- How it works
How it works
I’m a Scientist connects students with STEM professionals online.
Once you have given students access, they can:
- Read profiles of scientists in different careers
- Ask them questions
- Chat with them in a 40 minute, text-based live Chat (which you can book for your class)
- Vote for their favourite to win!
For an overview of the activity, please see our How it works page ❯
For more detailed instructions, please read on!
Introducing the activity to students
You can read the text below to brief your students on the activity.
It may help to display the website at the same time.
More ways to run I’m a Scientist
We understand that some schools may face issues in taking part in I’m a Scientist in the “usual” way.
I’m a Scientist is flexible. You don’t need any special software to take part, just a computer or tablet and an internet connection.
The activity can be run in a variety of ways, including from home.
More ways to connect
In addition to the live Chats you can book for your class, there may be extra Chats open to all students.
Students can take part in these extra chats on their own, from home. They just log in – no need to book!
All chats are fully moderated by our DBS-checked team.
Deepen students’ involvement and get families involved by sending information home ❯
- After school live Chats are held on Thursday evenings from 7pm to 8pm.
How to book a live Chat
Live Chats are consistently the most popular part of the activity – for students, for scientists, and even for teachers!
Live Chats last 40 minutes. They are text-based (no audio or video). Watch an example ❯
Follow the instructions below to book one for your class.
Log in to your Zone with your username to access your dashboard.
Create a class
Before you can book a live Chat, you must create a class in your Zone.
Click CREATE CLASS from your dashboard.
You can see a list of all the classes you have created on the CREATE CLASS page. If you have taken part in I’m a Scientist before, you cannot carry classes over from previous Zones.
Booking a live Chat slot
From your dashboard, click BOOK YOUR LIVE CHAT. This will take you to the booking page.
When making a booking, please ensure you have selected the correct class and Zone.
After clicking Confirm Booking, you will get a confirmation email with the next steps.
Before your Chat
It’s a good idea to test things ahead of time, in case there are any issues.
Make sure that students can register and log in, and that the live Chat function works on your organisation’s devices.
Give access to students
Before your Chat, you must give access to your students.
From your dashboard, click CREATE CLASS to see the list of classes you’ve created.
Then you can either:
- Give students the unique registration URL (web address) for their class. Students will be asked to register using an email address, and create a username.
- Print and handout the login cards for your class. This is a list of automatically generated usernames and passwords, giving students immediate access. No email address is required, but students can provide one if they wish.
Students must have a username otherwise they will not be able to access your booked Chat.
Before your live Chat, you will need to:
- Book IT suite/provide internet access for students
- Ask your IT department to add the web pages on this list to your school network whitelist ❯
- Test the Chat – Go to the Staffroom Chat between 9am and 5pm any day during your Zone
Taking part in a live Chat
- When it’s time for your Chat, log in to your Zone.
- Click the ‘Chat’ button on the top of the page.
- A moderator will have set the Chat up for you.
- Only students in your class can access your booked Chat.
- If you have any issues call us ASAP on 01225 326 892.
The Chat page:
Suggested lesson plans
We’ve prepared 3 lesson plans which are designed to increase your students’ engagement with the activity. They involve 2 preparatory lessons, followed by your live Chat.
The lesson plans have been developed in consultation with teachers and have been extensively tested. Most teachers find them extremely helpful.
Safeguarding and privacy
All interactions between students and scientists are checked and moderated by our DBS-checked team.
In live Chats teachers can monitor what’s said, and you have the ability to delete messages. Afterwards, you’ll get a transcript of your Chat emailed to you. You can also see which students have logged in, and what they’ve asked on your dashboard.
Student details are private on the site – scientists only see a ‘display name’.
Benefits for students
Taking part supports the science capital teaching approach, helping students see STEM as ‘for them’.
Research has found that I’m a Scientist supports four of the science capital dimensions. Read the report ❯
I’m a Scientist also supports careers development, as measured by the Gatsby Good Careers Guidance Benchmarks. Read more ❯
Some suggested extension activities you can do with your class:
- Go through your Chat transcript (this will be emailed to you after your live Chat)
- Review questions asked by your students (you can see what your students have asked from your dashboard)
- Set an evening Chat as homework
- Evening Chats are 7pm to 8pm on Thursdays during the Zone
- Students can join these from home with their family and friends
Tips for first timers
We asked teachers what tips they would give to other teachers taking part in I’m a Scientist for the first time.
Here are the most common answers:
- Spend more time preparing students
Run lessons 1 and 2 before the live chat lesson to prepare students.
“We have just had our live Chat. It was the best yet I think, because we had spent much more time on preliminary activities so we had loads of questions to ask.”
- Involve more students
- Encourage students to be creative with their questions
There are better ways to use the activity than using the scientists as Googlers.
“Get the students to investigate the interests and subject of study of each scientist, so they can ask appropriate and useful questions.”
We’re here to help. If you should have any questions, or need a hand with anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (+44) 01225 326 892.