Classroom resources for the new school year
Are you looking for free and engaging educational resources to use in your classroom? Look no further!
As students and teachers head back to school, why not use our free educational resources in your lessons? At Futurum, we work with researchers and academics from all disciplines to create classroom resources for schools. Each article explains the researcher’s work in a clear and engaging way and provides advice for students interested in pursuing a career in the field. All articles are accompanied by an activity sheet to assist with lesson planning. The activity sheets contain talking points based on Bloom’s taxonomy to encourage students to discuss, analyse and evaluate the research project, and practical, hands-on activities that can be done in the classroom. Some resources also include animations, PowerPoints and translations.
Whatever subject you teach, we are sure to have resources for you!
Geometry – Dr Sam Ballas is studying the geometry of surfaces. Students can explore whether a sphere is a 2D or 3D shape and learn how, to a topologist, a coffee cup is the same shape as a donut!
Networks – Any network, from the neurons and synapses forming our brain to our social interactions with friends, can be modelled mathematically. Students are introduced to the work of Dr Zach Boyd, who is mathematically modelling global supply chains, before analysing networks found in nature and constructing supply chain networks of their own.
Discrete mathematics – Despite being a relatively simple puzzle that is commonly found in children’s toy shops, the Tower of Hanoi demonstrates some complex mathematical theories. Professor Dan Romik is uncovering the mathematical surprises hidden in this brain teaser. Can your students solve the Tower of Hanoi?
Mathematical methods – Dr James Tanton is the founder of the Global Math Project, a worldwide movement of teachers committed to inspiring a love of mathematics in students. Introduce your students to the ‘exploding dots’ technique that can be used to solve any mathematical problem.
Poetry – Professor Will May helped establish the Poetry Ambassadors scheme, allowing aspiring young poets to be mentored by experienced poets. Students are introduced to poets in the scheme and encouraged to read and analyse their poetry. They can also have a go at writing poems of their own.
Literature – Professor Eithne Quinn is investigating the consequences of rap lyrics being used as evidence in criminal trials. After exploring the structural racism behind this practice, students are tasked with analysing song lyrics or stories and building a hypothetical court case against the author, to demonstrate how problematic it is to assume any written work is autobiographical.
Plant biology – Dr Sue Rhee and Dr Selena Rice are building the Plant Cell Atlas, a comprehensive collection of everything scientists know about plant cells so far. Students can explore how plants function at a cellular level.
Ecology – Although many species are currently threatened with extinction, there are some success stories of species that have recovered, thanks to the efforts of conservationists. Dr Molly Grace is developing a tool to monitor species recovery, and students can assess how different species are faring due to human interference.
Evolution – Dr Ashley Heers is investigating how birds developed flight and considering the question of how wings evolved. Students can explore why some birds have since lost the ability to fly and how many animals have ‘vestigial structures’ that, over the course of evolution, are no longer used for their original function.
Proteins –The genetic information that defines us is stored in the DNA in our cells. This information is then translated into the proteins that are essential for life. Students can learn how Dr Georg Kustatscher is discovering how our cells regulate the amount of proteins produced, and what happens when this process goes wrong.
Vaccination – Dr Matt Reeves is developing a vaccine against human cytomegalovirus. After learning how viruses infect cells, how latent viruses function and how vaccines are developed, students are tasked with creating a leaflet to encourage at-risk populations to get vaccinated.
Chemical reactions – Professor Irving Epstein is investigating oscillating chemical reactions. Students can conduct their own experiments to demonstrate linear and nonlinear chemical reactions, by creating red cabbage pH indicators and mixing ink with water.
Air chemistry – Everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning are sources of indoor air pollution that can affect human health. After learning how Professor Nicola Carslaw is studying the chemistry of indoor air pollutants, students can consider their exposure to sources of pollution throughout a typical day.
Catalysts – Professor John Keith is searching for a catalyst that will help chemists combat climate change by efficiently extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Students are tasked with investigating catalysts used in industrial processes and living organisms.
Atomic structure – Dr Jacek Dobaczewski is hoping to uncover the rules that define the interactions of protons and neutrons. Students are encouraged to use LEGO to explore concepts in nuclear physics.
Energy storage – As a society, we are dependent on energy. But after it is produced, this energy often needs to be stored until it is used. Professor Jenny Pringle is developing cleaner, safer and more efficient batteries and students can try creating a battery of their own. What voltage can they generate from a lemon, two coins and some kitchen foil?
X-rays – The X-ray Materials Science project uses X-ray radiation for a huge range of applications, from investigating the structure of bones to developing new electronics. Students can complete materials science activities, such as conducting experiments to explore the effect of surface area during reactions.
Space – With the technology developed by Dr Sam Rowe, Dr Víctor Gómez and Marcial Tapia, the electromagnetic radiation from stars can be analysed to help us learn how very large stars form. After learning about the physics behind this technology, students are encouraged to go star gazing to explore the night sky themselves.
Flooding – Professor João Porto de Albuquerque is engaging communities in Brazil to help them better predict and prepare for flooding events. As well as creating their own rain gauge to monitor rainfall, students are tasked with developing their geographical information system (GIS) skills by mapping their neighbourhood.
Migration – Although migration is a commonly-discussed topic, most people do not migrate, even if they could. Dr Daniel Robins is researching why people stay, and students can conduct their own research project into their peers’ sense of belonging.
Urbanisation – Dr Josephine Malonza and Dr Shilpi Roy are investigating how cities can grow sustainably to ensure all citizens have access to basic infrastructure. Using Google Earth, students can visually explore how urban areas have expanded in recent decades.
Economic geography – Professor Sarah Hall is studying the effects of Brexit on financial services. After learning how economic geographers conduct research, students can design their own board game based on concepts of economic geography.
Tudors – Professor Anthony Musson and Dr John Cooper are investigating what happened when Henry VIII went on tour around England. After researching the houses where Henry stayed, students are tasked with writing instructions for the household to prepare them for Henry’s arrival.
Early civilisations – By conducting archaeological excavations in Jordan, Dr Lisa Maher and Dr Danielle Macdonald are investigating what human societies were like 20,000 years ago. Students can consider what clues different artefacts provide.
Religion, Philosophy and Ethics
World religions – Dr Emma Wild-Wood is studying how faith informs responses to COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Students can explore how the World Health Organization engages religious leaders and faith communities during public health emergencies.
Minority religions – Professor Erica Baffelli is exploring how minority religions in Japan are perceived and portrayed, and what this means for their followers. Students learn how followers of minority religions can be both marginalised and empowered in society.
Philosophy – Professor Thomas Schramme is developing a philosophical theory to explain the connection between empathy and interpersonal understanding. Students can reflect on their own empathetic abilities and explore how they can become better at understanding the viewpoints of others.
Human rights – Professor Todd Landman is promoting human rights in order to end modern slavery. After learning why human rights are important for all of us and uncovering unethical situations in which these rights are abused, students can explore where their own everyday items were made and research the working and living conditions for the people who made them.
Electronic music – Professor Monty Adkins and Dr Sam Gillies are exploring the life and works of Roberto Gerhard, the pioneer of electronic music. Students can listen to recordings of Gerhard’s work, analyse his music and create electronic compositions of their own.
Art and Design
Art history – Dr Harriet Atkinson is investigating how art and design were used in propaganda during World War II, and how this influenced the attitudes of society. Students can then research how art influenced public opinion during the Cold War.
Design – How do fonts communicate messages? After learning how Dr Keith Murphy is exploring the role fonts play in written and visual communication, students are tasked with designing their own font to promote a business of their choice.
Online security – Dr Jason Hong and Dr Laura Dabbish are exploring how we interact with the digital world and what this means for our cybersecurity. Students can consider their own levels of online privacy and security then design a social media campaign to encourage others to keep their data secure.
Language processing – Although computers are very good at solving mathematical problems, they still struggle to comprehend human language. After learning how Professor Yulan He is trying to address this challenge, students can explore how emphasis and context clues in speech and text help us to understand meaning.
Many of our research articles and activity sheet have been translated into foreign languages, including Spanish, French, German, Mandarin and Arabic. Look for them on our translated articles page.