Teacher Resources

Over the course of this year, your students will take part in six termly CHATs, ASK questions to, and VOTE for their favourite scientists and researchers at Oxford University.

Through following the scientists’ research over the year, your students will learn about their lives and what they do outside work, as well as getting advice on careers or university.

We’ve prepared the information below to help you and your students get the most benefit out of the activity.

Quickstart – what to do first

  1. Email kathryn.boast@hertford.ox.ac.uk to book your live CHATs.
    You must email Kathryn at least 1 week in advance, with your preferred dates, times and class ability (low, medium, high or mixed).
    You get up to 6 chats per class. You can book all chats for the year now, or book some later on.
  2. Get students to fill out the pre-activity survey
    You’ll get printed copies in the post. These will help us find out the benefits of taking part.
  3. Hand out login stickers.
    Get students to stick them in their planners. Once logged in, students can:
    – Create a nickname to be shown when they post on the site
    – Answer questions on their own profiles to tell the scientists a bit about themselves
    – Read the scientists’ and researchers profiles and start to ASK questions
  4. Throughout the year, students post questions in ASK, have six live CHATs with the scientists and VOTE for who they think deserves to win!
    Encourage your students to log in outside of lesson times to find out what the scientists are currently working on.

How it works

How much time should you spend on the activity?
Minimum: 2 hours per term

Each term, we suggest one introductory lesson or piece of homework reading scientists’ profiles and posting questions in ASK, and one lesson of live CHAT with the scientists and researchers. 

Over the year, students should find out what the scientists have been up to since they last spoke, to discover what a year at Oxford University is like.

Live CHATs
Book your live chat sessions each term by emailing kathryn.boast@hertford.ox.ac.uk, with the dates, times and class ability that suits you.

You can book all chats for the year now, or book later chats later in the year. We suggest you book early as slots get snapped up fast! Live chats are 30 minutes long and text based, so no sound or video is required. The class will need to log in at least 10 minutes before the chat is due to start.

Students can also VOTE for their favourite scientist or researcher, with three winners announced throughout the year. Students can change their vote at any time until voting deadlines, and they get a new vote after each announcement.

Voting deadlines:

  • December Winner announced: 3pm, Friday 13th December 2019
  • March Winner announced: 3pm, Friday 27th March 2020
  • July Winner announced: 3pm, Friday 17th July 2020

Scientists are also asked to nominate a Student Winner – one who’s made the most of the event, shown enthusiasm and asked some really great questions. Six Student Winners will be announced throughout the year, and if one of your students is nominated winner, we’ll email you to let you know.

Lesson plans and resources

There are many ways to use the I’m a Scientist activity. We have three suggested lesson plans which you can use each term to help students get to know the scientists, as well as get them thinking about careers and university.

It’s often useful to have a preparation lesson in a computer room so students can explore the scientists’ profiles independently and ASK questions ahead of their live CHATs.

Useful Links

  • Guide to live chat transcripts (PDF) – live chat transcripts can be useful tools for the students to reflect on the lesson, and to look in more detail at the questions and answers from the chat. This guide will show you how to download the transcript, and how to use the data in the file.
  • Student Data: What we ask for and why (PDF) – about how we use students information in compliance with GDPR.

If you get stuck at any point during the activity, get in touch via email: admin@imascientist.org.uk
Call us if your question is urgent – 01225 326892.

Teacher tips

Other teachers’ experiences:

  1. Read all information up front and familiarise yourself with the website.
  2. Test the IT before the live chat – look out for emails about the drop in test session.
  3. Do the prep lessons. “I found a big difference between the two groups with differing prep.
  4. Print the scientists’ profiles for the lesson before the chat and get students to plan their questions.
  5. Be clear about expectations in live chats: avoid spam, encourage students to be patient when waiting for answers.
  6. Remind students the activity is ongoing when you see them – encourage them to log in outside lesson time throughout the year.

After the activity

At the end of the year, get your students to fill out the post-activity survey we send to you. This helps us to evaluate the impact of the project and find out how it has benefitted your students.

If you have any other feedback about the activity, please let us know!