12 May 2022

Carswell Primary School’s Year 5 class and ASP’s Primary Science Club are working with researchers from Oxford University’s Zooniverse in Schools project, funded by a Science and Technology Facilities Council outreach award, to pilot a programme of workshops entitled The Virus Factory.

In the first session, Carswell’s Year 5 class visited the ASP Lab in the Yang Science Centre to learn about cells, extract DNA from strawberries and to find out about viruses and how they affect cells in living organisms. The pupils got some hands on experience of working in a science lab and took part in interactive learning activities by contributing their ideas and answers via online polling platforms.

The level of engagement was very high and all the pupils were able to interact personally with the programme leader, Dr Kat O’Brien Skerry, asking lots of questions about the topic and about the careers of the scientists involved in the research. The session was then repeated for the ASP’s Primary Science Club, assisted by the Science Ambassadors who usually run the club but this time appreciated being able to learn by seeing a professional science communicator in action. The full programme of three workshops will continue over the next three weeks, at Carswell and in the ASP lab, with sessions on virus identification using the Zooniverse platform and visits from scientists involved in imaging viruses using tools such as the Diamond Light Source at Harwell.

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