British Science Week

Each year the University runs a number of events to celebrate British Science Week in March.

From Monday, 8 to Saturday, 13 March, we’re bringing British Science Week 2021 straight to schools and homes by offering a range of online opportunities to engage with STEM activities for your learners.

British Science Week activities

You can also follow us on Twitter (@UoMSchools) where we’ll be signposting other STEM activities and resources taking place during British Science Week.

Antibiotic resistance webinar – live with scientists and Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK)

To coincide with British Science Week, a student-university-charity partnership will have two postgraduate research students talking about their research into tackling antibiotic resistance.

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, 9 March from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. 

The event is aimed at high-school and post-16 students.

BioDiscovery

Showcasing the biological and biomedical sciences for British Science Week.

Small frog on hand

We're celebrating British Science Week (5 to 14 March 2021) by showcasing our research and teaching in the biosciences through a series of online resources developed by researchers, lecturers, staff and students at The University of Manchester.

The resources are aimed at secondary school pupils (Years 7-11) and the general public. They include online videos, virtual tours, activities and exhibits covering a range of topics, including the following:

  • the rare Sylvia's tree frog here in Manchester;
  • the fruit fly's role in research;
  • how what you eat affects your immune system, part of a BBC production with Professor Sheena Cruickshank;
  • a new, innovative form of PPE developed by University clinicians with Wythenshawe Hospital to protect NHS staff against COVID-19;
  • a virtual tour of our animal unit;
  • advice from our dental students on how to brush your teeth properly;
  • neuroimaging techniques and how brain inflammation disorders develop;
  • how cells work;
  • a tour of the Firs Botanical Gardens;
  • forensic psychology;
  • how DNA makes us unique;
  • electron microscopy in action;
  • understanding how internal scars develop;
  • a tour of the Egyptology labs and examining ancient specimens.

BioDiscovery aims to encourage enthusiasm, fun and discovery in the biological and biomedical sciences for both pupils and the wider public, offering an inspirational exploration of science.

View the resources on the BioDiscovery website.

Black History Trail

The Black History Trail project has been designed to respond to the underrepresentation of students of African and Caribbean heritage in key disciplines at the University. The project aims to bring together current University of Manchester Black students and Black school pupils to critically reflect and share their lived experiences. 

Our Black History Trail student ambassadors will share their own personal journeys into higher education, introducing pupils to a variety of different topics from the degree they're currently studying to the hidden history and contributions to their subject of people of African and Caribbean heritage. If you have a cohort of Black pupils who are able to engage with more than one workshop across the year, we encourage you to book multiple workshops in different subject areas. 

Workshops are available to book in:

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Aerospace and Engineering
  • General Engineering
  • Mechatronics Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy

Each live workshop is up to one hour long and can be delivered to Years 1013, in groups no bigger than one class size (no assemblies).

Please note that live workshops will be delivered via a digital platform (this can be via the school’s own platform) and we ask that a teacher is present with pupils during the activity.

Due to the main target audience of these workshops being Black pupils, we're only able to offer live delivery to cohorts of Black pupils. However, we're able to offer a pre-recorded version of workshops to Greater Manchester school groups from all backgrounds as an alternative. 

Email us now to book a live session or request access to one of the pre-recorded sessions (please use STEM Black History Trail as the subject header).

Discover materials

Explore the materials that are in your everyday life by taking part in our scavenger hunt, have a go at making biomaterials at home, find out what we can learn by breaking materials and the importance of recycling materials.

We'll be running sessions on four days during British Science Week to help you appreciate just how important materials science is in your everyday life and why we need to think about the entire lifecycle of materials for a sustainable future.

We'll be joined by speakers who will discuss the materials needed to cross the English Channel, how to make biomaterials at home, how we test materials (including a live session looking at materials under an electron microscope) and a discussion about recycling. There will also be activities to try at home or in the classroom.

For more information regarding Material Science Outreach and Engagement contact materials.outreach@manchester.ac.uk

Event list

Discovering Materials (Friday, 5 March from 1.30pm)

Join us to appreciate the materials that are all around us by hearing the fascinating story of which materials were important to Anna Ploszajski when she swam the English Channel (there will be an opportunity to ask Anna questions). We'll also launch several scavenger hunts that will give you a chance to appreciate the materials around you.

Making Materials and End of Life Use (Monday, 8 March from 1.30pm)

Join us to learn what Materials Science and Engineering is and why the circular economy is so important in choosing and developing materials. We'll also investigate biomaterials, learn about their lifecycle and even find out how to make some at home.

Breaking and Testing Materials (Thursday, 11 March from 1.30pm)

Learn about why testing materials to their limits and choosing the correct test is so important. There will be a live session in which Mark Coleman (Swansea University) will use an electron microscope to see things that a normal light microscope can't.

Recycling Materials (Friday, 12 March from 1pm)

Learn about critical materials and why recycling of magnets and plastics are of such importance.

The Greater Manchester Engineering Challenge

The Greater Manchester Engineering Challenge is a six-week programme designed to inspire 7-14 year olds to learn about the way that engineering makes a difference in our world. 

Designed by the GMEC team and presented by Dr Chips, these hands-on, curriculum-linked lessons will get your pupils thinking about what it means to be an engineer, as well as sustainability and wellbeing. View lessons at home or in school as part of the full GMEC experience or as stand-alone home learning offers.

Visit the website to find out more and sign up to view the GMEC lessons as they premiere, Mondays at 1.30pm. 

Get involved with the Greater Manchester Engineering Challenge on Twitter (#GMEC2021). 

The Great Maths Hunt – KS3 online workshop

Join this workshop from The Mathematics of Waves and Materials Group as they take a look at everyday life and challenge students to answer: “Where is the maths?”

Grey background with white mathematical equations on it.

In this interactive workshop students will discover the hidden mathematical research behind everyday things, find out who mathematicians work with, how they solve problems and where a career in maths may take them.

Find out more from The Mathematics of Waves and Materials Group

The Thinking Cap – Brains, Hats and Health

This is an on-demand online workshop for primary school children, available for them to work through at their own pace, at a time that suits them. 

Sketches of four hats in yellow

This workshop, created by neuroscientists, museum staff, and artists includes videos, quizzes, worksheets and a creative activity that can be run by teachers in school or by parents at home. It covers how the brain works, how to protect your brain and mental health, hats and creativity.

The workshop is aimed at Year 5 pupils, but connects to science, numeracy, art and PSHE KS1 and 2, and could be adapted for a range of ages.

This workshop builds on the online quiz developed during the first UK lockdown in 2020. The project aims to engage pupils with brain science and health through creative activities connecting to Stockport's hatting heritage, as well as raising awareness of studying at university.

You will need to complete a form to access the workshop.

Screenshot of workshop
Screenshot of workshop

The Mathematics of Waves and Materials Group learning resources

Online activities

We've created online STEM resources around the theme of waves, materials and sound for primary and secondary students.

Meet a mathematician

KS45 students can watch videos of some of the researchers in the Mathematics of Waves and Materials Group and find out about their work.

You can find more videos on the group's YouTube channel: MWMmaths

Connect on social

Follow the group on social media:

University of Manchester Physics Outreach

For British Science Week 2021, University of Manchester Physics Outreach will be chatting to a whole host of students and academics from across Physics and Maths. They'll be asking them about what they do, what it’s like to work in STEM, and plenty more.

The interviews will be released as both videos and podcasts every day from Friday, 5 March to Sunday, 14 March, 

Connect on social 

Follow University of Manchester Physics Outreach on social media:

Virtual STEM careers fairs

Would you like a STEM subject specialist to attend a virtual careers fair or host an online Q&A about their subject?

Email schoolsandcolleges@manchester.ac.uk with the header: STEM careers fair speaker.

Volcano activities

Use our volcano activities to get your children thinking about how volcanoes work and what they are.

There are four activities for you to choose from on our blog, and each activity comes with a worksheet including notes for parents/teachers and a video.

All activities and experiments can be safely repeated at school or home, using foods and household items.

The activities will work best with primary school or early secondary school age children. They can be used with older pupils where teachers might have some more stretching questions to get the pupils thinking about what is happening in the experiments, what happens in a real volcanic system, and how well the experiment models the real system. 

On-demand STEM resources

Our STEM resources are available all year round for you to take advantage of: