What Leading Edge participants have to say

For our British Science Festival exhibit we decided to create a short documentary about the participants of Leading Edge: Taking the Lead 2013. During our final celebration held on 3rd July 2013 each team were interviewed about their Leading Edge experience. While on campus preparing the posters for the exhibition we also took the chance to ask the Teachers from the participating schools similar questions. So sit back, click on the link above and enjoy this web friendly version of our Leading Edge video listening to what the school students and teachers had to say.



Communication Workshop

The communication workshop partners with Gibber to help improve the pupil’s communication and presentation skills. These skills are a vital part of the Leading Edge and scientific research in general, as they enable pupils to clearly and confidently put across their research findings. They can also take these new skills back into the classroom to help their development and progress within their school work.

Gibber’s focus is on development through drama, they aim to connect and inspire young people using a combination of live drama, multimedia, humour, music and popular culture. Therefore the session is very interactive. Pupils watch a short production to kick off the session. The purpose of this performance is to demonstrate to the

pupils the importance of good communication skills and what can go wrong when communication is crossed. They then split off into smaller groups and take part in activities which demonstrate techniques to help them start to feel confident and prepared to present to large groups.


The workshop pushes the pupils to the edge of their comfort zone enabling them to improve their self-assurance and to learn new skills which will help them deliver a clear, concise and confident presentation at the Finale that they will be proud of.

Practical Skills Workshop

A driving force for Leading Edge is to provide Year 8/9 participants a real hands-on experience of the science we do. Our projects aim to achieve this goal via 2-3 visits to the research laboratory of the partnered academic, spanning the school day.

We know from experience that a given amount of time during the first visit is spent training the participants how to use some of the tools we take for granted. This is not a bad thing as it provides everyone the chance to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture of the difference in what a research lab looks like compared to the science classroom.

However, not every project utilises the same tools and even the same scientific skills sets. To provide everyone with an insight into some of the skills we exploit in our labs we decided for our first 2013 workshop to focus on practical skills.

We hosted the workshop in one of the three teaching laboratories housed in the Faculty of Medical Sciences. Lab coats were provided, participants were mixed up to promote inter-school communication, and the fun began. We devised a work plan through 4 tasks plus a tour of the Bioimaging facilities housed in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.  The tasks included:

1) Health and Safety Risk Assessment

2) Know your pipette

3) Getting to know a microscope

4) Calculating the volume of “Gung”

It was a very active 2 hour session. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Mixing up the pupils worked well but also caused confusion amongst Teachers and Academics. Hiding uniforms under regimental lab coats makes it fun finding your project team to say hi and help them out.

Images by Zander Photography