We are pleased to announce the awardees of the next round of Biochemical Society Scientific Outreach Grants. These grants support innovative and engaging events or activities for school children, young scientists or the general public.
Cambridge Hands on Science (ChaOs) Roadshow (Joe Hooton, University of Cambridge)
Cambridge Hands-On Science (CHaOS) is a not-for-profit student-run society at Cambridge University that has run free science events since 1998, including the popular ‘Crash, Bang, Squelch!’ event during national science week (please see www.chaosscience.org.uk for more details). Since 2002, CHaOS has taken a team of volunteers from Cambridge University on a summer science roadshow, travelling to areas of the country less well provided with science events. Our aim is to inspire children and their families, by enabling enthusiastic young scientists to show them that science is fun, relevant and something that they can understand.
The Biochemistry of the Barbecue (Dr Jill Williams, the Bay Tree Community Cafe Project)
This workshop will cover topics such as muscle structure and function, the activity of proteins and connective tissue upon the application of heat and how this differs across different foods and flavour molecules. It will also look at health related issues such as nutrition, food hygiene, food safety and the potential cancer risk from polycyclic hydrocarbons released during the burning of charcoal. This workshop will take place as part of a Father’s Day celebration at the National Museum of Scotland, and will then go on to other locations including Glasgow Science Centre, North Edinburgh Arts Centre and Ocean Terminal Shopping Mall.
Bringing fun science to the Nigerian classroom (Mahmoud Bukar Maina, University of Sussex, UK and Gombe State University, Nigeria)
This one day outreach event for primary school students and teachers in north-eastern Nigeria aims to establish connections between local scientists and science teachers, whilst introducing students and teachers to a creative approach to studying and teaching science in schools. Activities in storytelling, art and science practicals will be available to students and teachers
The Algae Biotech Experience (Anthony Riseley, University of Cambridge)
The Algae Biotech experience aims to promote the study of microalgae, with its potential impact on providing food and feed, bioremediation of industrial by products and energy production. Students taking part in this outreach event will attend lectures, wet lab practicals, computational projects, microscopy and algae testing activities at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge. More information about the event can be found on the Algae Biotech Experience website: www.algaebiotechexperience.eu
Saturday Science Club (Dr Steve Rossington, University of Salford)
Saturday Science Club has grown in numbers over the last three years, reaching 229 students over 53 Saturday mornings between December 2012 and March 2015. Undergraduate and postgraduate students act as demonstrators, allowing students to experience and understand chemistry and biochemistry through laboratory practicals. In addition, mature audiences (post-18) will have the opportunity to learn skills needed to gain employment. Full details on the Club can be seen at http://www.srossingtonchem.com/saturday-chemistry-club.html
Run your own Amgen Biotech Experience Enrichment Event (Leanne Kenyon, University of Hertfordshire)
The Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) is an innovative, educational programme, funded by the AMGEN Foundation, transforming classrooms by introducing a hands-on, inquiry based molecular biology curriculum, exploring steps involved in creating biotechnology medicines. Funding from the Biochemical Society will go towards a pilot of a one day CPD event for A level Biology technicians and teachers, training them to run enrichment events for their students using the ABE equipment. This event will increase reach to new schools, giving them the opportunity provide practical activities during vacations and optimising the dormant equipment in these periods. On completion of our event, teachers can borrow equipment to deliver their own day school events school. The event will also teach attendees to use STEM Ambassadors for A level summer schools, to provide role models for students and to enhance their understanding of biochemistry research and practice.
Everything about me (Dr Steve Rossington, University of Salford)
‘Everything about me’ will showcase the science of the human body by highlighting through a serious of spectacular chemistry demonstrations the biological and chemical importance of the elements constituting the human body. There will be over 15 events held at The University of Salford and/or selected UK based secondary schools.
Where did you get those GENES! (Benjamin Goult, University of Kent)
Over the course of two days, sixty Year 12 students will take part in exciting lab based practical exercises to uncover the genetic basis of life. A level students will get to work within a University environment alongside trained researchers to perform scientific experiments looking at their own genes. Within the event students will purify their own DNA (from cheek cells extracted using a salty mouth rinse) and use a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify a region that can exist in one of two forms. Together, the students will then explore how such information can be used to calculate allelic frequency within a population and relate this to human disease.
DNA Day! (Avril Morrison, the Open University)
This event includes the biology teaching staff at The Gordon Schools, in conjunction with a local scientist (Dr Avril Morrison) and staff from the RMPS (Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies) department. Students will analyse the DNA profiles of 24 individuals from a fictional family and will identify the means of inheritance of a genetic disorder. The results produced from these experiments will lead to a discussion about screening for inherited genetic disorders.
‘Pass It On’ Pre and Post visit teaching materials (Clare Evans, Techniquest Glyndwr)
The project will build on the work from the Biochemistry Society grant that Techniquest Glyndŵr received in 2013 to develop a workshop ‘Pass It On’ based around the inheritance of characteristics which are passed on through generations. The aim of this project is to develop teaching materials that teachers can use in the classroom in preparation for the delivery of the ‘Pass It On’ workshop by Techniquest Glyndŵr. ‘Pass It On’ is now embedded into the core Techniquest Glyndŵr schools programme. Developing materials that teachers can use in advance of the workshop delivery will further enhance students understanding of the subject. The project will also develop teaching materials for after the workshop has been delivered to reinforce pupils’ understanding of genetics, suitable for their level of understanding.
Bug Hunters (Harriet Gliddon, Imperial College London)
This event focusses on how infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance emerges and spreads, and how we can use technologies used by students every day (mobile phones, apps etc.) to diagnose diseases earlier than ever before. Students will take part in a variety of activities to understand how diseases are diagnosed and treated. There will also be a debate space for students to discuss and debate opinions from a variety of stakeholders in society.
The next round of Scientific Outreach Grants will open on 30th June and close on 25th September 2015.