What Is Science for Schools?
Science for Schools is a research experience for secondary school teachers. It offered the two selected teachers an opportunity to join UCD’s Laboratory of Molecular Evolution and Mammalian Phylogenetics (aka BatLab) for four weeks of summer 2014.
Bats are fascinating mammals, which have unique abilities to fly, to orient in complete darkness, to defy the laws of ageing and to be seemingly immune to deadly viruses. They are a novel and exciting experimental model to better understand how speciation occurs.
During the Science for Schools programme, the teachers used bat research as a unique learning tool to explore key biological concepts in Comparative Genomics, Evolution, Ecology and Ecosystems and Speciation. They received multidisciplinary training in cutting-edge research techniques: they became familiar with laboratory skills, learned how to use basic bioinformatics tools and also participated in field trips.
During the programme teachers developed a free online transition year programme which is now available to all schools. They also blogged about their experience in Teeling’s lab.
This project aimed to stimulate education in these areas, highlight what a career in Science is really like and demonstrate what really goes on in science labs at UCD.
See the UCD Plant Palaeoecology and Palaeobiology Group web site for details of another Science for School experience that ran in the summer of 2013. This site also has a transition year programme that is free to download.
You can watch Prof. Emma Teeling's TEDx talk exploring bats and their usefulness to man:
You can also watch this video on the TEDx web site, with full interactive transcript.