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Children’s University comes to Redwood

5 December 2022

Lecture Theatre
For many children this was their first visit to a university

On Wednesday 16th November the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences hosted one hundred school children from Oakfield and Willowbrook primary schools for a day of fun and educational science lessons. In conjunction with Children’s University and Cardiff Council the pupils were introduced to activities from five different academic schools across Cardiff University, including the School of Pharmacy.

Children’s University is a charity that encourages children to engage in education beyond the scope of their day to day curriculums and inspire a more general love of learning. To do this they partner with institutions such as Cardiff University to broaden children’s horizons, introduce them early to higher education, and demonstrate that education can be for everyone, whilst at the same time fostering and enhancing their curiosity through the provision of fascinating and fun educational activities.

Les in lecture theatre
Professor Les Baillie speaks to the pupils

With Cardiff Council agreeing to fund a suite of programmes for Children’s University initially up until 2023, the university is working closely with both organisations and the thirty schools involved to design content that will inspire the city’s young learners.

The visit to Redwood kicked off with a talk from Professor Les Baillie, who is head of the university’s Pharmabees project, followed by a business lecture from Dr Sarah Lethbridge that focussed on how businesses that be a positive good for society. For most children, this was their first experience of being in a lecture theatre and their wonderment was clear from the gasps of awe as they entered the space.

Climate Classroom Team
(L-R) Iwan Palmer, Mark Douglas, Sarah Merry, Claire Morgan, Huw Thomas, Colin Riordan

Following the opening the children were split up into groups around the building for the activities. Dr Thomas Woolley from the School of Mathematics raised the roof with his particularly interactive game that taught the pupils about probability and chance. Professor Paul Roche from physics introduced the majesty of the universe with his engaging talk about what it is like to live in space. Bringing tech and the arts together was Priya Chauhan and her team of STEM ambassadors from Computer Science, with their activity based around coding music using computers.

Iwan and kid
Dr. Palmer and a helper spin down blue-green algae in a centrifuge to demonstrate how much carbon dioxide can be drawn from the atmosphere by these microscopic organisms

The final activity from the School of Pharmacy was delivered by Dr Iwan Palmer and Mark Douglas, who talked about climate change and its solutions. This is an engagement project originating from CALIN, a pharmacy-led scheme that links small businesses with universities. Here, children were taught about the potential for blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) to draw carbon dioxide from the air up to 400 times more efficiently than a tree of the same size. The activity is part of a broader suite of educational tools being developed by Our Climate Classroom, a CALIN project for teachers to deliver rich content around climate change to the next generation.

MOU Signing
Vice Chancellor Colin Riordan and Leader of Cardiff Council Huw Thomas sign a Memorandum of Understanding to seal their commitment to Children’s University under the watchful eyes of the school children

In attendance on the day were the university’s Vice Chancellor, Colin Riordan, along with Pro Vice Chancellor Claire Morgan, Cllr Sarah Merry, Hwb Cymru’s Lead Curriculum Achievement Officer Matthew O’Brien, Cardiff University’s head of school engagement Sue Diment, and Leader of Cardiff Council, Huw Thomas, who rubberstamped the fantastic project with a ceremonial signing of contracts.

Professor Baillie, who led the organising team for the event said, “Education has the power to bring about change and we are failing our children if we do not take every opportunity to support their development.”

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