How one of the Royal Society Schools Network teachers thinks the Brian Cox School Experiment video series can be used to help meet the Gatsby Career Benchmarks.

Professor Brian Cox OBE FRS

Professor Brian Cox OBE FRS

The Brian Cox School Experiments were initially designed for new and non-specialist primary science teachers to develop their confidence in delivering experimental science lessons. However, since their launch they have additionally been used in the secondary classroom to give context to lessons and to support careers education.

The complete series features six different experiments, covering chemistry, physics and biology topics, each supported by four videos. The first two videos demonstrate the set up and running of the experiment in the classroom. The third and fourth videos demonstrate how the science is being applied in real world contexts and future research. This gives students the opportunity to see how the science that they are learning through to GCSE is applicable to career scientists in a wide range of applications.

One of the Royal Society Schools Network teachers has summarised how the third and fourth videos could help support your careers education in relation to the Gatsby Career Benchmarks:

Gatsby Career Benchmark 2 – Learning from career and labour market information
The videos show students the variety of science careers, both in industrial settings and academia from a chocolate factory to Everest base camp. This provides a stimulus for students to start thinking about the labour market and explore careers that they may find interesting and see that science is an actively growing sector from entry level careers to cutting edge researchers.

Gatsby Career Benchmark 3 – Addressing the needs of each pupil
The diversity of science careers is reinforced in the third and fourth videos, which challenges preconceptions about what scientists do. Through the less glamorous sewage treatment works to running a business aiming to feed 3,000 in London, the variety of jobs and careers is demonstrated aptly. The individuals discuss their science in accessible language ensuring that every student can be inspired regardless of their scientific ability.

Gatsby Career Benchmark 4 – Linking curriculum learning to careers
As the videos are linked to specific topics, it makes it very easy to embed these 3 minute videos into science lessons and illustrate how the science that students are learning applies to current and future careers. At no point is the science abstract, often demonstrating the use of simple techniques such as microscopy. The video references and topics can be found in the list below:

Video reference Topic
1.3                     Filtration – sewage works
1.4                     Filtration – chromatography of urine to test for banned substances
2.3                     Heart Rate – sports science
2.4                     Heart Rate – physiology at Everest base camp
3.3                     Melting – chocolate tempering
3.4                     Melting – material chemistry of alloys
4.3                     Plants – photosynthesis and sustainability
4.4                     Plants – soil ecology
5.3                     Shadows – medical diagnostics
5.4                     Shadows – eclipses
6.3                     Sound – music composition
6.4                     Sound – using soundwaves

Gatsby Career Benchmark 8 – Personal guidance
The videos allow students to see scientists at work, and their workplaces, further stimulating discussions between teachers and students about the necessary skills and qualifications for each roles. These videos offer the opportunity for students who may not have access to a scientific workplace visit, the chance to see what different laboratories and industries look like. They can be valuable in guiding individuals towards making informed choices regarding specific work experiences. There is a short introductory careers video, included in the series, which can be found here.