STEM Teens takes us to the States
Centre of the Cell is one of six sites participating in the ground-breaking international STEM Teens research project that has been running since 2017. The project is taking place across both the UK and USA and is looking into the role of youth educators and their impact as educators in informal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) learning sites.
111 young people from our Youth Membership Scheme volunteered to take part in this research project and have provided data on their motivations for studying STEM. While all of the participating sites are very different, they all have a youth scheme of some sort, which allows young people to further their knowledge in STEM and develop their confidence and transferable skills.
In September 2022, STEM Teens collaborators met in the USA to visit the three USA STEM sites and to present at the Association for Science and Technology Centres (ASTC) Conference. Our Learning Officer, Myfi, was lucky enough to join this trip. It started with Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens where the team enjoyed meeting some Galapagos Tortoises (they were almost as big as Myfi as you can see in the picture!). Then it was on to Edventure where they spoke with one of the young people on their youth program, and then straight on again to Virginia Aquarium for a tour of their new building. As the new building was not yet open to the public, this was a fascinating opportunity to see the space and imagine how it would work once it is fully up and running. The team ended their trip by presenting some of their findings at the ASTC conference, an international gathering attended by hundreds of science communicators. They discussed observations such as the fact that children tend to recall more scientific facts after interacting with a young educator as opposed to an adult. You can find many more of their findings on their website. It was incredible to learn from so many different people and to be able to share the knowledge captured through this project.
Less than 2 weeks later, we also went to the Association for Science and Discovery Centres conference, but this one was slightly closer to home in Glasgow (UK). It is an honour to be part of such a fantastic project with such valuable findings and insights that we can use to influence our future work, and we cannot wait to see the future research that may yet come out of this project.