School visits allow students the opportunity to perform real experiments within their classrooms. Children engage with science in a fun way and learn the importance of the scientific method. School visits are performed by a team of motivated volunteer students from the University, providing young, enthusiastic science role models. Our high demonstrator to child ratio ensures that all levels of learning are catered for.
Our main school roadshow is the Fantastic DNA school visit which is aimed at senior cycle primary school children. The session has been designed for 5th and 6th class children but can be easily adapted to 3rd and 4th classes. If you are a teacher and want to find out more about Fantastic DNA and how you could run it in your own classroom, click on the Teacher Zone in the menu and register for the page.
Fantastic DNA! is an hour long activity in which childen learn about cells and DNA. Each child performs a banana DNA extraction and builds a DNA model. This session is ideally designed for children in 5th or 6th class but can be easily adapted to the learning level of 3rd and 4th class. We can accomodate 30 children in a class and the teacher must be present at all times. The teachers handbook that describes all aspects of the session can be found here.
Other school visits
We have also developed activities to introduce cells and microscopes to senior cycle primary school children (Amazing Cells!).
Currently we have one activity designed for senior cycle secondary school students on PCR and careers in science, further activities are in development.
Little Cells is an interactive session that introduces children in the junior cycle of primary school (5 - 8 years old) to the concept of cells that make up our body. Developed last year in collaboration with Dr. Naomi Lavelle of Dr How Science’s Wows, this exciting session helps children to discover the basic components of a cell and their role in the cell’s life, through interactive play and hands on projects.
The session makes use of a presentation as well as visual and tactile games. In the last part of the session, the children will create their very own type of cell from jumping clay and will be able to take it home.
Cell EXPLORERS has developed three highly interactive workshops for the Galway Science and Technology Festival; the School of Natural Sciences Next Top Model Organism Workshop, the Brain EXPLORER Workshop and The Cell EXPLORERS Workshop. These workshops are run during the Exhibition day of the festival and are open for the public to attend. See the GSTF 2014 page for more information about the festival exhibition day and how to apply for free tickets for the workshops when they become available.
The School of Natural Sciences Next Top Model Organism Workshop gives the public a chance to meet with NUI Galway scientists and to discover the research topics of the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway. Researchers and postgraduate students present what the organism they work with and the research that they do. The exhibition allows the general public to learn about up to eight model organisms used in research by the School of Natural Sciences. through observation of these organisms and discussion with researchers about their specific use in research, the visitors will select their favourite model. The public will vote for their favourite model, and choose the Next Top Model Organism for 2014! A draw will be organised among participants to win a visit to the School's research laboratories.
The reigning top organism is Hydractinia echinata! This workshop has also been run for the College of Science Summer Experience. This 40min workshop is most suited for secondary school students and their parents but can be of interest to senior cycle primary school children too (from 10 years old).
The Cell EXPLORER workshop allows children and their parents to learn about cells and DNA by cycling through 5 hands-on discovery activities: Building a 3D cell jigsaw, preparing a cheek cell slide, viewing cells under the microscope, extracting DNA and building DNA models. This 50 min Workshop is suitable for parents and children (from 6 years old).
The Brain EXPLORER Workshop. New this year, the Brain EXPLORERS workshop introduces the public to the basics of brain biology using hands-on and interactive activities! Run in conjunction with the walk-in 'Amazing Brain' exhibition of NUI Galway Neuroscience centre, this workshop will allow the public to discover the anatomy of the brain, the different cells which make up the brain tissues and their roles, an explanation of how nervous signals are transmitted from cell to cell similar to electric signals and an introduction to mechanism generating the electric signal constituting the nervous communication.
Activities include puzzles, matching games, model building races and interactive circuits during which the public can go from the cellular level up to how the brain and the nervous system work as a whole.
This 30 minute workshop is suitable for parents and children (from 10 years old).
This workshop is supported by the American Society for Cell Biology and The Biochemical Society.
Open Days and Science Fairs
We have been active in representing NUI Galway science outreach with interactive workshops at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition, NUI Galway Open Days, the launch of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, the Irish Science Teacher Association Conference and, internationally, in representing Irish science outreach at the Malta Science Expo.
Contact us if you would like us to bring our interactive, hands-on approach to science to your science festival or school Open Day.
Science Holiday Camps
With our partner outreach program, Eco-EXPLORERS, we have developed Bio-EXPLORER holiday camps for children aged 8-13 years old. In 2014 three Bio-EXPLORER camps ran with great success - one during Easter holidays and two in July. The camp days are split into investigating ecology, insects and exotic animals with Eco-EXPLORERS and learning about our bodies, cells, microbes and DNA by peforming experiments with Cell EXPLORERS. All profit made from these camps are fed back into our science outreach activities. Visit the bughunters webpage for more details about past camps and keep an eye on our upcoming activities page or email us to be put on a list for details on our next camps.
Cell EXPLORERS also takes part in the NUI Galway Youth Academy scheme for high ability 4th, 5th and 6th class primary school pupils.