Local school children try their hand as marine biologists for a day in Plymouth as part of British Science Week 2017

07 Apr 2017 | 81

Scientists from two of Plymouth’s leading marine science institutes host 2 days of events for children

More than 130 school children took part in the 2 day event held at the Citadel Hill Laboratory, Plymouth, to help celebrate British Science Week, 2017. The Laboratory, which hosts both the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS) and the Marine Biological Association (MBA) opened its doors to both primary and secondary school children, offering a carousel of activities designed to engage and enthuse youngsters about the marine environment.

Popularity for this annual event has grown over the years, with tickets for this years’ event selling out within days. Doors opened to over 70 eager primary school children on Thursday 16th March, with 4 different workshops on offer throughout the day.

The ‘Plankton Safari’ workshop gave students the chance use microscopes to discover the hidden world of plankton, examining live plankton samples collected from Plymouth sound which were teeming with young barnacles, jellyfish and crabs. Students and adults alike were amazed to discover that plankton provide over half of the oxygen we breathe every day. ‘Something Fishy’ provided the chance for children to get up close and personal with fish and by dissecting them, learn about adaptation and species diversity. Other workshops included exploring the recently refurbished National Marine Biological Library and discovering kelp, sharks and rays in the Seawater Hall.

Secondary school students got their chance on Friday 17th March to meet professional scientists, get career advice and inspiration and develop wider scientific skills. In addition to local students, some had travelled from as far as Essex to attend this popular day. A variety of workshops were again on offer, but targeted more to GCSE and A level science and biology, including ‘MBA CSI’ – an activity introducing molecular biology and its importance in identifying potential harmful algal blooms.

Both days were fun packed, with students enjoying the chance to experience science in action, and learn about the many ways that we depend on life in the sea.

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