Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to frequently asked questions from teachers. If it doesn’t help, and you’ve still got questions, then please email us on admin@imascientist.org.uk or call us on 01225 326 892.

How do I log in?

I’ve forgotten my password, what do I do?

What is this site about?

What can I do on the site?

How can I book a live chat?

What sort of questions should students be asking?

Are there any IT checks we should do before the event?

Chat seems to be blocked, what can I do?

I’m having problems with the website. What should I do?

Why are the scientists in the Gallery in that order?

What’s all this about ‘My Science Words’?

Have you got a video that explains this more easily?

Can the students win anything?

How do I give feedback?

When are evictions?

What’s all this about £500 prize money?

How do I log in?

First apply to take part. We only send log in details to teachers who are allocated classes in the event. You will be emailed your username and password. Click “Log In” at the top right of this page, and enter your log in details.

I’ve forgotten my password, what do I do?

Don’t worry, there’s various things to try:-

1. We emailed a copy of your username and password when we allocated you a place in the event. If you can, go back and check that email.

2. If you’ve deleted that email, or you can’t check it at the moment, then click on the forgotten password link and we can email it to you again.

3. If that doesn’t work (for example, if you didn’t give us an email address) then you can email us at admin@imascientist.org.uk telling us your name and username. We’ll then email you a new password.

What is this site about?

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! is an online event where students get to meet and interact with real scientists. It’s an X Factor-style competition between the scientists, where students are the judges.

Students submit questions which the scientists will try to answer by the next day. Students then have live online MSN-style chats with the scientists, where they ask questions, learn more about the scientists, and let scientists know their opinions. It takes place online over a two week period. The students then vote to decide which scientist gets £500 to spend on science communication.

You can only talk on the site if you are one of the students, teachers or scientists who are taking part. And you can only vote if you are one of the students, but anyone can look around and read what is being said. Go on, have a look. From the main log in page, just pick a zone and browse around!

During the event young people use web technology they feel comfortable with, to ‘meet’ scientists. They ask questions and have live chats with scientists, and then vote for their favourite. The winning scientist will receive £500, to be used to communicate their work.

I’m a Scientist brings people together, gives young people a voice and teaches them about science and scientists in a fun, memorable and engaging way.

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! is produced by Gallomanor, specialists in helping organisations engage their communities.

What can I do on the site?

Students can:

  • ‘Meet’ the scientists
  • ASK them questions
  • Let scientists know their opinions
  • Find out what real scientists are like and what they do all day
  • Engage in live discussion about real-life science
  • CHAT live with scientists and ask them questions
  • Choose which scientist they think should get £500 by VOTING for the scientist they want to win
  • Enter a contest to win £20 in WHSmith vouchers
  • Find links to science information, and study help, on the web

Scientists can:

  • Engage with young people
  • Contribute to science education
  • Hear what students and teachers have to say about science
  • Hear about the work other scientists are doing
  • Get awarded £500 to spend on science communication if they impress the students enough!

Teachers can:

  • Show their classes how science works in the real world
  • Download and use lesson plans and resources
  • Get support for teaching the How Science Works part of the curriculum
  • Make science lessons fun!

We hope everyone will find I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! useful, engaging, and enjoyable. Explore the site, check out the scientists’ profiles, the live chats and all the questions that have been asked before, and… have fun!

How can I book a live chat?

To make a booking you first need to register using your access code from the front page of your teacher briefing notes:

  1. Once logged in go to https://imascientist.org.uk/live-chat where you should see the live chat booking form
  2. Fill in the details for your class’s desired chat
  3. Click ‘Request booking’
  4. The form will ask you to check the details, and confirm these are correct. Click confirm.
  5. You will see a confirmation, and we will email the details to you.
  6. If you wish to cancel a chat, email us at admin@imascientist.org.uk
  • We’ll give every class one live chat
  • We find that 30 minute chats are most popular, although 20 and 40 minute chats also work well
  • We can only run one live chat at a time in each zone, and will leave 10 minutes between chats ending and starting to give time to close and reopen the chatroom
  • We’ll run a maximum of 3 chats per day in each zone
  • To see what live chats are already booked you can filter by zone and/or date using the Bookings box on the right of the page. Please check your desired time slot is free before making the booking using the form below.
  • Please request your live chats before the event starts so we can do our best to fit them in
  • If you request live chats once the event has started we will try to fit them in, but cannot promise anything
  • Please do let us know if for any reason, such as illness, you’re unable to make a live chat. We can then let the scientists know so they can get back to their day jobs!

What sort of questions should students be asking?

We aren’t prescriptive. It’s good that students feel emboldened to ask the questions they really want to! We’ll take out gratuitously rude ones…

But the idea is that they learn about how science REALLY works by talking to real scientists, get to know the scientists as people, and also learn some substantive science in the process. To give some examples:-

About the scientists

  • What was your favourite subject at school?
  • What are your hobbies?

General science questions

  • What causes a rainbow?
  • How much does a human brain weigh?

What would the scientists do with the prize money?

  • Why do you want to go to this conference in America? Couldn’t you go to one in the developing world instead?
  • How will you get people to read the leaflets you plan to write?

About being a scientist

  • Why did you want to become a scientist?
  • Do you get on with the people you work with?

About the scientists research

  • Would the drug you’re developing be very expensive?
  • What if your GM plants past on pesticide resistance to weeds?
  • What is the control in your experiment?
  • How do you know your sample is big enough to be representative?
  • How many people might be helped by the drug you are developing?
  • Will your work with telescopes help us to find aliens?

Are there any IT checks we should do before the event?

Problems with the site are rare, but we have designed some brief checks which you can do well before the event begins, so that we or you are able to sort them out painlessly. The checks are detailed here.

Chat seems to be blocked, what can I do?

There are a few things that are most likely stopping the chat system from working. They are quite techy so you may want to refer your IT support technician to this page:

1. The chat system uses Javascript. You need to have Javascript enabled and this is normal.

2. Many schools use net filters based on keywords such as chat. Please ask for www.imascientist.org.uk to be whitelisted.

Please contact us on 01225 326892if you’ve checked this and it still doesn’t work.

I’m having problems with the website. What should I do?

Lots of problems can be caused by cookies not working on your machine. Make sure cookies are turned on.

You may occasionally not be able to see the latest pages or answers. Usually clicking refresh will sort it out. If not, try clearing the cache (Tools>options>clear cache or clear/delete private data, in most browsers).

If you’re still having problems please email support@imascientist.org.uk or visit the staffroom between 9-5 during the event.

Why are the scientists in the Gallery in that order?

The scientists appear in the Gallery in reverse alphabetical order (we mean, people called Z first and people called A last). This is because research has shown that people whose names begin with letters near the start of the alphabet tend to be more successful in life (http://www.quirkology.com/UK/Experiment_surname.shtml). Maybe because they are always first in lists!

Here at I’m a Scientist we think life should be more fair, and we try to do our bit to make it fairer. So we are putting the people from the end of the alphabet first for once.

What’s all this about ‘My Science Words’?

‘My Science Words’ is an activity for the students that involves listing all the words ‘science’ makes them think of at the start of the event. Then, at the end of the event students can revisit the list and add/remove any words they see fit. So, for example, they might have written ‘boring’ on the first list, but want to cross that out now and add the word ‘approachable’. OK, that’s the kind of thing we are hoping for, obviously.

They can then discuss in pairs and small groups what words they have added or taken away. They can compare their lists and their changes and reflect upon and discuss how their ideas or feelings about science have been affected by taking part.

It may sound simple but it’s actually a fantastic way for students to reflect upon their own learning during the project. As I’m sure you know better than we do, reflecting on what you’ve learnt is a crucial step in really developing skills and moving to another level. We think students will be surprised by how they realise their ideas have changed.

To fill in their science words, students go to their profile and click on ‘edit my profile’. They can see their own science words, but not other people’s, and no-one else can see theirs. We feel this encourages students to be completely open with their learning experience.

Teachers also have a ‘My Science Words’ section which can be used to record a whole class list.

The ‘My Science Words’ activity is based on techniques developed for museums and other ‘non-curricular’ learning settings. In a classroom setting you may have a defined intended learning outcome for a lesson – to do with an understanding of ohm’s law or the properties of enzymes or whatever – which it is relatively straightforward to test. In settings like museums or art galleries it’s less easy to try to look at what people have learned – they all start off knowing different things, they do different things when they are in the building, and also some of the ways we hope people might change (e.g. by feeling that history is more relevant to them), are more difficult to measure than seeing if they get V=IR right.

I’m a Scientist is a little bit like museums or art galleries in this way – it’s intended to affect the way students feel about science, and develop skills, rather than teaching them any specific facts. Which is why we use this particular activity to try to gauge student’s learning and get them reflecting on the experience.

Have you got a video that explains this more easily?

Yes we do!

We’ve put together this great video that we think sums things up nicely! Take a look – you may even have a starring role if you’ve participated before!

Can the students win anything?

In each zone we pick a student winner at the end of the event. This is the young person who, in the opinion of the moderators, has asked the best questions and participated fully in the event!

The student winner gets £20 WH Smiths vouchers (Easons in Northern Ireland). Headteachers in the past have made a big thing out of presenting the vouchers to the winning students so encourage yours to be active out of class and it could be someone from your school who wins in your zone!

You or your students can also print off individual participation certificates for your students from their profiles. These help the students feel they have done something important. They show who the student voted for, and give investigating achievements for asking questions and decision-making achievements for voting.

How do I give feedback?

All feedback is greatly appreciated. We take everything you tell us on board and this helps us to make the event even better each time. Positive comments are also very welcome and make us feel good about all the work that goes in.

If you have any comments please email us at admin@imascientist.org.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

When are evictions?

All evictions happen in the second week of the event.

  • The first scientist will be evicted at 3pm on the second Tuesday of the event.
  • Further evictions will be at 3pm every day that week.
  • The last scientist will be evicted, and the winner announced, at 3pm on the last Friday of the event.

After each eviction the votes are cleared and students can vote again for the scientist they want to win. Students can change who they’re voting for during each round – only their most recent vote counts.

What’s all this about £500 prize money?

The winning scientist in each zone (as voted for by the students) wins £500 to be spent on a science communication project, to publicise or communicate the scientists research or research area.

This could mean lots of things – visiting schools, arranging class visits to a laboratory, creating a website, taking an exhibit to a festival, printing leaflets, making a video or podcasts, commissioning a poem, painting a mural – any form of science communication.

Some previous examples include:

  • Buying equipment to allow a research oceanography vessel to communicate with school students
  • Funding a community open day for mothers and children involved in a medical research project to find out about the research and get health advice
  • Giving the money to a school in Uganda to pay for science kits and a projector to watch science films on
  • Funding scientist visits to schools, or school visits to labs
  • Buying a touchscreen for a local zoo, to help show visitors more about the primate research done there

Usually when scientists win a grant they have to write a long evaluation report detailing how they spent they money. But we don’t ask them to do that. We ask the scientists to write a short report that we’ll put up on the I’m a Scientist site, to tell the students who voted for them how they spent the money.

Some examples of winners reports are Martin Coath, Katy Milne and Andrew Maynard.

Most of all we hope that the scientists enjoy using the money for science communication!