Our outreach workshops

We have a number of workshops which we are able to run for school groups visiting the University or that we can take into to your school. Below are some of the workshops we have delivered in the past. If you are interested in any of these workshops, or indeed have any suggestions of your own which you would like us to help with/run, please contact us: cles-cornwall-outreach@exeter.ac.uk.

Biosciences

Trees are under increasing threat from disease across the world. In this two-part session we look tree diseases and possible cures. Students will go out and collect leaves, which they will then “print” onto agar plates. We then incubate the plates over a few days and come back together to look at the surprising things that live on leaves...

Workshop length – 2 hours over two sessions
Location – in school or on campus

Spend time examining our collection of natural history specimens and finding out some of the amazing things you can learn about an animal just by looking at its skull. Students will answer questions about the specimens as they go around and then come together at the end for a quiz using the multiple choice clickers.

Workshop length – 1 hour
Location – on campus

Students will play games to explore the theory of evolution and how it can be applied to the real world. They will "forage" for beans and macaroni with different tools to see which is best adapted and how this affects their “survival”. They will then compete in an evolutionary arms race... We can also extend this session to include evidence for evolution from your specification on request.

Workshop length – 1-2 hours, flexible
Location – in school or on campus

This workshop uses iPads and virtual dissections to let the students explore the anatomy of different animals. We start by discussing why we carry out dissections and then delve into digestion and the organs of the human digestive system, looking at how and why they differ between other species. 

Workshop length – 1-2 hours
Location – in school

This workshop looks at how genetic techniques have revolutionised conservation and the way we study animals, whilst giving students hands-on practical experience of electrophoresis. They will get the chance to run their own gels in our teaching lab and look at real-life case studies where the technique is used to study and protect wildlife.

Workshop length – 1.5 hours
Location – on campus

This Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) designed workshop uses aquatic micro-algae to investigate how variation in the environment (e.g. changes in light and temperature) affects rates of photosynthesis. In this workshop, students will 'immobilise' large numbers of algal cells in 'jelly like' balls to make the algae easy to work with. Students will then design experiments to investigate how photosynthesis changes in response to light and temperature.

Workshop length – 2.5 hours
Location- on campus

We offer talks on 'Studying Biology at University' for sixth form students. These talks are intended to give students a broad overview of studying Biosciences at any university and are not about Exeter specifically. Topics covered are:

  • Why study Biology at university?
  • What to think about when choosing a degree
  • Student life and experiences
  • How to make a successful application

The talks can run from 30 minutes to an hour depending on length of time available and we can do them in school or combine them with a trip to campus.

Students will play games to explore the theory of evolution and how it can be applied to the real world. They will “forage” for beans and macaroni with different tools to see which is best adapted and how this affects their “survival”. They will then compete in an evolutionary arms race.

Workshop length – 1 hour
Location – in school or on campus

There is a huge amount you can learn from looking at an animal’s skull and skeleton. We will lay out a selection or specimens from our natural history collection and the students will have to guess which animal they come from by looking at the teeth, shape and size of the head and other features of the skull.

Workshop length – 1 hour
Location – in school or on campus

This workshop is a chance for students to see and handle live insects and other invertebrates, whilst getting them to think about why they are so important to humans and need to be conserved. We have a collection of native British species, as well as large tropical species, including Tarantula, Giant African Land Snails, Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches and Spiny Stick Insects. This workshop can be tailored to any age group and various sections in the curriculum on request. Species may vary depending on the time of year.

Workshop length – 1 hour 
Location – in school or on campus

Owl pellets are packed full of bones, fur and other evidence of the prey they’ve eaten and can be used to find out all about an owl’s diet and hunting habits, as well as the local small mammal population. In this session, students will come up with a hypothesis, dissect the pellets, learn to identify the contents and collect data on what they find. This can be adapted to any age group but is sometimes limited by the number of pellets we have available.

Workshop length – 1 hour 
Location – in school or on campus

Students will be given ID guides and other field equipment and sent out in groups to find as many species as they can in the time. There will be experts on hand to give them tips and tell them about local wildlife. The team who find the most species will get a prize! Again, we can adapt this to any age or suitable topic.

Workshop length – 1 hour, very flexible
Location – in school or on campus

This workshop lets the students get creative by using the iPads with Aardman’s animate-it app to produce animated films about critically endangered species. They will learn about the threats to endangered species and different conservation strategies, as well as the importance of communicating science to the public.

Workshop length – 2 hours
Location – in school or on campus

We can use the animate-it app more a huge range of topics, so if you have any ideas for topics you’d like the students to animate, please let us know!

Geography

Earthquakes are dangerous to humans mainly because of the structures we build that fall down when the earth shakes. Students will learn how and why earthquakes occur in this workshop and become engineers, building towers on shake tables that can withstand even the largest quake!

Workshop length – 1 hour
Location – in school or on campus

We offer talks on "Studying Geography at University" for sixth form students. These talks are intended to give students a broad overview of studying Geography at any university and are not about Exeter specifically. Topics covered are:

  • Why study Geography/Environmental Science/Human Science at university?
  • What to think about when choosing a degree
  • Student life and experiences
  • How to make a successful application

The talks can run from 30 minutes to an hour depending on length of time available and we can do them in school or combine them with a trip to campus.