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Brought to you by Pfizer: Inspiring the students behind the next life-changing breakthrough

Explore new, free STEM resources and careers videos for you to use in your classroom, designed to inspire students to connect with the power of science and imagine a career in STEM differently.

Explore new, free STEM resources and careers videos for you to use in your classroom, designed to inspire students to connect with the power of science and imagine a career in STEM differently.

4 Nov 2023, 8:06

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“Why are we learning this?”

Teachers have told us that they’ve all had to deal with that classic classroom question: “when am I going to use this in real life?”

Researchers have coined the term ‘science capital’ to describe students’ science knowledge, habits, attitudes and networks – and, unsurprisingly, while some students have lots of it, others arrive to the classroom with much less[1]. It’s those students who are less likely to see themselves as ‘sciencey’ or engage with the subject.

At Pfizer, we believe the best way to address these challenges is to inspire students, foster their curiosity and challenge their perceptions of STEM subjects.

We’re aiming to support teachers to bring science to life and highlight the vital role science plays in modern life, potentially in ways some students won’t have considered, to improve how students engage in the subject.

But we recognise this isn’t easy. If you’re having trouble finding the time to make those meaningful real-world connections, you’re not alone. In the Science Teaching Survey 2022, 48% of respondents said that they find it difficult to carve out the time for planning. [2]

That’s why we partnered with the Academies Enterprise Trust, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and The Careers and Enterprise Company to create the Breakthrough Science programme – to support teachers to inspire the students who could be behind the next life-changing breakthrough.

It draws on the expertise of STEM professionals across our business, to create ready-made lesson plans that busy science teachers can use to bring science topics to life.

“We love programmes like this that promote the opportunities out there and raise the idea that actually there’s a lot of science out there in the real world.”

James Webster, Head of Science, Ryde Academy

The programme features two teaching packs for students aged 11-14 (covering separating techniques and acids and bases) and two packs for ages 14-16 (covering clinical trials and testing for purity). Each pack contains everything you need to get started, with slides, worksheets, and a full teacher guide.  They feature exciting behind-the-scenes photos, examples and quotes from some scientists and other STEM professionals to bring real-world relevance to each topic.

“The lesson content raised awareness of the relevance of science to the real world.”

Ms Crowe, Assistant Vice Principal, New Forest Academy

76% of students agreed or strongly agreed that “Making the lesson link in with real life made it easier to learn.” [3]

Alongside the teaching packs, there are ten inspiring Science Stories: case study videos featuring Pfizer colleagues and NIHR employees [4].  Each person talks directly to students – sharing their own education journey and talking about the key skills they use at work. In a launch pilot we delivered in July, students loved this detail – hearing what subjects the different professionals studied and how they dealt with setbacks. By showcasing real people doing real jobs within the industry, we hope this can make it easier to weave careers into the science curriculum and follow best practice to deliver on the Gatsby Benchmarks.[5]

Watch the full playlist here

“I was able to share examples of a range of different people in a range of different jobs that the students found really engaging. They wanted to go through each example!”

Ms Turner, Head of Science, Four Dwellings Academy

68% of students were surprised by the different roles of people working in science [6]

We hope that resources like these give teachers more ways to break the stereotypes associated with what a career in STEM looks like – so students know that there’s a range of meaningful careers out there, available to people of all backgrounds and with a diverse range of skills.

All students deserve to feel that STEM is open to them – and should have a chance to connect with the power of science. Breakthrough Science aims to do just that. It gives educators more tools to motivate students, by showcasing the importance of life sciences, and is a great way to get them thinking about what part they can play in helping to build a healthier, happier society.

Will your students be behind the next life-changing breakthrough?

Breakthrough Science lesson resources and Science Stories are available now for free from the Pfizer website.


[1] https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10080166/1/the-science-capital-teaching-approach-pack-for-teachers.pdf

[2] Survey by the Royal Society of Chemistry: https://www.rsc.org/policy-evidence-campaigns/chemistry-education/education-reports-surveys-campaigns/the-science-teaching-survey/2022/too-much-content-not-enough-time/

[3] of 98 students surveyed in the pilot phase – Pfizer Data on File

[4] National Institute for Health and Care Research

[5] https://www.gatsby.org.uk/education/focus-areas/good-career-guidance

[6] of 98 students surveyed in the pilot phase – Pfizer Data on File

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