October 2019: Donald and a team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research ran ‘Your Amazing Immune System’ and ‘Supercytes’ workshops at local schools in partnership with the Midlothian Science Festival.
Katharin Balbirnie-Cumming, Matthew Burgess, Susanna Riley, Jiwon Park and Lana Woolford helped Donald deliver the workshops to four schools across the county as part of the Midlothian Science Festival Schools Programme. We would like to thank Cuiken Primary, Penicuik High, Newtongrange Primary and St David’s RC Primary Schools for inviting us to deliver the workshops. Your enthusiasm, teamwork, great questions and really positive pupil feedback were a joy to see!
100% of the schools involved told us that they would recommend the workshops to other schools, and we were delighted with average teacher feedback scores of 4.5/5.
In the game-based workshop ‘Your Amazing Immune System: Operation Colodenum’, we asked primary school pupils to put on their security hats and protect alien biome Colodenum from destruction. Through interacting with the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes using a range of special equipment, the teams discovered what the immune system needs to keep the body healthy.
Workshop leader Donald J. Davidson then shared stories, images and animations of current and eradicated diseases, vaccines, antibiotics and the importance of the bacteria inside us, known as the microbiome.
We loved pupils work out that the best approach to protect the body from infection was providing information to train the immune system before infection occurs, thus “re-inventing” vaccination before we’d even mentioned it!
The “Supercytes” workshop taught secondary school pupils about the cells of the immune system through a strategic card game.
We left a free resource pack with the school and were really pleased to hear that the pupils enjoyed the game so much that they asked to play it again in the next lesson! Their number of correct answers in our immunology quiz also went up by 53% after using the materials (compared to before the workshop). Well done!
All components are also freely downloadable under a Creative Commons Licence, on our dedicated interactive website.