The students set up a stall at the festival and their activity involved understanding the structure of DNA and highlighted how the DNA from all organisms is composed of only four elements or “letters” that assemble in a sequence. The students had sequences belonging to genes from different species, from bacteria to plants and mammals and humans.
One activity involved picking up a sequence and making a “DNA bracelet” out of labelled beads. The beads corresponded to the 4 nucleotides of the DNA. Since the DNA is a double helix, the students were asked to assemble the complimentary strand of DNA from the sequence they had chosen to make the final bracelet. Participants were also shown how the DNA is assembled in chromosomes and there was even a little karyotype representation for the kids to choose a chromosome and make it out of play-dough.
The volunteers were: Omur Tastan, Mattea Finelli, Kenny Roberts, Matthew Williamson, Lauren Watson, Gosia Cyranka, Cristinal villa del Campo and Alon Witztum.
- Providing events that enable the broadest possible group of people to have a better understanding of how science is part of, and impacts on, their everyday life.
- Providing a platform for the many outstanding scientists in Oxfordshire to talk to a diverse audience about what they do, and stimulate interest in their work.
- Facilitating dialogue between scientists and the public
- Providing hands on, interactive science events with broad and lasting impact which will encourage increased public engagement across Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties.
- Building relationships with other similar science activities to share best practice, ideas and resources.
The Oxfordshire Science Festival runs from 23rd June - 3rd July and there is sure to be something of interest to everyone. For more information, please click here.
With thanks to Cristina Villa Del Campo for her text and Omur Tastan for the pictures.