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Genes in Action Curiosity Box: Inheritance STEM experiment kit

Public engagement and communication of gene and cell therapy research is at the heart of the BSGCT mission and vision. We are particularly passionate about explaining the concepts of gene and cell therapy to younger members of the public and inspiring the next generation of researchers. To facilitate this goal, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Strathclyde University and The Curiosity Box, and funded by the Medical Research Council, we designed a ‘Genes in Action Curiosity Box’.


This experimental kit introduces primary school pupils to concepts of genetics, inheritance and gene therapy. Specifically, the kit comprises a set of hands-on activities based around a story of a boy who suffers from poor sight due to a genetic disorder (retinitis pigmentosa). The activities guide children through inherited versus non-inherited traits, understanding how these traits are inherited and learning that diseases (such as retinitis pigmentosa) can also be inherited. Children also learn about a field of science that is aiming to cure or alleviate genetic disorders (gene therapy).


All the materials required for carrying out the activities, including detailed step-by-step instructions, are packaged in boxes as ready-made kits. A couple of videos contained within the kit introduce children to a person living with retinitis pigmentosa and to scientists working in the area of cell and gene therapy.

 

The activities were piloted in 30 schools across the UK with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Teachers described our activities as “Fantastic engaging resources” and highlighted that children particularly “loved the practical experiments”, which are rarely performed in primary schools. We also used some of the activities in our BSGCT Public Engagement Days and outreach events at our local Universities.



 If you are interested in trying out these activities, you can find out more here or join us at one of our next BSGCT public engagement events!

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