Session one preparations

Grace and I offered our services to take charge of the first science club session. We opted for a ‘go-big or go home’ attitude – which to us meant glitter, a bucket-load of enthusiasm and jazz hands. Our first idea of introducing the gastrointestinal (GI) system to the children was to get them to try our own version of pin the tail on the donkey…pin the organ on the body, obviously. This would involve the children being given a set of laminated organs with the aim of identifying where they went on a life-size body. Lesley suggested that we could make this more interactive by getting the children to draw around one of us! Following this ice-breaker, we wanted to then split the children up into two teams so we could see how much they actually knew about the GI system. We had bounced around a couple of ideas about how to do this but after meeting with Niamh, she thought it would be even more exciting for the children to get involved in a “big quiz of the year”. This sparked a rapid trail of thoughts that led to us creating “thinking caps” and golden ticket style envelopes with fun facts in. We wanted to introduce the concept of a thinking hat to 1) ensure only one member from each quiz team could talk and 2) restore some form of order to a group of 9 and 10 year olds.

With our ideas pretty set in stone Grace and I had to think about getting prepped! We thought 10 questions (and 10 organs) would be an appropriate length for a children’s quiz. One evening when we were tackling the drawing and cutting of our organs we realised we’d forgotten to include the stomach as an answer (no biggie just one of the most important parts!!). By 11pm that same evening we thought it would be wise to check whether our organs were actually life size…as you can see we were very successful – take that GCSE art!

Holly (R) and Grace (L) spending their time wisely as PhD students

In light of Niamh’s suggestions, we also made the quiz more competitive by pairing each answer with a fun fact. The fun fact will be read to the class by a member of the team that gave the winning answer. Deciding what to include in these fun facts was a lot trickier than either of us thought and involved a lot of “fun facts about…” googling and reading the children’s school syllabus to try and think of something age-appropriate. My favourite fact was about the small intestine being 6 metres long and the large intestine only being a metre – Grace and I knew this would impress the children.

(T) Grace’s bug-inspired quiz front cover. Shout out to Dr Ben Mullish for the catchy “have you got the guts?” phrase. (B) Our fun fact golden envelopes

It was important to both of us that the children did a small task at the end of the hour to help them consolidate what they’d learnt from us. We designed a worksheet (see below) that would prompt them to think about the first activity (pin the organ on the body) and the quiz.

With all of this, we are finally ready to meet the crowds! Wish us luck!!

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