14 Jul 2015 EnAlgae scientists continue engagement with primary schools
One of the leading scientists working on the €14.5 million EnAlgae project has been speaking of his work with primary school children in which he introduces them to the work he has been conducting for the project in Antarctica.
Dr Matthew Davey who is based within the University of Cambridge’s Plant Sciences department, spent the start of the year with the British Antarctica Survey at the Rothera Research Station. There, he was looking at the lipid productivity in algae which grows at extremely cold temperatures. The aim of his research is to characterise metabolic traits in polar photosynthetic organisms when grown in their natural habitat.
In recent weeks he’s visited Icknield Primary School in Sawston where he gave a school assembly to 180 children aged between 4 and 11 and also some pre-schoolers aged between 2 and four. He’s also spoken of his work to 6th formers at Bungay High School and 22 pupils in year 6 at Ditchingham Primary School.
“Speaking with children in Primary schools brings with it a unique set of challenges, not least of which is how to make complex biology and innovation accessible and interesting to children aged from 2 up to 11,” said Dr Davey. “They really engaged once they saw the expedition photos and that scientists, not just explorers can work in these places!”
To help the children engage with him, Dr Davey made sure he took some of the tools he used while in Antarctica.
“They really enjoyed dressing up in all the equipment I brought with me – everything from Antarctic boots to gloves, food rations to snow shoes.
“And I have had some great feedback from the parents too, saying how much their kids enjoyed the special assembly and that when they grow up they want to be a scientist too!”