CIEC Promoting Science at the University of York, York, UK

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CIEC Promoting Science

CIEC Promoting Science (formerly known as The Chemical Industry Education Centre) is part of the Department of Chemistry at the University of York, one of the leading research departments in the UK and recognized internationally.  The Department of Chemistry has been teaching and developing curriculum materials for over 40 years.  The work began with its undergraduate courses and now encompasses work with primary and secondary schools, undergraduate, postgraduate teaching, and outreach activities for the general public.  This is based within several groups which carry out high quality chemistry and education research including its national Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and CIEC Promoting Science.

All the work has three common features, namely that it is

  • embedded in the teaching of chemistry at the appropriate level
  • based on current educational practice and informed by research
  • developed so that it can be used, with appropriate changes, in other countries.

CIEC has developed a powerful working relationship between education and industry and has made a major contribution to this, with over one hundred educational resources provided for teachers and students over the past 24 years.  These include books to inform teachers about how to use context-based science in the classroom, and websites carrying curriculum related information about a range of science-related subjects.  All are aimed at enthusing young people with a love of science and these resources show how science impacts upon us all and why it is important for young people to understand how science works and where it fits into their lives.

One of their most important innovations has been an extensive programme of professional development for teachers to increase their understanding of science and enable them to teach within contexts and allow students to engage in meaningful practical enquiry.  The Children Challenging Industry project has visits to industry as a key element of this work along with comprehensive resources and web materials that include the consideration of  issues of sustainability1,2. The national programme has involved over 14 000 teachers, 300 companies providing visits and support through ambassadors from industry.  It has been extensively evaluated.
The programme extends into secondary education where ambassadors from industry work with teachers and students. Companies have agreed to allow scientists, engineers and technical staff time out to work closely with lower school secondary students on practical enquiries related to production, research and development.

1.    An example is Understanding Sustainability Learning: Materials to support the teaching of sustainable development in secondary schools York: CIEC  

2.    Another example is an interactive website which includes activities such as Houses from Hemp, Bioplastic films, Cleaners.  Also a booklet Renewables Don’t Run Out York: CIEC

All web-based resources can be reached from the CIEC website and written resources can be downloaded.