunteers from across the University, including many of Dr Robinson’s colleagues at the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and experts from the School of Physics and Astronomy.
Last year GeoBus was sponsored by NERC, EPSRC, Maersk Oil Ltd, Shell UK, Centrica Energy Upstream, BP, Scottish Government, PESGB, The Geological Society and Mineralogical Society.
Sponsors for 2013-2016 are NERC, Dana Petroleum, Centrica Energy Upstream, Maersk Oil Ltd, and Shell UK.
Dr Robinson continued, “Earth science teaching is poorly supported in secondary schools in Scotland, Higher Geology is scheduled to be removed from the curriculum by 2015, and future curriculum changes in Scotland mean that Earth science and geology topics will be taught by science teachers.
“GeoBus helps plug this gap by bringing educational resources to schools across Scotland and northern England, supporting the delivery of Earth science teaching for teachers that do not necessarily have an Earth science background.
“We are delighted to have secured further funding from our sponsors for the next 3 years.”
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