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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.

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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:

If you are a teacher interested in visiting one of these departments, please contact the Divisional Public Engagement Co-ordinator (naomi.gibson@medsci.ox.ac.uk).

School visits from researchers

Researcher in a classroom filled with children

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.

If you are a teacher interested in a researcher visit, please contact the Divisional Public Engagement Co-ordinator (naomi.gibson@medsci.ox.ac.uk).

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:

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 (naomi.gibson@medsci.ox.ac.uk).

 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.

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Target Oxbridge activities in NDORMS

Resources for schools

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.

Oxford sparks animation.png‘A Case of Crystal Clarity’ (Departmentof Biochemistry)

‘How to read DNA’ (RDM)

‘Brain Development in Teenagers’ (Department of Experimental Psychiatry)

‘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, while 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. Read Oxford, a research group based in the Department of Experimental Psychology, offer primary schools resources and visits as part of their efforts to understand how children learn words. The Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics have also developed some ‘try at home’ activities and free, downloadable classroom materials for debates on obesity and allergies.