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Durham University

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Inspiring local teachers

(10 July 2019)

It’s really important to us to share our knowledge and expertise with local communities: it’s part of what we call ‘Durham for All’. So we were very pleased to recently welcome over 60 science teachers from secondary schools across the North East for a training day, organised in conjunction with the Institute of Physics.

What were the aims of the event?

We wanted to:

  • Introduce teachers to new resources designed to help them teach physics
  • Explore some of the latest developments in physics research
  • Help the teachers try out, and develop, practical physics activities to use in their classrooms

What was on offer?

The keynote speaker was Professor Helen Gleeson, from Leeds University, who spoke about liquid crystal elastomers – materials that combine the properties of rubber with those of liquid crystals, which are used in flat screen TVs, laptop computers and mobile phones.

There were also practical workshops delivered by the Institute of Physics team on:

  • Introducing young people to possible careers in physics
  • Creating a physics show for the whole school
  • Making propeller-driven flying models
  • Using smartphone apps in experiments
  • Building a rocket launcher
  • Exploring unconscious bias and making teaching inclusive
  • Energy storage and conservation
  • New approaches to teaching the electromagnetic spectrum

How did it go?

We had some great feedback from the teachers who came along.

Charlotte Thompson, from Bishop Barrington School, Bishop Auckland, said it was a fantastic day with a great choice of interesting workshops and lots of practical ideas and resources which could easily be implemented in the classroom.

What next?

The event was part our ongoing commitment to supporting local schools and education.

We run an award-winning programme of activities aimed at stimulating interest in science and encouraging better understanding of how science applies to our everyday lives.

This includes Celebrate Science, our annual science festival that we run each October half-term, and much more.

To find out more visit our Science Outreach web pages.