In the same way many others did, in mid-March we found ourselves sat behind our desks with the doors to our university labs firmly locked for an unknown period of time. This website and associated resources have been created during this time, but we hope that they will have a lifetime well beyond these strange months.
So, who are we?
We are a group of four first year PhD students at the CDT in Sustainable Chemistry, based at the University of Nottingham. All with a background in chemistry, prior to the university closure we were working on a collaborative project based on the circular economy, specifically waste valourisation. Just as we were about to embark on a period of practical work which would make up the bulk of our first year, we hung up our lab coats and headed to the safety of our respective homes.
Following a brainstorm of ideas on how we could ensure we would be doing something "useful", collaborative and virtually during the closure, we landed upon creating educational resources based on different areas of the circular economy.
And what are the aims of the site?
Once we had decided on creating educational resources the website idea emerged out of considering how the resources we created could be easily accessible, having maximum impact. With a large amount of education taking place at kitchen tables, and classrooms likely to look quite different when students head back to school, the resources have been created with flexibility and versatility in mind.
We have created lessons plan which are simple to follow, which also provide background information for educators on all topics, and can be adapted to various teaching situations. Most topics covered are complimentary to areas of the English GCSE curriculum, however can also be adapted for different audiences. The overarching aim is that all resources can be used in a variety of ways to suit the students and teachers.
Along the same lines, the second part of this website is aimed for use 'At Home'. The focus of this section is practical activities which can be carried out in kitchens up and down the country, for scientists and engineers of all ages to enjoy!
Why the Circular Economy?
All the resources are based around the Circular Economy, not only because it is the area our future PhD projects sit in, but also because it is an area in which interest is growing exponentially. It is a topic which is gaining a lot of interest in both the research and business communities alike, and has been highlighted as an area which can make a huge impact on sustainability. For this reason we think that students should be introduced to topics in their education so they can be future leaders in the field of the Circular Economy!
We hope everyone visiting finds the content on this site useful and insightful, and we want to finish with the message that we strongly encourage educators to adapt the resources in a way which works best for them.