PML contributes to Brian Cox School Experiment films
29 January 2024
PML is excited to share the news that the next installment of Brian Cox School Experiment videos has been launched, including a video on ocean acidification with Prof. Helen Findlay.A collaboration between the Royal Society and Prof. Brian Cox, the Brian Cox School Experiment videos are aimed at students aged 11-14, with the resource spanning topics at the forefront of global scientific research.
The objective of the videos is to help teachers bring exciting, creative, practical science to the classroom, and equip students with skills and information on emerging jobs and industries being reshaped by scientific advances.
The topics of this installment include: genome editing for sustainable crop production; ocean acidification, carbon capture and the loss of biodiversity; and machine learning and its use in cybersecurity.
Prof. Brian Cox, Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science, said:
“The next generation of scientists will lead the way on finding new ways to tackle climate change, improve food security, and shape the evolution of artificial intelligence as it transforms society. I hope these videos will be an invaluable tool for teachers, embedding experimental inquiry into lessons in the context of some of the most critical issues of our time and introducing students to some of the groundbreaking technologies being designed to solve them”.
Interviews with scientists working on these pioneering technologies give students an insight into the career opportunities that may be available to them in the future.
Prof. Helen Findlay, contributor to the video on ocean acidification and Biological Oceanographer at PML, said:
“Working with the Royal Society is a privilege, especially being involved on a project with Prof Brian Cox, who has been an inspirational science educator. I had a lot of fun talking ocean acidification science with the film team, showing them our laboratory, talking about experiments and research. From the beginning I really liked the idea of contributing to a series of videos that not only teaches pupils about great science, but also shows them potential career paths. Being able to demonstrate how you go from classroom learning, to current scientific research, to seeing it being applied in industry is hopefully a great way to inspire the next generation - I hope there are some marine scientists among them!”
Watch now: Professor Helen Findlay on Brian Cox School Experiments
Nathan Griggs, who teaches at Bourne Community College and filmed for the ocean acidification topic, said:
“Creative, experimental approaches are key to keeping students interested and engaged in science. These simple but captivating experiments will help both experienced and less confident teachers introduce students to practical science with real-world relevance. Filming alongside one of the country’s most eminent modern scientists was a dream come true, and the students were thrilled to be taught a lesson by Professor Brian Cox.”
Ocean Acidification Topic: Does CO2 affect the pH of seawater and how does acidity affect the strength of seashells?
- Classroom experiment: Pupils will be introduced to two practical activities. In the first experiment, they will observe the effect of increasing the concentration of CO₂ on the acidity of seawater. In the second experiment, they will investigate the effect of acidity on the shells of sea creatures.
- Industry: At C-Capture in Leeds, they are using carbon capture technology to capture carbon dioxide from power stations for storage in reserves or re-use.
- Research: Dr Helen Findlay at Plymouth Marine Laboratory is researching how changes in seawater conditions are affecting marine life.
Genome Editing Topic: Do sun and shade plants have different rates of photosynthesis?
- Classroom experiment: As climatological conditions change, we may need plants that can grow in extreme heat or in exceptionally dry regions. The classroom experiment will explore how some plants have naturally adapted for survival with the ability to photosynthesise when light levels are low.
- Industry: Dr Ingo Hein at the James Hutton Institute discusses research being done into naturally disease-resistant potato crops and the potential commercial applications of this science.
- Research: The Borrill group at the John Innes Centre focuses on understanding the wheat genome to improve the nutritional value of wheat grain.
Machine Learning Topic: What is the effect of data size on a sorting activity?
- Classroom experiment: In this paper-based experiment, pupils develop their own rules/algorithms for sorting sweets and aliens and look at the effect that increasing the size of the data set has on the activity.
- Industry: At the Science Museum, we discuss online content moderation using AI with Unitary, a company specialising in the use of machine learning systems to reduce the amount of online moderation done by humans.
- Research: Research teams at Cardiff University talk about cybersecurity, research being done into technologies used to make our public spaces safer.
The Royal Society Brian Cox school experiments
Royal Society Brian Cox Schools Experiments - Series 2 YouTube Playlist