Welcome to KATS!

Welcome to the Kids Action Thru Science (KATS) blog! This is an education programme developed as part of the Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub. It is designed to engage children as citizen scientists with a focus on the UN SDGs.

Here we will post information and updates about Newcastle University’s KATS project. Please explore the various pages to learn about KATS, the different projects we have delivered (UK, Puffin Project, EFECTS, Barbados and India), our team, any updates or events and how to contact us. Stay tuned for updates….meanwhile, find out more about our recent projects!

KATS: North East Combined Authority Competition Winners go on Puffin Cruise!

Last week the KATS team took out St Teresa’s Primary and Allendale Primary on some Puffin Cruises around the Farne Islands to say a massive thank you for participating in the KATS: North East Combined Authority competition. Five students from St Teresa’s and five students from Allendale made it to the Top 10!

The children got to put everything that they have learnt about the threats to lcoal biodiversity into practice by becoming the ‘Puffarazzi’ and became news anchors by reporting on the ‘KATS Global Network’.

It was a bit choppy at times but everyone loved the adventure of it all. This will be an experience that the children will never ever forget. Thank you to the North East Combined Authority for supporting the KATS project and making this all possible.

KATS: North East Combined Authority Competition Winners Artworks Displayed at Newcastle Gallery

In March 2024 we launched the KATS: North East Combined Authority competition in the search to find our next Climate Change Champions! This competition encouraged children from the 12 schools that we have worked with over the past year to create an ‘artistic masterpiece’ that communicated the message of the dangers of plastic pollution in our oceans.

The Top 10 were carefully selected by a team of climate change experts at North East Combined Authority and Newcastle University. These artworks were then displayed at the Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub’sWater and People‘ exhibition that ran over the Easter holidays at Newcastle Arts Centre.

The children were absolutely thrilled to have their artworks displayed to the public, and they even got a chance to go and view them in person. On the final day of the exhibition, members of the public were invited to vote on their favourite artworks…results to come soon!

Learning about Holi and Continuing the UK – India Network

This week we returned to St Teresa’s Primary to talk about pollution in our oceans and how their students are part of a global network with a community in Delhi.

Shveta Mathur – our KATS: India colleague and Urban Practitioner at the Janya Collective – spoke to the children about the environmental issues affecting Delhi. The children realised that these issues extend far beyond their immediate surroundings and touch lives on the other side of the world.

The children then got to read the postcards that the children from Nizamuddin Basti has wrote them a week prior. It was amazing to see the children engage with peers from a different part of the world, united by a shared concern for our environment. Shveta also spoke to the children about the Indian festival of Holi – and not long after that, the children immersed themselves in the vivid colours of Holi.

Equipped with newfound knowledge and inspiration, the children then created posters with messages about pollution in our oceans. The excitement reached it’s peak when it was announced that the lucky winners would have their posters displayed in Newcastle Arts Centre!

We can’t wait to keep this global network of citizen scientists and climate superheroes going!

Sustaining the UK – India KATS Network in Delhi

This week Elle had the exciting opportunity to visit the children that we have previously worked with in Nizamuddin Basti, Delhi to extend the UK – India network as part of the KATS project.

The children in Nizamuddin got to read the amazing postcards that were written by students at St Teresa’s Primary. They learnt all about their favourite hobbies, school subjects, and aspirations for the future. This time, the children wrote some postcards back about spoke about themselves, responded to their questions about Delhi and asked them further questions about what life is like in Newcastle.

They also got the chance to film some video messages or ‘vlogs’ which was jam packed full of excitement. We can’t wait to go back to St Teresa’s to show the students the postcards from their new pen pals!

Creating a UK – India KATS Network!

This week we re-visited St Teresa’s Primary – who recently participated in the KATS project – to create a global network between their school and the children from Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi. What an exciting opportunity!

The first session began by exploring the two pressing environment issues – climate change and ocean pollution. Using the VR headsets we dove into the underwater world, and explored the harsh realities of climate change, discussing its impacts on our planet and our lives. From rising temperatures to extreme weather events, the children learnt that we all have a role to play in protecting our planet.

We then turned our attention towards the climate challenges that face India – particularly Smog in Delhi. With its large population and rapid urbanisation, the children learnt that Delhi faces severe challenges with air pollution. It was a stark reminder that environmental issues face people living all over the world – and we MUST take action.

Feeling both inspired and empowered, the children put their creativity to work and wrote some heartfelt messages to children living in Delhi, sharing snippets of their lives in Newcastle and asked them lots of questions about their city.

Elle is off to Delhi soon to see the children, share St Teresa’s postcards and encourage them to write back and continue this global connection!

KATS: North East Combined Authority Competition Kicks Off!

This week we introduced the ‘KATS: North East Combined Authority Competition’ with the aim to find our next Climate Change Champion!

The children that have previously participated in the KATS: NoT competition across the 12 schools in 2023 were invited to create their own artistic masterpieces that spread the word about the threats of plastic pollution in our oceans.

The artworks will be judged by the KATS team, climate experts at Newcastle University, and the amazing team at the North East Combined Authority. The Top 10 artworks will be displayed as part of the Water Hub’sWater and People‘ exhibition at Newcastle Arts Centre in April.

They only have four weeks to create their artworks…so….on your marks, get set, DRAW!

KATS: North East Combined Authority…Round 4!

We are coming to the end of our KATS: North East Combined Authority project (nooo!) For our final round we are working with children from Henshaw, Greenhead, Allendale and Wark Primary Schools in Northumberland and Cumbria.

Whilst we continued the theme of plastic pollution and marine biodiversity, we did something a little different this time. To start the first session, Elle asked the classes to draw what they thought a scientist looks like. Interestingly, whilst many drew a scientist with crazy hair, with glasses, and dressed in a lab coat, a large portion of them tended to draw themselves. Many said that they already loved science and wanted to become scientists in the future!

At the end of the project we took all the students on an exciting trip into Newcastle city centre to visit the Life Science Centre. This time around the children participated in the ‘Winter Cookie Mystery Workshop’ where they had to conduct scientific experiments to uncover the hidden ingredients of some Christmas themed cookies. We also explored the exhibits and experienced a Santa themed planetarium show. Finally, the children also got the exciting opportunity to go ice skating!

What an amazing day out – all centred around science…and we LOVE science!

KATS: North East Combined Authority…Round 3!

In keeping the KATS: North East Combined Authority project momentum going we are working with children from Cambois Primary, Monkseaton Middle and Rockcliffe First School this time around. This version of the project focusses on SDG 13 (Climate Action) and SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and the threats to plastic pollution to marine biodiversity.

In the sessions we used VR kits to explore all the different kinds of life living in our oceans, and spoke how plastics and micro-plastics can post a threat to these species. We watched a video on ‘The Ocean Cleanup‘ and found about about Boyan Slat…who was only 18 years old when he created this invention and founded the company! The children then created their own ‘Ocean Innovations’ with the aim to clean our oceans of plastics. The only rules were 1) to make it as futuristic as possible, and 2) to not harm marine life. They came up with some AMAZING inventions.

We then visited Tynemouth Aquarium and participated in the Eco Workshop and watched the Seal Show….followed by a big plate of chips of course!

Water Hub Exhibition Goes on Display in Delhi

We are excited to announce that the Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub’s exhibition around the research that has been conducted in the Barapullah Basin is now on display at Sunder Nursery!

This also features the KATS work that we have done with children in Nizamuddin Basti, Jagdamba Camp and Priyanka Camp – all centred around engaging young people in climate change issues and empowering them to become citizen scientists and community climate superheroes!

Thank you to our colleagues from the Janya Collective for curating this exhibition.

KATS @ Water Hub India Assembly 2023

This week the KATS Team travelled in Delhi, India as part of the Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub annual Assembly. The assembly joins together the hub’s 200 delegates which span academia, government, and industry to explore and tackle water security challenges. 

On the ‘field trip’ day, members of the water hub travelled to Sunder Nursery to watch children from Nizamuddin (who KATS have been working with) perform their superhero stories which focus on protecting their local Baoli. The performance was amazing – the children were so creative in telling (and singing) their stories…it even featured audience participation! The superheroes helped to clean the Baoli from pollution and plastics, and worked together to conserve it for future generations. It got all of singing the ‘Paanee’ (water) song on the way back to the hotel!

Well done to all the children from Nizamuddin Basti who have now become ‘Water Storytellers’!