Swansea University Biosciences department goes down a storm at TeenTech event

TeenTech was held at the Liberty Stadium 10th May 2013. It was a lively one‐day event that aimed to change perceptions of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers amongst teenagers and their teachers and acts as a catalyst to encourage industry effort in engaging young people.

Working alongside regional partners TeenTech ensures schools in disadvantaged areas are targeted, that each event is relevant to the region and that learning and inspiration continues after the day in a co‐ordinated fashion. TeenTech is a powerful and uniquely collaborative event, which changes perceptions. 

Swansea University Biosciences and Engineering hosted two stands at the event.

The Biosciences stand promoted Biological science, Genetics and Biochemistry degree schemes, using microbiology and immunology as possible careers. The stand was visited by Bishop Vaughan Catholic School, St Davids School, Cwmtawe Community School, Bishop Gore School, Afon Taf High School, St John Beddoes, Ysgol Tregib, Bryn Teg School and Pentrehafod School.

Teentech STEM Students participated in an activity to highlight that microbes are all around us and in particular on our skin and the skin acts as our first line of defence. A volunteer rubbed ‘Glow Bug Glitter Powder’ into their hands and visualised this under a black light. This represented all the natural microbes that exist on the skin flora. They were then encouraged to shake hands with class mates to see if the powder would spread, they were made aware that as well as the powder spreading from person to person all the microbes on skin were transferred too. To further illustrate this we had pre-made agar plates that had a hand prints on them and  were incubated overnight,  to demonstrate the different types of  microorganisms that can be present on our skin.

We highlighted the second line of defence in the immune system and in particular white blood cells. Students were shown a brief one minute video of blood flowing through the circulatory system. The video identified three components of the blood; the red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells. Students were encouraged to identify these cells and explain their role.

We then explained that there are many different types of white blood cells and using a poster showed them what they looked like. Participants were then encouraged to look at a pre-stained slide to show red and white blood cells and then had a mini challenge to guess which blood cell they could see comparing back to the poster. Finally students were shown a pre-made slide of neutrophils in the process of phagocytosis of MRSA.

Feedback from the day included:

‘The bioscience stand was the best stand a student had visited all day’ and ‘Coolest looking stand’.

For more information on the Bioscience department go to http://www.swansea.ac.uk/biosci