RMS Public Outreach Activities 2016
Annual Schools Science Conference
University of Westminster
Aimed at 13-16 year olds, the 13th annual schools science conference organised by science4u invited over 200 children from local schools to the University of Westminster.
The RMS Outreach team, including Professor Rob Kesseler, Dr Claire Wells and Dr Owen Green, demonstrated a dissection microscope and presented two quizzes, one on different tissue samples and one on careers in microscopy.
The dissection microscope was incredibly popular with the students and thanks to the monitor mounted on top of the microscope, students were able to see a range of fresh organic matter from across the room. The aphid moving on a leaf was a popular sample! Most students hadn’t realised you could look at whole insects and other materials through a microscope. Students were really engaged and spent a lot of time interacting with the team, asking questions and using the equipment.
In the tissue quiz, three different slides were shown and students had to guess whether they were of a kidney, bone, lung, pancreas, tongue or eye. Depending on their knowledge the team were able to guide students who were unsure to work out the correct answer themselves.
Although we handed out lots of freebies, the students were much more interested in the microscopes on our stand and engaging with the different activities we had organised. The careers based quiz highlighted to students the range of roles that use microscopy. It also meant that they could talk to those already working in the field to get a real insight of their day to day lives and how they got into their current position.
Lyme Regis Fossil Festival
Lyme Regis, Dorset
29 April - 1 May
For three days visitors to the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival in Dorset marvelled at items large and small under a variety of light microscopes including the RMS Microscope Activity Kit Stereozoom and the new RMS-Approved Secondary School microscope. Invited to share a stall in the Natural History Museum of London’s marquee, RMS Outreach Committee members Dr Alex Ball and Dr Owen Green, were kept busy demonstrating items under the microscopes, explaining microscopy techniques and encouraging visitors to use the NHM’s Inside Explorer, an interactive touchscreen display that enables the viewer to explore micro-CT datasets using a 60” interactive 3D display.
Day 1 was dedicated to Primary School aged children accompanied by their teachers and carers. We were able to wow the youngsters with the Microscope Activity Kit, while many teachers were also impressed by the fact that they could borrow the kits for free – just by filling in that simple application on the RMS website!
On days 2 and 3, the event opened up to the general public. They flocked in en masse, over the 3 days of the event there were over 600 visitors to the stand– inspiration all round!
Public Health England Exhibition
Science Alive, Harlow
12 - 14 May
This PHE event as part of Science Alive in Harlow was aimed at students aged 14-16. With the RMS-Approved Secondary School Microscope, groups of students were able to look at unstained live bacteria harvested from between the teeth with a toothpick, the darkfield filter on the microscope was perfect for looking at them wiggling about! After taking a look down the microscope for themselves, the students were then shown images of a similar sample acquired with a TEM to show the increased resolution.
Eynsham Science Night
Eynsham Primary School
Joining in with a night of scientific activities at a Primary school in Oxfordshire, members of the RMS team took an RMS Microscope Activity Kit to a Science Night Eynsham Primary School attracting over 300 people. Teachers and pupils alike were trying to count the number of eyes on a housefly, taking a closer look at the stinger of a wasp and marvelling at the complexity of poppy seeds.
Big Biology Day
Taking place in conjunction with Biology Week, this event in Staffordshire was billed as 'a mini Science Festival with Biology at its heart.' Open to the public, aspiring scientists of all ages were able to get up close to a variety of insects as well as seeing a number of everday objects in a completely different way. Over 250 people visited the stand and it was the common housefly that gained the most interest!