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The Great Science Share for Schools

Published: Feb 6, 2020 4 min read

STEM learning

The Great Science Share for Schools (GSSfS) is an annual campaign to inspire young people to share their scientific questions with new audiences.

It’s a unique campaign that seeks to encourage children to take the lead in developing their own scientific questions and investigations, to raise the profile of science in schools and communities, and inspire more young people into science and engineering. It places children’s ideas and voices at its heart and:

  • encourages young people to communicate their scientific questions
  • improves teacher confidence in teaching children to think and work scientifically
  • raises the profile of school science, improving the science capital of children and families

The campaign culminates in a day in the summer (the second week of June) where child-centred events are held all around the UK and beyond, allowing pupils to share their questions and investigations with new audiences.

Where it all began

The campaign was created by the Science & Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub (SEERIH) in the Faculty of Science & Engineering at The University of Manchester. SEERIH is a nationally recognised hub of science and engineering education specialists that aims to positively influence the experience and learning outcomes of teachers and young people in science and engineering.

SEERIH works with a variety of partners and organisations to undertake research and projects that explore child-led learning and develop children’s scientific questioning, as a way of improving attainment and achievement of pupils at primary level science, which will ultimately improve engagement in the STEM subjects. This focus resulted in the creation of the GSSfS.

Since its establishment in Manchester in 2013, the GSSfS campaign has taken the UK by storm and gone global, growing from just 100 pupils at Manchester Town Hall, to over 63,500 pupils attending more than 483 events across the UK and Ireland, Brazil, India, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria in 2019.

Ethos of inclusivity

These events range from children running a science investigation at home with their parents, to large-scale events involving hundreds of pupils, teachers, STEM organisations and the local community. The type of organisations that took part and led events included universities, cultural institutions – including art galleries and museums – charities, borough councils, botanical gardens and nurseries. However, all these events have one thing in common – they uphold the campaign ethos of being:

1.    child-led

2.    inclusive and non-competitive

3.    collaborative

The 2019 campaign also welcomed the contribution of children from alternative education providers, including hospital schools at Great Ormond Street, Manchester Royal Infirmary and King’s College. The GSSfS team were privileged enough to visit the Renal Care ward at Manchester Royal Infirmary, where children receiving dialysis were simultaneously taking part in the campaign, and sharing their science investigations. The GSSfS was built on an ethos of inclusivity, and through this we want to continue to welcome alternative providers of education, to ensure that all children have the opportunity to take the lead in their scientific learning. We hope this continues to be an expanding area for our campaign. 

The 2020 Great Science Share for Schools event will be held on 16 June 2020 and will have the theme of Sustainability.

The 2019 campaign revealed that a large number of questions and investigations proposed by the participating pupils were centred on sustainability and plastic pollution. These included:

  • Is plastic really destroying the Earth?
  • Can we live in a world without plastic?
  • Why do we need bees?

In response to this clear interest in the climate and plastic pollution, the GSSfS team wants to support young people in trying to find answers to these big, important questions that affect their future. We encourage any organisations who are similarly interested in this to get in touch with us, and find out how they can support the campaign. 

@GreatSciShare #GreatSciShare

Useful links

Visit the Great Science Share for Schools website to register for free and take part in this innovative, inclusive and collaborative campaign.