Alison J. Sinclair's blog posts tagged with 'life sciences'

Taking Science to the public - last minute planning

Feb

12

Preparing public engagement for the Brighton Science Festival Bright Sparks event

T minus 2 days.

Time to check that everything is in place.

 Last minute list:

1. Purchase of strawberries for the DNA extraction. This was a concern with the juxtaposition of the Bright Sparks Event and Valentine’s day – but there were plenty left in the shop.

 2. Packaging of the items for lab coat decoration, DNA extraction, and translating DNA.  The smart storage crates have not arrived! On to plan B, we have found some smaller recycled cardboard boxes to replace them.

3. Checking the researchers on the volunteer list. One had to drop out but another volunteered so we have enough researchers on board to run for the whole day.

4. Preparing for the run-through tomorrow. One person identified to lead each activity for the practice. We will run the events tomorrow with the other volunteers acting as the participants so that everyone knows what to expect the next day when 500 visitors arrive!

 5. Despite the clipboards and planning lists in hand, we know it will not be smooth sailing on the day so have a “don’t panic -  look in here” box of sellotape, string, blue tack, scissors and wet wipes for emergency repairs.

 

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Short Burst Activities in Lectures Part 1. Herd Immunity

May

15

Short Burst Activities – Introduction.

My teaching philosophy is that the most effective teaching fosters an active participation in learning and in my roles as a University professor and as a leader of outreach activities I consider myself primarily as a learning facilitator.

A worked example makes it easier for others to understand how readily this can be achieved and so I am compiling a series of ‘how to’ guides for ‘Short Burst Activities’ within lecture theatre teaching teaching of Bio-Sciences. Some are very specific but others could be readily adapted to other topics.

I would be greatful for feedback and if you would like me to add your activities to the blog, or add a link to them please contact me. a.j.sinclair@sussex.ac.uk

Part 1. Herd Immunity

Learning Objectives: to illustrate the value of herd immunity (year 1 BSc)

Activity:

In advance bring a method of identifying a set of students eg napkin on head.

  • Give a set (approx half the class) of napkins to some students in middle of the front row

  • Instructions are to take one and pass backwards (2 minutes)

  • If available give a toy to two students on left hand side to represent vunerable people

  • Set an infection going in one corner of the class (right hand corner in illustration)

  • Instructions are to stand up when infected and to pass the infection by shaking hands with anyone you can reach easily

  • After a couple of minutes you will see that the majority on the right hand side are infected and none on left hand side are

  • If your lecture/teaching space is not full then the immunization will be patchier and the results less clear (as in life)

  • Watch the spread of infection and pause transmission at an early stage to illustrate some herd protection then let it continue to show a poor outcome

  • Then either cluster the students together to re-run or show the diagram of the outcome with good coverage

  • for a pictorial account please see:https://professoralisonjsinclair.wordpress.com/

I would be greatful for feedback and if you would like me to add your activities to the blog, or add a link to them please contact me. a.j.sinclair@sussex.ac.uk