Thursday, 16 October 2014

Science Outreach : Zelzer Group at Firbeck Academy

Zelzer Group members (Michael, Sunny and Anne), alongside other members of the University of Nottingham organised and ran an outreach activity day (Science WOW day) at Firbeck Academy for children aged 4 to 11. In an attempt to interest the next generation of scientists (hopefully) a range of tasks were prepared to put it bluntly, WOW the students.

Sunny getting set up for an experiment

Anne helping a young student

Mike getting ready to instruct

Engaging in a range of activities, two workshops were conducted for the upper years (3-6) including tasks such as extracting DNA from fruits including strawberries and bananas, as well using washing up liquid and plenty of bubbles to explain pharmacological aspects of digestion within the stomach.
Science Outreach: DNA extraction from strawberries

Science Outreach: Getting ready to extract DNA
Other activities included creating square bubbles to demonstrate surface tension. This was definitely the messiest activity! A video showing a gecko running across water seemed to capture their imaginations. Finally, anti-foaming agents (simethicone) was used to demonstrate how medicine works within the stomach.

Trying to make square bubbles

Surface tension experiment

Science Outreach: DNA extraction completed
The younger students (years 1-2) learnt about DNA by constructing their own helix out of sweets to take home (although not all of them made it home), whilst also experiencing basic polymerisation through the production of edible jelly worms. The competition to make the longest worm was fierce! The children's enjoyment and enthusiasm was expressed at the end of the day when they presented what they had learnt to the whole school. It was a successful and rewarding day all round!