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Inspirational science class for A-Level students

Posted 7 July 2015

The students working in the laboratory

Shropshire A-Level students brought their science class to Harper Adams for an inspirational two-day field trip at the teaching laboratories on campus.

Around 20 students from Thomas Adams School in Wem, alongside their teachers and laboratory technicians, took part in a range of scientific experiments related to their studies.

This included a class investigating genetic transformation, where students inserted a gene for a fluorescent protein into a bacterium.

They also took part in a computer-based class where they used online tools to investigate genome sequences, and performed the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). PCR is a tool for molecular biology which allowed the students to identify a gene in a sample of DNA.

The visit was arranged to enable the students to access university-level equipment and facilities, as well as be taught by specialist scientists.

Senior Lecturer at Harper Adams, Simon Thelwell, who is also a governor at the school, instigated the visit and worked with Laboratory Manager Dr Victoria Talbot and her team to organise the experience.

He said: “Working with the school, we were able to identify areas within the A-Level science curriculum that colleagues here at Harper Adams could deliver in the laboratories.

“This is not only a great chance for the students to use equipment otherwise unavailable to them, but it also raises the profile of science as a career, beyond school.

“I hope the visit has proven inspirational and eye-opening, and shown them what you can achieve using science.”

The group was taught by teaching assistant Thomas Leigh, a member of the Princess Margaret Laboratory team who specialises in applied microbiology.

During the two days, Tom and his colleagues in the lab team guided the students through a range of experiments, which were later analysed for results.

Teacher at Thomas Adams School, Louise Evans, said: “It was a fantastic two days and a great opportunity for our students to gain an insight into what it would be like to study science at university.”

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