Engaging with schools and young people
All the institutes that receive BBSRC strategic funding support scientist-schools links, enabling teachers and school students to meet scientists and complement classroom science with experiences of cutting edge research. Many of the institutes offer site visits so that students can experience the research laboratory environment for themselves but many also take hands-on activities into schools, helping to relate classroom science to real life.
The Babraham Institute
Each year, the Babraham Institute welcomes A-level and GCSE students for a day during National Science Week and in 2007, launched the successful Bioscience Boot Camp for sixth formers. Babraham also hosts a sixth form symposium that includes discussion sessions on the use of animals in research.
“The visit to Babraham Institute was a wonderful opportunity for our students to broaden their educational experience and deepen their scientific knowledge.”
Mr Andy Price, Assistant Head Teacher, Manor Community College
For more information about Babraham Institute's activities for schools visit: www.babraham.ac.uk/scisoc/schools.htm.
Rothamsted Research supports school science with both web-based resources and activities involving local schools. Visits to Rothamsted include activities such as a ‘Mini-beast Safari’ or ‘Fungus Foray’ in the Rothamsted manor house gardens and wood. Rothamsted also runs the Rothamsted Primary Science group.
For more information about Rothamsted Research's activities for schools visit: www.rothamsted.bbsrc.ac.uk/schools.
North Wyke Research
North Wyke Research, part of Rothamsted Research, holds an annual Science Fair for primary school children. In 2007, the event attracted over 540 pupils, 50 teachers and parent helpers from 19 schools in Devon and Cornwall.
For more information about North Wyke Research's activities for schools visit: www.northwyke.bbsrc.ac.uk/pages/interesttoschools.html.
The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
For more information about IBER's activities for schools visit: www.organiccentrewales.org.uk/schools-home.php?menuopt=3
The Institute for Animal Health (IAH)
The IAH has developed a practical workshop for GCSE students with the National Centre for Biotechnology Education. ‘DNA detectives: the epidemiologist’ mimics tests used to identify sources of food poisoning outbreaks. This is one of three hands-on activities that IAH takes into local schools along with ‘Ticks and midges spread diseases’ and ‘Evolution by natural selection’. IAH’s dairy also houses a Farm Science visitor centre where schools can learn about the science and technology involved in milk production.
For more information about IAH's activities for schools visit: www.iah.ac.uk/schools/index.shtml.
The Teacher Scientist Network (TSN)
The TSN is a scheme that partners scientists from the Norwich Research Park (NRP), home of the John Innes Centre (JIC) and the Institute of Food Research (IFR), with science teachers in Norfolk. These long-term one-to-one partnerships enhance school science and help dispel the negative image of science and scientists.
“The scientist working in ‘partnership’ with a teacher, becomes a normal person, someone willing to talk to the pupils, work with them and help design their investigations and make the science ‘real’. For the teacher too, there are tremendous professional development opportunities.”
Dr Phil Smith, TSN
JIC and IFR offer a wide range of opportunities for schools to find out more about what they do and get involved in a dialogue with staff. Both institutes host visits for a wide range of groups and send out people to talk at external events too. They also run Microscopy Open Days and Inside Science workshops for students and participate in CPD for teachers and careers staff.
Tristan Bunn, Inspiring Young Scientists Co-ordinator, Norwich Research Park
tel: 01603 255017
fax: 01603 255168