Debate Kits – final evaluation

The I’m a Scientist Debate Kits project is now over (for the moment). Here’s a summary of the evaluation findings, or you can download the full report at the bottom. Summary I’m a Scientist Debate Kits is a project to help get more debate and discussion in the UK’s science classrooms. It was a Gallomanor project funded by the Wellcome Trust Over the last 18 months we have produced and distributed four kits, on different biomedical topics. Altogether roughly 4,500 printed copies, on three biomedical topics, have been printed and distributed, plus a further 4,000 copies downloaded. They have proved extremely popular with teachers, apparently meeting a teaching need for high-quality, simple-to-use resources to stimulate debate and discussion in the science classroom. Teachers judged them to be very effective. The kits got students seeing different sides to an argument, expressing their opinions and backing them up with facts, and developing … Continue reading

Posted on June 5, 2011 by in Evaluation | Leave a comment

New debate kits unveiled

The teachers have spoken. They voted for legalisation of cannabis to be the topic of the next debate kit, and so, obedient as ever, that’s what we did. Our grant doesn’t cover printing and distributing this kit, so it’s online only. Just click the link below and print it out. Download Cannabis Debate Kit (normal size) (pdf) Download Cannabis Debate Kit (large print) (pdf) The debate kit is a simple-to-use role play on the topic ‘Should the UK legalise cannabis?’. Your students play characters with different points of view and have a structured debate. It helps to cover the following curriculum points:- AQA To evaluate claims made about the effect of cannabis on health and the link between cannabis and addiction to hard drugs. Some people use drugs recreationally. Some of these recreational drugs are more harmful than others. Some of these drugs are legal, some illegal. CCEA the effects … Continue reading

Posted on November 20, 2010 by in News | Leave a comment

Vote to choose topic of the last debate kit

People have made some brilliant suggestions of topics for the last debate kit. Thanks! Please vote for your preferred topic below:- [poll closed] BTW, There are some suggestions I’ve not included, for one of three reasons:- 1. It’s not a biomedical topic (e.g. renewable energy) – the Wellcome Trust fund us to promote debate and discussion about biomedicine. But we’d be happy to produce kits on other topics if someone else would fund it! 2. It’s a topic we’ve already done. Previous kits are on IVF funding, Stem Cells and ‘Are we too clean?’. You can download earlier kits here. 3. I couldn’t see a way to make a debate kit on the topic. e.g. Nature vs Nurture just seems far too big a question. It’s a fascinating one though and I’d love to produce resources of some kind on this. In fact I’ll probably be distracted for the rest … Continue reading

Posted on November 8, 2010 by in News | Leave a comment

Help us decide the topic for the last debate kit

Do you have topics you really want to get a classroom discussion going on? Do you find you haven’t got time to research and prepare resources yourself? Well your wish is our command! Our last debate kit is coming up, please let us know what you’d like it to be about. Here’s a list of topics teachers have suggested before to start you off. We’ll gather suggestions for a week, and then you can all vote for which topic you want. Please bear in mind that as the kits are funded by the Wellcome Trust, who are a biomedical research charity, the topics must have some relevance to biomedicine. Sad to say, the next debate kit will be our last, as we are coming to the end of our Wellcome Grant. This last kit will be online only, as planned. Some suggested topics Animal/human hybrids Animal organ transplants Designer babies … Continue reading

Posted on October 29, 2010 by in News | Leave a comment

Our debate kits, do they work?

Well, of course, I’m going to say YES to that question. What’s This? Here is the evaluation report on the first half of the debate kits project, comprising the first two kits (from Summer and Autumn 2009). Obviously I was supposed to publish this MONTHS ago, but it’s fallen by the wayside, until now. Why now? We have just brought out the third IAS debate kit, on Stem Cells. We posted out 1,500 stem cells debate kits earlier this week.  I got an email from a teacher this morning saying ‘Just got the Stem cell pack…fantastic!’ so I’m hopeful they’ll be as popular as previous kits:-) What are the debate kits? The debate kits are designed to get students in their science lessons debating and discussing science issues, seeing things from different points of view and learning to back up their opinions with evidence. Each kit is developed in consultation … Continue reading

Posted on June 11, 2010 by in News | Leave a comment

Best. Review. Ever. (IAS Debate Kits in School Science Review)

You can now sign up for our next Debate Kit, on Stem Cells! What are you waiting for? Maybe you read all the things that we’ve written about the debate kits and think, ‘Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?’ I know I would. Handily, an independent opinion is to hand! School Science Review, the journal of the Association for Science Education (ASE), has reviewed our debate kits. And boy did they like them! As we all know, the ASE are the bee’s knees when it comes to science education, so you should definitely listen to them. Sign up for these kits now if you have not done so already; they are too good to miss. The IVF ‘kit’ (cards in a wallet) is the first of four to be produced by the ‘I’m a Scientist’ team. The second, Are we too clean?, is now also available. Paper stocks of … Continue reading

Posted on May 19, 2010 by in Evaluation, News | Leave a comment

Cleaned out! – Our second Debate Kit (Are we too clean?) all gone…

… But you can download copies from here. Sorry for the terrible pun. Again we’ve been amazed by the response. We had so many orders within the first week that since then we’ve restricted it to one copy per teacher. But really, you only need one copy to run the activity with a class, so no-one should be too inconvenienced. You may want to laminate the cards for durability in teenage hands. Thanks to everyone who’s ordered one. And all who’ve given us fantastic feedback on them. It does give me a warm glow to know that so many teachers and colleagues in the field see what we are trying to do with them, and think they really work! A quick note on how this kit differs from the last one Teachers gave us some great feedback on the first kit (thanks everyone!), but when we asked if there was … Continue reading

Posted on November 2, 2009 by in News | Leave a comment

VOTE for what the next debate kit will be on

You all gave us lots of great suggestions of topics for the next kit. Thanks! Here’s the list of topics – I think nearly all of them would make fascinating debates and raise lots of interesting issues. Now YOU decide which one we use for the next kit. Please vote in our poll below. [poll closed] I’ve put the topics in alphabetical order, rather than popularity of the suggestion, so it’s a bit fairer. There were several more great topics suggested but the list was just too unwieldy with all of them.

Posted on September 15, 2009 by in News | Leave a comment

Pre-orders now open for the new debate kit!

It’s gone to the printers. It’s on it’s way. The second, ever, I’m a Scientist Debate Kit is GO! The topic is ‘Are we too clean?’ which was suggested by a teacher called Laura, on this blog, on September 9th. You then voted and picked ‘Are we too clean?’ as the most wanted topic. Your wish is our command, so now we’ve developed the kit for you and sent it to the printers. The first batch will be ready to ship on 19th October. You can pre-order a kit here, but don’t do that if you are already on our list! We’ve sent you an email and you can confirm or change your order with a click. Now we’ve made the kit I want to find out who Laura is, and send her the first ceremonial copy. If you are Laura, or know who she is, then please get in … Continue reading

Posted on September 7, 2009 by in News | Leave a comment

Help us decide the topic for the next debate kit!

1,500 of you have had the first, IVF, debate kit and you’ve been giving us great feedback on them. We are now gearing up to produce the second kit and we’d like your help choosing the topic, because who better than teachers to tell us what teachers want? The suggested topics so far are:- Stem cells Creationism Homeopathy MMR Cannabis (legalisation and/or medical use) Have you got any other bright ideas? Topics must be biomedical as we are being funded by the lovely Wellcome Trust. Are there topics you’d really like debating resources on but can’t find anything suitable? Then let us know in the comments section! We’ll collect suggestions over the next week or so, and then let everybody vote on the shortlist. Timetable:- 3rd – 11th Sept Gathering suggestions 14th Sept Put up topic shortlist for voting 21st Sept Topic chosen 21st Sept-19th Oct Researching, developing, testing and … Continue reading

Posted on September 3, 2009 by in News | Leave a comment