An ex student of ours, who went to Newcastle University, asked to come and visit some students at Tring School to carry out a STEM activity day as part of the University’s Outreach Programme. Twenty students were chosen from Years 8/9 and 12/13 to take part in these activities.
The Year 8/9 students first challenge was to look at historical criminal cases and the items that were used to carry out the crimes. Students needed to think about how and why these particular items were used.
The next part of the day was to investigate who stole the ‘Stan Cavert Cup’. They started by translating the statement from a Portuguese witness. They then had to use biomedical science to work out which suspects to drop from their investigations. This included extracting DNA and working out base sequences from a hair sample.
The police had uncovered an email between two suspects and the students needed to decipher and use a code to read the encrypted message. Finally, they analysed the pH and moisture of soil samples to compare with the sample found at the crime scene. With this final piece of evidence, they made their judgement of who was guilty, before a video revealed the culprit. A lively Q&A session followed with the students finding out more about the visiting presenters and how they got into their fields of work.
In the afternoon session the Year 12/13 students listened to a talk on studying Medical Sciences. This was extremely informative and students received information about all the different types of Biomedical courses available to study at University. The presentation was expertly delivered by a Biomedical scientist who had recently graduated. She was able to give an insight into the application process from a personal point of view and gave the students some useful tips. The presentation started with the basic aspects of the various types of courses and how they all differ. Information about the differing styles of teaching and learning by different universities was explained. She also gave some useful points on how to link information in personal statements and how universities select students for interview.
The Sixth form students who attended the presentation found it extremely useful as it gave them a clear vision of how to apply for Biomedical Science courses.