In October 2011, the School of Earth Sciences received an award for the best Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) University department in the West. STEM is an initiative by the government to engage more children and young people with these subjects. Many people in the school are STEM Ambassadors, visiting schools to give talks, advice and workshops relating to their area of research or interest.
The School is regularly involved in outreach and public engagement activities for adults and children. These take the form of public lectures and exhibitions (including activities for Science Week) sometimes in collaboration with Bristol City Museum. Staff and postgraduate students from Earth Sciences have visited schools to talk about a whole range of topics, from volcanoes to global warming. Staff have also taught at summer schools for gifted and talented pupils, as well as at those aimed at widening participation.
The British Geological Survey's (BGS) Seismology for Schools Project enables schools to detect signals from large earthquakes happening anywhere in the world using a basic seismometer installed in their own grounds, providing students with a unique opportunity to see the sort of data that research seismologists deal with on a daily basis. Here at Bristol we have been successful in obtaining funds from the Royal Astronomical Society to purchase seismometers for installation around schools in SW England as part of the BGS's project. We also deliver outreach workshops to schools that show how the things they are learning in class relate to the life of a research scientist.
The School of Earth Sciences also uses the web as a means of engaging with the wider public and in making good-quality teaching materials available to educators. Below is a list of resources.
The school seismology project enables schools to detect signals from large earthquakes happening anywhere in the world.
Palaeontology resource packs for Key Stages 1-4 on Thecodontosaurus, a real dinosaur from Bristol. Find out more about the Bristol Dinosaur Project.