Cover image: Tackling global problems using science

Tackling global problems using science

Clare Harvey, Education Outreach Manager at the Royal Society, presents their set of new, free teaching resources which support students in using science to solve real-world problems. How can we use science to try and solve the problems affecting our world? The Royal Society, British Council and Commonwealth Secretariat have produced a set of free resources to encourage young people, aged 7-14, around the world to consider and investigate some of the long term global problems that scientists are working on, but have not yet solved. Tackling global problems - renewable energyThe pack consists of four exciting units that develop knowledge, skills and principles from across the scientific disciplines, each linked to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Topics include renewable energy sources, emerging infectious diseases, rising sea levels and food security. Each unit includes a short film about the theme featuring an eminent expert and local school children, and questions for discussion and debate, which can be used to introduce the topic or as a discussion starter. There is also a written pack featuring simple experiments to do with the class, during a normal class period, or as a more extended investigation with a STEM Club or on an off-timetable day. All are designed to use equipment that is cheap and easy to find around the world. Tackling global problems - researching rising sea levelsFor example, in our rising sea levels pack, students can watch a video filmed on the low-lying Pacific island of Kiribati, where the young people are helping to grow mangroves to prevent their island from being flooded. Students then find out about how rising sea level could affect where they live, carry out an experiment to see why water levels rise when water warms and investigate how to engineer defences that would protect a town from flooding. The students can also look at the best ways of communication to raise awareness of issues, and how to offer advice to families living in affected areas. These flexible resources enable you to link topics on the curriculum to real-life problems facing people around the world and put the science in context. While young people around the world are considering these issues and investigating solutions, current scientists are doing exactly the same and will be gathering in Singapore in summer 2017 for the Commonwealth Science Conference, on the same topics. For more information and to access the resources, visit: the British Council Schools Online website, or contact