SciberBrain: promoting science and ethics in the classroom

The Biochemical Society has received a one-year $150,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund to support the further development of the free online teaching resource SciberBrain. SciberBrain supports training, events and web resources for the teaching of ethical issues in the secondary science curriculum on topics.

The innovative resources enable teachers and students to address aspects of accurate, up-to-date science through unbiased discussion. The free Dialogue in Science CPD teacher workshops provide training and resources for teachers to engage their pupils in balanced discussions. Over the last three years the Society has run workshops for over 450 students and over 300 teachers, trainee teachers and scientists.

The grant from the Monsanto Fund will allow:

  • continuation of the free Dialogue in Science CPD courses for teachers;
  • maintenance of the SciberBrain website;
  • extension of the resources to support A-level students;
  • development of resources to support cross-curricular dialogue events;
  • expansion of our school science work in Uganda;
  • development of frameworks to ensure events can be replicated and adapted to suit institutional cultures and facilities in both the UK and Uganda.

Gemma Garrett, Head of Education, Biochemical Society, said ‘It was in early 2007, that the Monsanto Fund first awarded the Biochemical Society a grant to develop a range of science education initiatives for UK schools under the banner of ‘SciberBrain’. The resources were originally designed in response to requests from teachers wanting more support to facilitate classroom discussions on controversial scientific topics, an aspect that they were finding particularly challenging. This further support will enable us to provide events and resources which are accessible to the wide range of facilities and capabilities found across the spectrum of secondary education. Through this support, we hope to help teachers to nurture reflective and critical attitudes to media messages in future scientists and citizens.’

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