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Sixth Form students trial new educational puzzle

Three Year 12 A Level Biology students at St Mary’s School, Cambridge became the first students to trial a new educational puzzle developed by The Gurdon Institute in partnership with teachers. As part of the Institute’s ‘Scientists’ Collaborative Project with Educators’, a group of scientists and teachers worked together to create the concept, which is based on the concept of ‘escape rooms’ but in rucksack form. The students watched a video, in which a hypothetical research scientist explains that she has found the cure for a specific type of Alzheimer’s that can be cured by changing a single letter in the genetic code. She is about to do a presentation but has realised that she left her rucksack at the school, and needs the students’ help working out what information she needs for her presentation.

The kit helps A Level Biology students to learn about genetic editing, transcription and translation – the two stages of protein synthesis. Our students got stuck into solving a variety of clues, working together to complete the task in record time – Dr Doerflinger and Naomi Clement-Brod, Public Engagment Manager and Public Engagement Co-ordinator at The Gurdon Institute respectively, commented that they solved it much faster than the scientists that had tried the challenge!

The kit will be launched at the end of January and will be freely available for schools to borrow.

Helen Doerflinger, Public Engagement Manager at The Gurdon Institute, commented: “Our role within the Gurdon Institute is to generate a connection between the public and scientists. Scientists and teachers have worked together to find new ways to create an engaging activity to help bring science to life.”

Anita Chatterjee, Head of Biology at St Mary’s School, Cambridge, said: “The girls had a lot of fun taking part in this interactive challenge. The real-life context helped to bring the science alive, and it was a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop their problem-solving, communication and teamwork skills”.