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19 March 2010
Lesley Griffiths, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, has taken part in the University’s Learn about Life workshop, as part of a number of events taking place during National Science and Engineering Week, and Brain Awareness Week.
Run by academics, researchers and students in the School of Biosciences, Learn about Life aims to make science accessible and fun for young people. The event was attended by more than 120 pupils aged between nine and eleven from Llangan Primary School, Bridgend, and Coed Glas and Christ the King Primary Schools in Cardiff.
Activities consisted of hands-on workshops and interactive talks to enthuse the next generation about physiology, their natural environment and other areas of biology, including a workshop by School of Biosciences’ PhD students and Dr Kelly Berube demonstrating what really happens when they have a cold or inhale a nasty pollutant.
For the budding neuroscientists, Cardiff Neuroscience Centre joined forces with the School of Biosciences for a neuroscience workshop to help the pupils uncover the power and complexity of the brain, which included the pupils using plasticine, pipe cleaners and skoobies to learn about the different parts of the neuron; demonstrating what visual impairments may feel like and what the effect is on the visual field; and using optical illusions to see how the brain can be tricked.
Learn about Life is one of a number of projects that has been supported by the Assembly Government through the British Association of Science with small grants ranging from £100 to £1,000.
Praising the wide range of stimulating science-based activities being held throughout Wales during National Science and Engineering Week, the Minister said: "We need to inspire and engage tomorrow’s engineers and scientists today and hopefully these events will help change attitudes towards subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"Engaging youngsters in this way can stimulate a lifelong interest in the subject and will hopefully nurture the next generation of scientists and technologists."
Earlier this month, the School of Biosciences was awarded a ‘Most Valued Partner Award’ by Career Wales Cardiff and Vale Education Business Partnership. The award panel stated that the School has given exemplary support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiatives including delivering programmes that involved more than 200 primary pupils during National Science and Engineering Week.
A Careers Wales spokesperson said: "The school of Biosciences has given exemplary support for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) initiatives including delivering programmes that involved over 200 primary pupils during National Science & Engineering Week, supporting the EBP’s all girl science, engineering and technology Discover! Saturday Club, and providing speakers for school presentations."
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