• Question: Bethany, you said if you won you would donate the money to make "learning is infectious packs" to send all across schools. What would these packs include? and whereabouts would you send them too?

    Asked by purplebutterfly to Bethany on 19 Jun 2014. This question was also asked by lucyjones.
    • Photo: Bethany Dearlove

      Bethany Dearlove answered on 19 Jun 2014:


      This is a great question. To begin with, I’d just make the one kit for me to take into schools and use to talk about what I do, and why it’s important. If possible and I could organise it with your teachers, I would take my kit to all the schools I’ve talked to through ‘I’m a Scientist’ first, so everyone who voted for me are the first ones to get hands on with it, and can give me feedback about what they like best! It’d be awesome if I could extend that though, and send packs to schools all over the UK. Obviously there’s only one of me, and as much as I would like to go travelling all over the country, I have to actually do some science to talk about! Sending out packs would be a best of both…my activities and research, just without me (unless I did some sort of video with it…now there’s an idea!).

      As for what I’d put in the packs, here are just a few ideas:
      ~ Giant plushie microbes, to get people talking about what a microbe is and whether they are all bad.
      ~ A microscope, so we can look at real microbes.
      ~ Lego, so we can build sequences (a different colour for A, C, G and T), talk about how microbes mutate and evolve, and then show how I use this information in my role as a disease detective.
      ~ A game of Top Trumps, but for different diseases. Lots of people have been asking about the most infectious and most fatal diseases, so I’d definitely use those as categories so you can learn more about what you’re interested in.
      ~ Strawberry pencils and dolly mixtures to build edible models of DNA, so we can see what it looks like and where the letters come from.
      ~ Lab equipment so you can grow your own microbe (particularly for primary schools, where you wouldn’t be able to do this otherwise).
      ~ Glitter, which is great for showing how far and fast microbes can spread.

      If you’ve got any other ideas about what I could put in, or something you’d like me to talk about that I could design an activity for, then let me know!

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