Engagement with Schools
In addition to science fairs and public events, researchers across the Division engage with schoolchildren and teachers through visits to local schools, work experience schemes, and participation in national programmes such as In2Science.
Students visiting the Medical Sciences Division as part of the in2Science programme
Visiting our departments
Visiting the laboratories and offices of researchers can be a great way to demystify scientific research and showcase the various ways students can be involved with the medical sciences. Both The Oxford Vaccine Group (based in the Department of Paediatrics) and the MRC Brain Dynamics Network Unit (Department of Pharmacology) run annual structured days for school visits. The Oxford Vaccine Group offers a one day summer workshop for year 12 students studying A-level sciences which takes them through the process of vaccine development, and the MRC BNDU holds an annual Schools’ Open Day each March to coincide with Brain Awareness week. Aimed at year 10-12 pupils, on this day local secondary schools are invited to the Unit to see medical research for themselves and take part in practical activities, such as using microscopes to spot different types of nerve cell. Find out more.
The following departments also invite school visits on an ad-hoc/ on request basis:
- Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics
- Department of Experimental Psychology
- Radcliffe Department of Medicine
- Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism
- MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine
- Department of Oncology
- Sir William Dunn School of Pathology
- Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
If you are a teacher interested in visiting one of these departments, please contact the Divisional Public Engagement Co-ordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org).
School visits from researchers
Many researchers are more than happy to go out to schools to deliver workshops about their science. These can often be mapped onto the national curriculum, and we are always keen to work closely with schools to understand their needs.
Previously, researchers have delivered activities which raised awareness of whooping cough (see image to the left), run a workshop on micro-organisms for primary school pupils, and explored how our skeletons support us with school groups.
Read Oxford, a research group based in the Department of Experimental Psychology also offer primary schools resources and visits as part of their efforts to understand how children learn words.
If you are a teacher interested in a researcher visit, please contact the Divisional Public Engagement Co-ordinator (email@example.com).
Work experience programmes
Many of our departments offer formal work experience programmes that give students the opportunity to experience life in a lab and gain a deeper understanding of various scientific topics. You can read about one student’s experience in a lab in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences here.
The following departments and units offer work experience placements:
- The Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics
- Experimental Medicine
- Ludwig Cancer Institute
- Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences
- Radcliffe Department of Medicine
- Department of Paediatrics
- The Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences
In addition, many departments in the Division have an established relationship with in2ScienceUK, an award winning charity which empowers students from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their potential and progress to STEM and research careers through high quality work placements and careers guidance. Students regularly spend time with researchers and in laboratories as part of this programme. Emma Quartermain (above) spent two weeks in a lab with Professor Becker - read about her experience.
If you are a teacher interested in work experience placements for students, please contact the Divisional Public Engagement Co-ordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org).
University Summer Schools
UNIQ is a programme run out of the University of Oxford that offers students studying at UK state schools the opportunity to experience life as an Oxford student through a range of summer schools, residential conference and digital learning platforms. UNIQ aims to raise aspirations and encourage students to make informed decisions about higher education. Many researchers throughout the Division run sessions at UNIQ Summer Schools – read about UNIQ sessions in the Department of Experimental Psychology. Researchers are also involved with Target Oxbridge, which aims to increase the number of black African and Caribbean students at Oxford and Cambridge by helping talented pupils to apply – read about an NDORMS session.
Target Oxbridge activities in NDORMS
Resources for teachers
Many of our researchers have worked with Oxford Sparks to produce animations that bring the science behind their research to life. Each animation is accompanied by teaching resources that have been reviewed and approved by secondary science teachers to help teachers make the most of these videos in the classroom. Topics include.
- ‘A Case of Crystal Clarity’ (Departmentof Biochemistry)
- ‘How to read DNA’ (RDM)
- ‘Brain Development in Teenagers’ (Department of Experimental Psychology)
- ‘Another Case of Heart Trouble’ (RDM)
- Hip Hip Hooray (NDORMS)
- ‘DNA: A Rich Tapestry’ (WCHG)
Some departments also offer their own digital resources for teachers:
- The Department of Oncology have developed number of games and activities to illustrate research on a variety of scientific topics
- The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine has an ‘EMB for Under 18s’ initiative which offers KS3 teaching materials, in line with the National Curriculum and mapped to Key Concepts
- The Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics offer ‘try at home’ activities and free, downloadable classroom materials for debates on obesity and allergies.
- The MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine has developed a classroom activity to introduce students to the basic principles of immunology, specifically antibodies, in both their biological role in immune defence and as research tools by using a hands-on activity to practice working scientifically. This is hosted by Oxford Sparks.
The MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine also offer workshops and courses for local school teachers to engage them with with the latest scientific advancements, an initiative that enables teachers to enrich their delivery of the science curriculum. Contact Caterina Vicente (email@example.com) to find out more.