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What it's like to take students on their ICE CityZen journey

07 June 2023

Lynsey Robinson, chemistry and physics teacher at Hillhead High School, shares her experience participating in this innovative STEM activity.

What it's like to take students on their ICE CityZen journey
The 2022 ICE CityZen Award winners at the ICE HQ. From left to right: mentor Mhairi Porteous, students Carl Hass, Anas Al Aoubaedy, Finlay Hood, Murrad Al Dabbagh and teacher Lynsey Robinson.

Our pupils at Hillhead High School started their ICE CityZen journey by participating in weekly civil engineering challenges online.

I was most impressed by the programme and how it allowed the pupils to develop their communication, numeracy, digital and leadership skills.

The programme was modern, progressive and best of all much fun for the pupils.

It created a great buzz in the classroom and a competitive spirit amongst teams!

How did ICE CityZen fit in with your school’s curriculum?

At Hillhead High School we’ve worked hard to provide an extensive wider curriculum that provides opportunities for all pupils to engage in valuable experiences.

The ICE CityZen project complemented this perfectly!

The online tasks provided problem-solving scenarios for the pupils to analyse.

They encouraged them to consider a number of different variables such as cost, sustainability and the local environment. It also complemented the higher physics course and the wider themes of learning for sustainability.

The pupils also learned about the different career paths involved in engineering and the links made with other fields and industries.

It provided a fantastic platform for inter-disciplinary learning which we’re passionate about.

They used numeracy and literacy skills to develop their ideas and articulate them.

It also developed communication, teamwork and leadership skills in the pupils.

What did your winning students submit to CityZen?

When it came to creating the video for the competition entry, the pupils were very motivated and enthusiastic.

The prize-winning team from our higher physics class, Murad, Finlay, Anas and Carl, spent many hours of their own time filming and editing their ideas.

They decided to focus on the lack of efficient, viable transport links from Glasgow City Centre to Glasgow airport.

They looked at older transport systems which were still in place but not being used.

Then they investigated a cost-effective method for them to be re-integrated into the current system, considering the effects on the local environment.

We were so impressed by their initiative and determination.

Their success has been celebrated throughout the school’s community.

How did you find working with an ICE STEM ambassador?

CityZen also allowed us to make links with the industry and private sector by working alongside Mhairi Porteous from Fairhurst engineering.

Mhairi was a great source of inspiration and support.

She engaged our pupils by coming to the school to meet with them and chat about her education, career and day-to-day life as a civil engineer.

As a female engineer, Mhairi was an excellent role model and was able to inspire pupils, particularly girls who are keen to study physics and engineering further.

Mhairi continued to support our pupils by coming into the lessons to chat about their ideas and give advice about how things work in practice.

We now have another STEM ambassador that we can work with to inspire and encourage our pupils, which is fantastic.

And, one of our pupils is hoping to do some work experience with Fairhurst Engineering this summer!

Interested in becoming a STEM ambassador?

Engaging students with STEM can be highly effective by interacting with a STEM ambassador.

With their wealth of experience, ICE STEM ambassadors offer valuable insights into the complex decisions related to infrastructure planning, which are replicated in the CityZen game.

Joining as an ICE STEM ambassador is a simple process, and it’s free to sign up.

Join now

Did ICE CityZen inspire an interest in STEM in your students?

Pupils who took part are now looking for opportunities to access work experience in this field and find out more.

We’re also hoping this will inspire our junior pupils to take part next year.

All pupils in the class received a lovely certificate for participating and completing the online challenges, which they were delighted with.

This provides a fantastic opportunity to impress future employers, universities and colleges with their skills and determination.

How did you celebrate your students’ success?

The experience of travelling to London to meet ICE President Keith Howells and other finalists at the ICE headquarters was a rewarding and unforgettable experience for everyone.

The pupils thoroughly enjoyed their day and were excited to hear more about the history and progress of the ICE.

As an educator, it really opened my to the changing world and the opportunities available to our pupils.

As a teacher, what did you gain from participating in ICE CityZen?

As a teacher, I found the programme very inspiring.

It incorporated some of the curricular themes around developing our young work force and encouraged students to look at how engineers are trying to solve some major issues in the midst of global warming and a cost of living crisis.

Tell us about the prizes won!

The school and the pupils also received a financial reward for winning the competition which will go towards developing our resources as a school.

The pupils are also excited about what they can buy with their well-deserved money!

We also received a wave tank as part of our prize from JBA and had a fantastic presentation which inspired us to learn more about coastal defenses and environmental issues.

We will definitely be bringing this out for science classes in future!

Take part

I'd highly recommend this competition to other schools.

I was so impressed by how organised and easy to access the online weekly challenge were and the resources available on the ICE website! We will definitely be taking part next year!

Find out how to take part in the 2024-5 ICE CityZen Award

  • Lynsey Robinson, chemistry and physics teacher at Hillhead High School