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Inspire Roadshows embark on a journey for National Science Week

20 March 2019

The theme for national science week 2019 (11th-15th March) was journeys, so the Life and Health Sciences Outreach Team worked with multiple primary schools teaching students about the journey of blood. The schools included: Dolphin, Fairlawn, Bannerman Road, Stoke Park, Horfield and Kingfisher seeing over 1400 students in the assemblies.

All roadshows began with a whole school assembly introducing the journey of blood around the body, and got students thinking of the journey to becoming a scientist and working scientifically. The latter part of the roadshows involved 4 interactive stations allowing specific year groups of student to rotate through them all and learn about the various components of the blood.

The students were given the opportunity to learn CPR allowing them to increase awareness of bystander CPR. The students were taken through the DR.ABC protocol and shown methods of compressions, which they then practiced on the Annie training mannequins. With the help of the Annie's skills guide, each student had the opportunity to perfect their skills. We discussed the importance of teamwork while completing CPR and practised changing over who was giving the compressions.

Next stop, Red blood cells! We discussed the purpose of red blood cells and how they move around the body. With the help of a plasticised Ox heart, the students learnt about the different chambers of the heart and thought about why the muscle thickness varies. With the help of a life-size plastic model, the students were able to learn about the physiological composition of the body. Just like true scientists, the students undertook an experiment to find out what effect exercise has on heart rate! The students made a hypothesis and then put it to the test, using pulse oximeters to measure their heart rates before and after exercise. The students were able to identify why the heart rate increases due to the demands of the muscles. Each group also witnessed a live ECG of one of their peers, this made many students very excited and got them asking lots of questions about becoming doctors.

'It was brilliant for children to see scientists in action in the real world. Particularly female role models in different professions.' Teacher

Ever wondered why we don’t bleed out when we cut ourselves? Well these students certainly know why! At this station they explored the roles of platelets in the body using a Velcro drain pipe model to visualise how these fragments work together to seal a cut. With the use of fun clay models the students learnt about the platelets ability to change shape and aggregate together. At the end of this station the students learnt about how bacteria use platelets to hide from the immune system - just like the invisibility cloak in Harry Potter!

Leading on from the last station, the students learnt about white blood cells and their role in our immune systems. With the help of fluffy microbes, students learnt about different classes of microbes and discussed how they can be good and bad. Students discussed the important of being hygienic, using some glow gel and UV light we looked at how pathogens can be passed around even if you think your hands are clean. Finally, students were all allocated cards with different immune cells and pathogens on, they had to devise a silent communication between themselves when a pathogen was spotted. Upon the signal all WBC cards must silently surround the pathogen preventing infection.

'The pitch was good with lots of interactive roles for the children to take. The four workshops in an hour was a good length and all the children were very engaged due to the child centred activities and resources. Relevant information for children’s ages were given.' Teacher.

A year 6 teacher stated that 'The workshops were well paced and the children were highly engaged. They got to use equipment that we don't have access to in school such as ECG machines and pulse oximeters. It was very relevant to our topic and covered all of the curriculum objectives in a way that was pitched ideally to our pupils. It was challenging for the children but because of the knowledgeable staff, they were all able to access it and all learnt a lot from the session.'

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