Unit returns to local school for MRC Festival of Medical Research

Unit returns to local school for MRC Festival of Medical Research

Unit scientist Dr Abbey Holt helps a pupil to remotely control a robotic device by mind and muscle

On 15th June, a team of Unit members returned to St Ebbe's C. of E. (Aided) Primary School in central Oxford, where they visited Year 6 pupils and their teachers to help them learn more about science, scientists, and how the brain works to control memory and movement.

Pupils were first given a brief introduction to the work of the Medical Research Council and the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit. Pupils, teachers and Unit members then engaged in a range of hands-on activities that included looking at nerve cells under a microscope, reporting on observations by making model cells, measuring electrical activity from muscles to control a robotic claw, comparing the brains of different vertebrates, discovering different types of memories, and using a game version of a brain-machine interface.

School teacher Mrs Eve Jackson commented: “The children (and staff!) were thoroughly bursting with excitement after the session. We are so grateful for the Unit’s members’ time and efforts. I’m sure it will send the children off to secondary school with a passion for science!”

Feedback from the pupils included:

“I loved it, I never knew that our brain had so many parts.”

“The lifting the ball thing with my thoughts was so cool, I thought I was a Jedi.”

“I went home with so much knowledge about the brain, I loved learning about animal brains - I quizzed my family and I knew SO MUCH MORE!”

“The goggles were the best part - my eyes thought they were being tricked.”

The Unit’s visit to the school was one of many public engagement events led by the Medical Research Council and held across the country from 14th-24th June 2018 as part of the MRC Festival of Medical Research.