By Guest blogger

15 décembre 2016 - 09:35

Students at a Science in Schools workshop looking at genetically modified flies
Students from Clermont-Ferrand at a Science in Schools workshop looking at genetically modified flies ©

British Council France

Zombie threat in the Auvergne region

As part of our Science in Schools programme, three eminent Scottish zombiologists descended upon the Auvergne region to raise awareness amongst its local school children about the potential threat of zombieism. Find out more about the content of their exciting and fascinating science workshops making science fun at school.

Travelling to eight schools in one week and taking in the beautiful towns of Clermont-Ferrand, Thierre, Vichy and Aurillac, our action-packed tour was a resounding success and left all of us at the Zombie Institute eager to return to this wonderful part of the world.

Zombiologists each have particular special areas of interest from zombotany to zombie neurology, virology and beyond. We all share a love of biology and for delivering relatively complex biological concepts to inquisitive minds, which we illustrate using the potential dangers of the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.

Dr. Smith, our zombie genetics specialist, ran the first part of the workshop entitled Zombie Science: Worst Case Scenario highlighting the risks and dangers inherent in a real zombie disease outbreak. The children were made to make choices that would affect the fate of the world.

Top zombioarchaeologist Dr. Ken Howe then delivered his Zombie Science: Brain of the Dead lecture. This showed pupils about brain function and how diseases can affect the brain to create zombie-like behaviours.

Both lectures were highly engaging and interactive with a liberal sprinkling of fun, and students were all excited to get involved and keen to answer questions and make suggestions. The added challenge of the language barrier did not seem to hinder student participation at all and our whole team were very impressed by - and grateful for - their English speaking skills.

Zombieism in practice

The second half of our workshop featured zombies of a different species, fruit flies! Students got to get up close and personal with our zombie flies which they could see "die" and come back to life (!), whilst learning about difficult biological processes such as how our nerves act to pass signals through our body. 

Not only did they observe fruit flies under the microscope, but they also admired some very special fluorescent flies glow green! These were an example of transgenic flies, ones that have been genetically modified.

Feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive and the interactive nature of the workshops helped to keep them engaged throughout.

Teachers were also delighted and expressed a strong desire for a repeat of this type of interactive science workshop. Many felt it was difficult to persuade children that science is interesting and fun, especially in schools in areas where vocational training is more popular.

Biographies

Our team of three zombiologists have very diverse backgrounds.

Dr. Smith has a PhD in zombimedia studies from the University of Sound. Alert to any zombie-like behaviour since 2011, he is very proud of the fact that (despite some recent scares) there have been no confirmed cases of zombieism in all that time; undoubtedly thanks to his continuing scrutiny of the media in the civilised world and America. 

Dr. Ken Howe has a Masters in zombioarchaeology from Harrison Ford University and is engaged in groundbreaking work every day. He is considered by his peers to be outstanding in his field, which is frequently the case. He has been helping to spread awareness of the zombieism threat to the public since 2012. His favourite colour is taupe.

And lastly our Fly Zombiologist Lynsey Carroll is currently undertaking a doctoral degree in cancer sciences at the University of Glasgow where she uses fruit flies as a model to better understand colon cancer. Although she regularly spends her free time engaging with the public about anything relating to biology and fruit flies.

Budding scientists looking through the microscope during a Science in Schools workshop dedicated to Zombie science
Budding scientists looking through the microscope during a Science in Schools workshop dedicated to Zombie science ©

British Council France

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