The SoCool for Science event took place at labs on Plymouth Science Park. Pupils met with research students and scientists at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and spent time on science projects, including extracting DNA from living cells (bananas), fruit fly genetics and how they are used as a model for research into human diseases, and cell culture where pupils had a go at culturing some cells.
SoCool for Science was organised by Professor David Parkinson and his colleagues at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. He said: “Science teaching at primary school level has been in the media recently, and as scientists we want to do all we can to ensure that pupils in this age group get the best access to research experience. SoCool for Science is all about encouraging the research scientists of tomorrow. We’ve made the sessions fun as well as educational and are keen to show that scientists are doing research that is relevant to everyone.”
He added: “We have students who come to these visits who then go on to do Nuffield projects during their A-level holidays, study science and medicine at university and choose scientific careers as a result – so SoCool for Science really does make a difference.”
In all, more than 150 Year 9 pupils took part from 12 schools in and around Plymouth had the chance to get hands on in the laboratory and see what it is like to be a scientist.