School pupils from Warwickshire and beyond have been running DNA profiles in ‘crime scene investigation’ style workshops taking place at Coventry University.
Around 250 pupils from schools across the region and from slightly further afield are participating in practical, science-based laboratory sessions at the University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. The sessions form part of a school liaison project run by academic and technical staff in its Department of Biomolecular and Sports Sciences.
The popular annual event gives year 12 pupils, aged 16 and 17 years old, access to the University’s sophisticated equipment and allows them to run exercises that they wouldn’t normally be able to do within school science labs.
The pupils are getting a taste of real world scientific research like taking DNA swabs for profiling as well as conducting other chemical and molecular analysis techniques such as flame photometry and plasmid mapping, and carrying out light harnessing photosynthesis experiments.
The sessions, which have been running from Monday 24 June and continue until Wednesday 10 July, are part of Coventry University’s outreach programme and are intended to ignite interest amongst young people in science subjects and to outline the many career possibilities that can be accessed by studying these topics at university.
The two week project concludes with a session for Year 10 pupils, which introduces science subjects to younger students who may be thinking about what choices to make for their A-levels.
Dr Richard Collins, Senior Technician in Coventry University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences said: “Developing the next generation of scientists is something that is very much on the national education agenda and as a department we love to inspire students of all ages.
“Our school liaison project sparks pupils’ interest in science by offering them practical sessions that bring text books to life.
“The link with local schools is something that we have nurtured over a number of years and the feedback we have received from both pupils and teachers has always been very positive.
“Our school liaison project goes beyond the experience offered during university open days and we hope that it will encourage pupils to stick with science subjects when they go on to leave school.”
Clare Taylor, a chemistry teacher at Coventry’s Blue Coat School, which participated in the project said: “This has been a great experience for our pupils as it has given them the opportunity to use high-tech apparatus which relates to their studies but which isn’t available in our school’s laboratories.
“It’s also given them a brief taste of the university experience and I’m sure that’s something that they will think back on when they’re deciding on what to do next when their time with us comes to an end.”
Information about Coventry University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and the courses that are offered there is available on the Faculty webpage.