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Press release

  • 13 March 2007

University brings science teaching bang up to date

Have you ever wondered what goes into school custard? Youngsters from Brighton will be finding out when they take part in a series of experiments on Friday (16 March) - and it's all in the name of science.

The fun-packed day has been organised by the University of Sussex School of Education and Elm Grove Primary School, Brighton. Experiments will include demonstrating the hair-raising effects of a Van de Graaf generator, Mr Freeze and his liquid nitrogen show, making a chemical coloured fountain - and the science behind lumpy custard.

The projects will help the children celebrate National Science and Engineering Week, provide 29 teaching trainees with the challenge of making science interesting and relevant to pupils and will also show children how science plays a part in society.

Year 5 and 6 pupils will also be asked to explore various science themes through creative writing and art, under the guidance of the University trainees.

In the afternoon, around 180 pupils will then enjoy the sights, sounds - and smells - of some entertaining science experiments that will help demonstrate the big part played by science in everyday life. The "Awe and Wonder" show is devised by Dr Tim Metham, leader of the pre-initial teacher training chemistry and physics enhancement courses at the University of Sussex.

University of Sussex Education lecturer James Wiliams, who specialises in science education, and helped to organise the day, says: "We pride ourselves in our close working relationships with partner schools across Sussex. Our creative primary science day is a new initiative, designed to enthuse and engage young children in the awe and wonder of science.

"All too often, science is portrayed simply as 'doing experiments'. We aim to show that science can also be a creative process. We would like the children to use their creative skills and talents for writing, storytelling, poetry and art to explore everyday science."

Elm Grove teacher Vicky Fenlon, who will be helping to supervise the day and who trained as a science teacher at the University of Sussex, says: "It will be a really interesting, fun and educational day for us at Elm Grove and we are all very much looking forward to it. The opportunity of being able to invite Sussex University and their trainee teachers to our school is an exciting one; we get the benefit of so many fresh and enthusiastic individuals working with our pupils while the trainees have the chance to be as creative as they like with their science teaching!"

The University of Sussex has nearly 80 science graduates, either training to teach science or completing a six-month subject enhancement course prior to entering teacher training in September 2007.

The University of Sussex Science Education Centre is one of the foremost providers of science education in the South East, running a range of courses from full-time teacher training to booster courses in science, as well as the six-month enhancement courses.

Notes for editors

  • There will be an opportunity to take photographs at the hour-long event at Elm Grove Primary School, Brighton. Please call if you would like to attend. The event begins at 2pm on Friday, 16 March.
  • For further information about National Science and Engineering Week (9-18 March), see

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888 or email


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