Cell Explorers is a science education and outreach programme. It started in the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2012 and has since expanded to include 13 partner teams with members from 15 Higher Education Institutions.
Our FutureNeuro team has added RCSI, Trinity College Dublin and DCU, who will deliver the Fantastic DNA workshop to schools within Dublin.
After completing an intensive training session with the team from NUI Galway, we crossed Dublin City to visit Gardiner Street Primary School. There, we spent the morning with 5th Class students, who completed our first Fantastic DNA workshop.
During the workshop, 45 enthusiastic students turned their classroom into a science lab. They learned how to extract DNA from a banana, following a protocol, like our researchers would in our labs. The young scientists also learned about how DNA is made and each team built their own DNA double helix.
Every student was able to bring their very own tube of banana DNA back to their families. We also gave them instructions on how to do the experiment at home, with everyday items.
One of the best things about Cell Explorers is that every student does the experiment themselves. All participants get hands on experience of real science. There are also huge benefits for our researchers who deliver the workshop. They improve their communication skills by learning new ways to explain complex topics. The young scientists test the researchers skills with their interesting and thought provoking questions throughout the workshop.
We are now available to deliver Fantastic DNA workshops in a number of schools in the Dublin area. Teachers who like would like their school to participate in the programme should visit our Public Engagement webpage or contact Linda Coyne for further details.
Cell EXPLORERS activities in FutureNeuro, and the expansion of the programme to other institutions, is funded by Science Foundation Ireland under its Discover Programme, the NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences and by the NUI Galway Foundation.