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Learning with a lorry

The Mobile Teaching Unit

The Mobile Teaching Unit Dave Newberry

2 November 2009

A mobile outreach approach takes teaching into the community for Applied and Integrated Medical Sciences (AIMS).

A Mobile Teaching Unit provides a great platform for outreach activities: in actual fact, this is a lorry that expands to turn into a seminar room capable of accommodating groups of 20 students at a time. Inside the lorry, students can get involved with hands-on anatomy and physiology demonstrations run by departmental academic staff, supported by talks and slide shows using the lorry’s built-in audio visual facilities. 

Primary school children can listen to their heart beat and record their hearts’ electrical activity using an ECG machine, while secondary school children can learn interactively about gas exchange in the lungs and study the effects of electrical stimulation of nerves and muscles. Already, over 2,000 students in over 30 schools have benefited from using the lorry, which has gone as far afield as Jersey as part of the island’s first ever Science Week.

It can also be used for public events. The Unit is now a regular feature at the Cheltenham Festival of Science and at Science Alive!, the biennial science festival held in Bristol.

“Thank you so much for visiting our school with your lorry. The children really enjoyed the experience and are still talking about it! It linked in really well with the work we already cover in the curriculum as well as giving the topic a boost through the hands-on opportunities it provided,” said a primary school teacher.

Professor Judy Harris, co-director of the AIMS project, said “This facility has so much potential and has already proved its value as a  tool for engagement.”