Science in Schools
Schools' Science Day
Sixth Form Conferences
Researcher in Residence
Bioscience Boot Camp
Royal Society Exhibition
Public Engagement Training
‘Real Life, Real Science’ is our Foundation and Primary School Programme. The main aim of the programme is to put real scientists into classrooms to transfer enthusiasm and excitement for science to a new generation of scientists. Many of the subjects covered reflect aspects of the Institute's health and well-being related remit, including Digestion & Health, Muscles & Bones, and ‘What is a Scientist?’. The presentations are delivered by a range of scientists, from PhD students to the Institute Director, and are intended to reinforce the pupils’ knowledge of science with an insight into how it affects everyday life. A benefit to the Institute is that our scientists improve their communication skills, and explain our research in life sciences.
The programme has been running since 2004, and its building blocks are: Babraham Institute science and scientists; exciting hands-on activities; input from teachers and the National Curriculum. It is the combination of these that gives the programme its depth and leads to its popularity. We are a regular part of the school year in an increasing number of local primary schools and are especially busy visiting schools during National Science Week. We have visited many schools regularly since 2004, and have developed good relationships with teaching staff and students alike. Though we are careful to maintain these relationships because they are beneficial to all involved we are continually increasing the number of schools we visit. This is often by recommendation from existing contacts, or as part of our plan to move into areas of social deprivation or with high numbers of children for whom English is an additional language.
In 2013 we were grateful to receive a Scientific Outreach Grant from The Bichemical Society to support activities such as DNA extraction and Chromatography. The Society wishes to support scientific outreach activities that communicate the excitement of molecular bioscience to young people and the community.
All our presentations are designed in a Question and Answer format to encourage participation by the students, and the presentation style is adapted to suit the audience age and ability. Wherever possible questions are asked in such a way as to encourage less able students, and several teachers have commented that our resources have encouraged some students who have been difficult to engage in the past. Presenters are coached in how to get the best from students, and draw on their own experience and expertise to enhance the presentations and give them a personal touch.
To increase the interaction of students with scientists and to enable them to visit a research institute we ran two events for pupils from Hackney primary schools during the 2009/2010 academic year. These were organised with the Learning Trust, the education authority for Hackney.
Laura Nowak, Colville Primary School, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge
All of the workshops I have experienced enhance the children's knowledge, as well as exploring new ideas and concepts, and are taught at a level totally appropriate to every year group. The children find the workshops both engaging and exciting. There is a good balance of both theory and practical (where possible) and questions are answered honestly and openly with the right amount of information.
Fiona Thorpe, Head Teacher – Fulbourn Primary School
Your involvement in our termly ‘Science Investigation Days’, as well as the other class-based sessions you have offered, have been invaluable in inspiring our pupils about science. The outreach programme brings science to life for them, challenging perceptions of scientists being dusty old men with mad hair and white coats and raising aspiration to follow this career path themselves. As well as specialist equipment and knowledge, most importantly you bring enormous enthusiasm for this area of learning and fire pupils’ love for investigation; many pupils now cite science as their favourite subject.
I’ll never forget one of our five year old girl’s comments, after the very first investigations day. She said, ‘I used to want to be a princess when I grew up, but now I want to be a scientist.’ Says it all really. I sincerely hope funding for the outreach work continues to be seen as a high priority. In my opinion, it really is an investment in the future of science.
Belinda Lowrie, Castle Camps Primary School
Your visits provide an excitement and a sense of wonder at the 'magic' of science. They help to reinforce the enormous part science really does play in all areas of our everyday lives. There is a willingness and ability to let the children sometimes lead the learning. Often sessions inspire the children to put forward their own theories, ideas and questions and even when these are linked to, but slightly off the planned track, every idea is talked about and discussed. This really motivates the children and encourages them to believe that what they think about and want to question is valuable to. A great boost to self -confidence in a subject.
Scintillating Science - DNA extraction and chromatography
(Dame Bradbury's School, Saffron Walden)
New Cangle pupils learn that science can be exciting
(Haverhill Echo website)
Exchange & Engagement Team
Contact by email
Babraham Institute - Babraham Research Campus - Cambridge - United Kingdom