The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) was registered with the Charity Commission 2nd December 2015, with the Official Launch 3rd March 2016 at the Science Museum, London.
Where research is a key element of learning STEM such that both the teacher and student are contributing valued members of the Scientific Community
IRIS makes cutting edge research projects open to school students and their teachers so that they can experience the excitement and challenge of science. We do this by making data accessible to schools, providing teacher training and resources, and by lending out scientific research equipment. For example, we recently launched the Genome Decoders project with the Wellcome
Genome Campus, where students annotate a human whipworm genome. The summary video can be viewed here.
The video from our launch at the Wellcome Genome Campus, Cambridge in September 2017 can be viewed here.
Dr Julian Rayner, Director, Communicating Science at the Wellcome Genome Campus said:
“This project shows the enormous benefit of incorporating research into education. These genes are not simply a paper exercise, they are real genes, which no one has looked at before. The students will be the world experts on them, and will be contributing directly to our understanding of a major global pathogen”.
One of our teachers, that has worked closely with us in the last 3 months, has said:
‘I just wanted to say an enormous thank you for encouraging me to sign up for the Whipworm project. It is one of the most exciting, fun, interesting, challenging and wholly engrossing things I have ever done in my professional life. I’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and commitment from the students (75+ at the last count!), but I’ve also loved everything that I’ve learned myself about using Apollo and annotating a genome. If this is a long term project, and I very much hope it is, I’d like to be first in the queue for further involvement!’
October 2018 – MELT Project
Students at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy are finding answers to the complexities of climate change through a new project supported by the Institute for Research in Schools. Currently ready roll out to all schools, the MELT project offers students the chance to contribute to the understanding of our planet’s environmental changes. Students become Carbon Researchers, Climate Force Ambassadors and Earth Observation Scientists, promoting future careers in STEM subjects and garnering the potential to transform the legacy of science in their lives.
September 2018 - Welcome to the new year
Welcome to the new year and what a year it’s going to be with regional conferences next summer to look forward to and a whole range of inspirational projects for you and your students to work on. You’ll have received an email with details of the kick off webinar, conference dates and your school point of contact. Please attend this webinar and complete the survey in your email so that your poc can plan how best to support you and your students with your IRIS projects.
June 2018 – Teacher Scientists: combining teaching and scientific research
Becky Parker, our Director, explains in Education in Chemistry, an online resource for chemistry and science teachers, how IRIS is building a career pathway for teachers who don’t want to climb up the management route but want to stay in their subject. She highlights that by doing research, teachers develop their careers outwards rather than upwards.
June 2018 – Garfield Weston Grant
We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation to develop our MELT climate change project further. Thanks to the UK Space Agency initial grant we were able to establish two MELT hubs, Sir Robert Woodard Academy, Lancing and Stirling High School, Stirling. The Garfield Weston Foundation grant has enable us to establish these two hubs with a teacher scientist for a year. A teacher scientist is a teacher with one day a week to do research with their students and with students in around fifteen local primary and secondary schools. This model for rolling out our research projects allows the teacher to reconnect with research and have some time to develop this research project. To connect with the Coastal or Central Scotland hub please get in touch with us and see the news on MELT.
April/May 2018 – MELT
Our latest project MELT launched earlier this term, supported by UK Space Agency. With growing concern over the rate of Polar Ice cap melting, this IRIS project lies at the heart of allowing students to contribute to this research. Students can either annotate the latest images using SENTINEL-1 data or use them to calculate calving rates of glaciers. They can also complete a carbon usage audit of their school using a bespoke online calculator. The MELT project is in collaboration with Dr Anna Hogg of Leeds University and the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.
February 2018 - Girls don’t need special, gendered initiatives to get inspired about STEM subjects – just let them be scientists
Our Director, Becky Parker, argues that girls don’t need specialist programmes to get them interested in STEM subjects, they just need to get stuck in. You can read the full article here.
January 2018 - Who inspired my thinking? – Young people, and teachers who encourage their creative thinking
Becky Parker, our Director, is published in ‘Research for All’, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together. In this article, Becky reflects on the people who inspired her career and how these experiences have shaped her vision for IRIS where school students are inspired by real science.
August 2017 – How to enhance learning with real-life data
Innovate My School is an organisation dedicated to sharing what other schools are doing to push boundaries. They support the discovery of emerging tools and trends and so feature an interview with our Director, Becky Parker, on how IRIS seeks to transform STEM education through access to real science.
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Are you an active IRIS school?
Please see our new “How to“ guide on data analysis
It is that time of year again when students are completing their school education before moving on to work or university, if you have worked on an IRIS project and want to keep in touch please join our alumni
Free public access to NASA research data can be found here
IRIS students have been writing up the research projects as an EPQ. Have a look here at just a few examples of the amazing work being undertaken.
Watch the new introductory overview for IRIS