Activities for schools

DNA and PCR workshop

This day long workshop aimed at KS5 directly addresses the curriculum target of practical use of PCR. We introduce students to one of the most notable technical discoveries in molecular biology, namely the ability to produce measurable amounts of specific DNA regions from even single DNA molecules as starting material.

Contact Dave Hulse 

Role of Cellular Pathology and a Case of Pulmonary Carcinoma

This is a 2 hour workshop. Initially there will be a 1 hour lecture introducing the role of Biomedical Scientists working within the Cellular Pathology diagnostic laboratory. Intended learning outcomes include: familiarity with the type of work that Biomedical Scientists do and implications for the diagnostic cycle; knowledge of basic histopathology techniques; recognition of the 4 major types of tissue found in the body and appreciation of cellular features of malignancy. This lecture will finish by introducing a clinical case of a patient who had a lobectomy following identification of pulmonary carcinoma. Students will then spend the remaining time looking at biopsy material of the patient's lung to gain an insight into how theory is put into practice.

Contact Glenn Hussey.



Enrichment of water bodies with dissolved nutrients can dramatically upset the delicate aquatic ecosystem. Learn about the sources of these dissolved nutrients, use testing equipment to monitor their concentrations in water samples. Discover how animal and plant communities are affected by eutrophication and how this damaging process can be managed. 2 hour workshop.

Contact Dave Hulse.

Did fire kill Bambi?

Forest fires are becoming more common around the world and seemingly more devastating. Just how many plants and animals such as deer are killed by a fire? How can trees and animals possibly survive a raging forest fire? Explore these questions and more with the use of hands-on samples to determine how hot flames are and the adaptations organisms have to prevent being cooked. Suitable for KS 4 and 5.

Contact Peter Thomas.

The Digestive System

What we eat effects our digestive system. This workshop will include a hands on, and very messy, simulation of an artificial digestive system, where we can compare the effects of different food’s on the digestive system, with a spectacular and even more messy ending. Ideally suited to Key Stage 1-3. Note: This workshop can be delivered in your school.

Contact Dave Mazzocchi-Jones.

We’re going on a water bear hunt!

This is a short (1 hour), microscopy workshop aimed at key stage 2, Keele staff can visit primary schools and supply portable light microscopes to allow the viewing of cultures of water bears, which are also supplied. These organisms, belonging to the phylum Tardigrada are commonly found in aquatic environments and are much loved by biologists due to their remarkable tolerance of environmental conditions hostile to most other living organisms. Water bear biology, behaviour and life cycle are discussed with the class.

Contact David Hulse.

Electron Microscopy Unit

We allow school visits by special arrangement. If you are interested in showing your pupils an Electron Microscope Unit in action, please arrange a visit with our technician, Simon Holborn ( We can show you working SEM and TEM and also the preparation techniques involved. This is particularly useful to AS and A2 level students.

View your own sample! If you want to bring a sample to view and take pictures of it away with you, please first consult Simon and he will explain what types of sample to bring and how to prepare them.

Microscopy lecture/demonstrations. If you want a lecture on the role of microscopes in research and/or how they work as part of your school visit to us, please contact Dave Furness. A presentation on microscopy could also be made at your school!

Nuffield Research placements

The Opportunity is available for a 4-week research placement over the summer for students in their first year of a post-16 science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) course. These are eligible to apply for a bursary from Nuffield Foundation. The hosting tutor, Dr Srabasti Chakravorty, will determine suitability of the student through an informal interview. The student will then receive guidance on the application process to secure the Nuffield bursary.  Previously, students have successfully completed Nuffield Bursary funded projects in 2011 and 2012. One student placement is available each year with Srabasti Chakravorty but other tutors may be available.

Observation Beehive

Bee hive There is an observation beehive in the school of Life Sciences that can be viewed by small groups at a time. A small colony of bees can be viewed safely from behind glass indoors while the bees are free to come and go through a hole in the wall. From about May to August it is usually possible to see a queen bee, worker bees, drone bees, waggle dances, developing brood, stored pollen and honey. Please check that it is in operation before visiting.

Contact William Kirk.