Using astronomy to create STEM clubs in schools in low science capital areas

Lead Research Organisation: Liverpool John Moores University
Department Name: Astrophysics Research Institute


Extra-curricular science and other STEM activities are essential if school students from backgrounds under-represented in STEM are to develop the interest in a subject that leads to passion and aspiration. STEM Clubs are an excellent way of doing this, but the same social and demographic issues that lead to low engagement often make it much harder for schools to set up and run such clubs. With this project we aim to set up, support and evaluate a number of STEM Clubs in appropriate schools, using astronomy and space as a "hook". At the end of the project, we will use the evaluation results and feedback from students and teachers to create a simple, manageable route for other, similar schools to develop and run clubs of their own.

Planned Impact

During the course of the project, we will showcase the activities of the clubs themselves through the NSO - via the website and through social media, regular newsletters etc. We will also encourage the schools to publicise the Clubs' activities both within each school and chain, and to local press.

At the end of the project we will produce an evaluation report (which we would plan to publish in an appropriate journal) and a set of Case Studies. These will be publicised through the NSO and other contacts and networks. We would also anticipate presenting the work at appropriate conferences (e.g. the National Astronomy Meeting, Interact, ASE meetings, the NCCPEs Engage Conference and similar).

To further support use by low Science Capital schools, we will create a set of How To guides, video tutorials etc that will be hosted alongside the STEM Club packs on the NSO website and promoted widely.


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