Debating Science Issues (DSI), a public speaking competition for secondary schools with a science twist, has launched again this year. Funded by Discover Science & Engineering, DSI aims to engage young people in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Areas like stem cell research, nanotechnology, vaccination or genetically modified foods are amongst the topics up for discussion. Schools that become involved are treated to a three hour interactive workshop from one of the partnering research facilities to ensure they are up to speed on the science but also to get a chance to learn core debating skills. It's a great opportunity to explore often controversial science topics in a competitive environment while learning new skills. St. Columba's took part last year and our pupils found the experience incredibly interesting and engaging. We signed up again for 2012 and are looking to improve on our performance this time 'round.
If you want to sign up, visit the DSI website to see your nearest DSI partner. The competition is limited to just 40 schools, so strike while the iron is hot. Their website contains loads of useful information including a Schools Guide, Topic Guides as well as some interesting feedback from participating teachers and pupils. In fact, the word cloud below shows the most popular words from the feedback they received from teachers who took part in the DSI programme last year.