- 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-only 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.
- Winners are announced in an Open Chat from 2pm to 3pm on the final day of the Zone.
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-only (no audio or video).
Follow the instructions below to book one for your class.
Log in to I’m a Scientist with your username. You will be taken to your dashboard.
From your dashboard you can navigate to the various activities (‘Zones’) that are taking place.
Find My Zones and select the Zone you want to book a live Chat in.
Create a class
Before you can book a live Chat, you must create a class in your Zone.
Firstly, make sure you are in the correct Zone (select your Zone from the My Zones list on your dashboard).
Click CREATE AND VIEW CLASSES from your Zone dashboard.
You can see a list of all the classes you have created on this page.
Please note, if you have taken part previously, you cannot carry classes over from previous Zones.
Booking a live Chat slot
From your dashboard, click BOOK LIVE CHAT. This will take you to the Chat booking page.
Select which class and Zone you want to make the booking for, and choose your time.
Live Chats last 40 minutes. We recommend you book them for 10 minutes after your lesson start time.
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 AND VIEW CLASSES to see the list of classes you’ve created.
There are two ways to give your students access:
- Give students the unique registration URL (a web link) for their class. Students will be asked to register using an email address, and create a username.
- Click Print login cards to generate 40 usernames and passwords on a pdf document. Print and hand these out to give students instant access.
Students must have a username otherwise they will not be able to access your booked live Chat.
Before your live Chat, make sure you’ve done the following things to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.
- Arrange IT equipment for students (e.g. book computer suite, laptops, or tablets).
I’m a Scientist is a text-only instant messaging-style platform. Students can ask questions directly to the scientists in the live Chat.
- We highly recommend that students are given access to the Zone before their Chat.
Get the admin out of the way before your live Chat, and give your students an opportunity to read the profiles of the scientists taking part and prepare some questions.
For more help with this, see our suggested lesson plans ❯
- Inform your IT department and ask them to add the websites on this list to your network whitelist ❯
This will make sure the live Chat runs with your network security.
- Test the live Chat: Log in with your I’m a Scientist username and visit the Staffroom Chat ❯
The staffroom is open 9am to 5pm, weekdays whilst Zones are running. We recommend you use a student computer or tablet, logged in as one of your students.
Taking part in a live Chat
- When it’s time for your Chat, log in to I’m a Scientist.
- Go to the Zone you booked your live Chat in (you can select Zones from the My Zones list on your dashboard).
When students log in, they will automatically be taken to the Zone their class was created in.
- Click Chat at the top of the page.
- A moderator will have set the live 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 live 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 live Chat emailed to you. You can also see which students have logged in, and what they’ve asked on your Zone 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
- Final day:
- On the final day there is usually a live Chat from 2pm to 3pm
- During this Chat, the Zone Winner will be announced
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.
You can also chat with us in the Staffroom Chat ❯ weekdays 9am to 5pm, whilst Zones are running.
(you must be logged in with your I’m a Scientist username)