For the third consecutive year, the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology took part in British Science Week, a ten-day celebration of the sciences and their importance in everyday life. This year, we took our Glow in the Dark Science roadshow to three different schools: Charles Dickens Primary School, St George's Cathedral Catholic Primary School and Michael Faraday Primary School. Every day around 150 pupils, aged 5 to 11, took part in a series of fun, practical activities exploring the use of fluorescence in modern biomedical science.
At the beginning of each session, scientists introduced themselves and their working environment. Then they asked questions like: Where do we come from? How is the brain put together? And how we can best study brain cells and their myriad of connections? Making cells glow is the key to being able to see, follow and study these brain cells in the laboratory. Fluorescence is visually appealing and can easily be detected using adequate equipment.
“We had a fantastic day, it was very interesting and well organised. It was great for the children to see so many positive role models, particularly women and they were all fascinated with the activities!”
Joanna, teacher, Michael Faraday Primary School
With our Glow in the Dark Science project, scientists made the use of fluorescence accessible to children and brought the concept directly to their schools. During the day, children progress through four different 'activity stations' where they learn what neurons are, observe fish and fruit flies through a microscope, try their hand at keyhole surgery and observe everyday life objects that glow in the dark!
“My favourite part of the workshop was when I got to look at the fruit flies through the microscope. I liked it so much that I wished it to happen everyday.”
Miah, Year 3, Charles Dickens Primary School
This workshop couldn’t have happened without the help of over 20 volunteers from the Centre: Sarah Bartolme, Esther Bell, Kinga Bercsenyi, Louisa Boddy, Hannah Bruce, Enrico Buonaura, Triona Fielding, Pat Gordon, Fursham Hamid, Rachel Jackson, Clemens Kiecker, Fong Kuan Wong, Alina Letzel, Guilherme Neves, Martyna Panasiuk, Vicky Rook, Linda Van Keimpa, Tristan Varela, Leigh-Jane Wilson and Karen Yap.
“The workshop with Kings College London was really fun because we got to see things that you do not usually experience in school. For example, looking at a zebra fish through a microscope or taking bad neurons out of a replica mouse brain using U.V. light. We even found out about how some normal household objects glow in the dark.”
Lucian, Year 6, Michael Faraday Primary School
This project was supported by a grant from the King’s Public Engagement small grants fund .