Schoolkids Tackle Animal Research for British Science Week

Schoolchildren from across Greater Manchester flocked to Manchester Museum to see what was on offer for the annual British Science week from 10 – 19 of March.

One highlight was the stall organised by The University of Manchester’s Biological Services Facility (BSF) – otherwise known as the animal research unit.

Over the course of two days, the BSF engaged with hundreds of people including schoolchildren, teachers, parents and the public, who were wowed by what was on show.

The youngsters tried their hands at building mouse cages and learning about the types of enrichment the unit provides, while their parents and teachers asked detailed questions about animal research and the type of studies the BSF carries out.

Visitors got to try their hand at a ‘match the animal with the research’ mini game, guessing which species of animal help scientists understand and develop treatments for different diseases, including cancer, diabetes and stroke.

In another interactive game they learned that mice were the most commonly used species in research.

They also tried out the virtual tour of the unit, available on the University website and learned what an embryonic Zebrafish looks like under the microscope

British Science Week is coordinated by the British Science Association and is funded by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).

It is a ten-day celebration of thousands of events running throughout the whole of the UK with the aim of celebrating science, technology, engineering, and maths.

The organisers aim to make science relevant to everyone and help them discover their own connections with a series of inspiring activities, events and content.

Zach Bowden Communications, Data and Quality Assurance Officer at the BSF said: “British Science Week was a brilliant experience and a vital opportunity for us to engage with the public about Animal Research.

“Our aim was to highlight our proud record on animal welfare and the contribution animals make to scientific research.

“The mini games were particularly popular and our visitors were really fascinated to learn about the types of research carried out and why.

“We’re certain we changed the viewpoints of many groups with our ‘Which animals are used most in research game’.

“Many people still thought rats and monkeys were common species used by scientists, but we were able to change that and explain how we now focus on alternative species such as Zebrafish.”

Rachael Bowden, a Deputy Manager in the unit said: “It was really lovely to see so many people both school children and the public – actively engaging with discussions on animals in research and the technician’s role in this industry.”

Also on the team was Deputy Manager Natasha Allen. She said: “I did not anticipate the amount of engagement we would receive from the public, so it was a very positive experience.

“Kids of all ages got really stuck into the activities, and they asked a lot of questions. People left our stand feeling more informed, and I really enjoyed the openness of it all.”

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