The Stay at Home Zones are online public engagement activities that get all kinds of people working in STEM (researchers, engineers, technicians, managers, private sector, public sector… everyone!) talking to school students across the UK during the school closures.
By taking part you develop communication skills, gain a fresh perspective on your work, and find out what young people think about science and engineering.
Everything happens online so it’s easy for you to be involved right from your desk or smartphone and at times that suit your schedule.
You put up a profile on this site, answer students’ questions about science and engineering, your work, the universe and beyond, and engage directly with classes in live text-based chats.
Live chats with classes
Live chats last 30 to 45 minutes. They are text-based, fast paced and fun. We don’t expect you to attend every chat! Sign up to whatever you can fit into your schedule (watch example chat).
Time commitment is flexible and the format is designed to so you can fit taking part into your normal schedule as much as possible.
Typically, most scientists and engineers say they spend around 1 to 2 hours on the site on days they log in: 1 hour on live chats and another hour answering students’ questions, which can be outside the work day, for example, during the evening or at lunch… See how IAS fits into the schedule of a busy scientist.
Zones: A group of STEM professionals and schools
The activity is divided into ‘zones’ with a particular set of scientists/engineers and school classes in each one. This could be a General Zone, or themed, for example, a Medical Research Zone. You will be assigned a zone when given log in details for the site.
The questions students ask
The questions asked were both fun and challenging, keeping me on my toes at all times and giving me a fresh perspective and enthusiasm for my own research
Students will ask scientists and engineers questions about anything they like, about you, your work and STEM in general, from robots to pizza toppings.
All questions are moderated, to remove duplicate questions, as well as rude or offensive ones. The variety of questions and reactions from students are key to the benefits people get from taking part.
Equipment you need
All that’s needed is a computer with internet access. The live chats are text-based (no video or audio needed) and run through this site. Find out more about the advantages of a text-focused format.
Who can sign up
Anyone in a role connected to science, technology, engineering or maths is welcome to sign up for the Stay at Home Zones.
The activity shows students the wide variety of careers that science and engineering lead to, so is open to anyone from industry and public sectors, and all kinds of scientists and engineers from academia (PhD students, technicians, research associates, professors…).
Twitter's a great way to not only let scientists, teachers, funders and friends see the event as it happens, but it also lets us see how you're coping with it. We Tweet a lot from our account; from daily summaries, eviction and winner announcements to general chatter (terrible science puns).
It's also a great way to find future I'm a Scientist candidates and for you to forward them on to us, if you think they'd be good. If you're generally making a noise, we'll probably already be following you.