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    Terrific Scientific!

    Prep pupils join a national journey of scientific discovery…

    Prep pupils in Years 5 and 6 have embarked on a journey of scientific discovery, as part of a nationwide initiative to inspire youngsters to get excited about science. The ‘Terrific Scientific’ campaign, backed by BBC Learning and research charity the Wellcome Trust, offers youngsters the opportunity to take part in fun mass-participation investigations, with real impact on current academic research projects. This academic year, classes will take part in five investigations, covering the topics of taste, water, time, trees and forces.

    New this month is an interactive Terrific Scientific map of the UK, which will enable schools to upload results from each of their scientific investigations and then compare their results with others from across the country. Each investigation will also feed into real research being conducted by some of the UK’s leading universities, giving children a sense of purpose as they develop their scientific enquiry skills.

    Teacher Mrs Suzanne Neal said: “Our first investigation was all about taste. By counting the number of fungiform papillae, the big pink bumps on the tongue which contain our taste buds, we were able to determine whether the children are a ‘super taster’, ‘taster’ or ‘non-taster’.”

    Currently, fewer than 15% of 10-14 year olds in the UK aspire to pursue a career as a scientist, creating a potential skills shortage. The campaign aims to make science as accessible as possible and will include a series of Live Lessons and films featuring famous faces including BFG star Ruby Barnhill, and Terrific Scientific ambassador Liz Bonnin.

    Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Bonnin said: “For some reason, science still has a lot of stereotypes attached to it. You've got to be brainy, or you've got to work in a lab, be an older gentleman with glasses and be extremely boring. But it couldn't be further from the truth, scientists are adventurers, creatives, and innovators.”