A free event where school students get to meet and interact with 25 medical researchers and support staff online. Your students challenge the scientists over fast-paced online text-based live CHATs. They ASK the scientists anything they want, and VOTE for their favourite to win a prize. Students see that scientists are normal people, and learn that their lessons relate to real life.
The activity takes place between 4th–29th June as part of the nationwide MRC Festival of Medical Research.
Register your interest using the form on this page by Monday 30th April.
MRC Festival Zone is based on the award-winning I’m a Scientist project, where school students put their questions to real scientists online. Take a look at the video to see how the I’m a Scientist events work.
How MRC Festival Zone works
Who’s it for?
Much of the activity is pupil-led (the students ask the questions they want to) so different age groups, ability levels, and backgrounds all get something out of it.
- Years 5 to Year 13
- Secondary schools, academies, special schools, pupil referral units and other non-mainstream educational settings
MRC Festival Zone takes place over a 4 week period, though students can log in from 1 week before to begin reading the scientists’ profile pages, and do any background work.
During the 4 weeks of the main event, students can log in at any time:
You book a 30 minute live text-based CHAT. Chats can be booked between 9am and 5pm, at a time to suit your lesson. In the chat your students interact directly with the scientists, ask questions, and let them know their opinions.
Students VOTE for the person they think should win a £500 prize. This money is then used by the winner for their own science engagement activities.
How much time will it take?
We provide all the resources and materials needed, whether you’re running MRC Festival Zone with just one class or a whole year group; including suggested lesson plans and modifications to suit different students’ abilities.
We recommend spending at least 2 hours on the event. This will usually be 1 introductory lesson, 1 homework of reading more about the scientists and submitting questions and 1 lesson of live chat with the researchers.
Why take part?
- Whole class activity — Engage with all young people regardless of their academic ability and attainment.
- Improve students’ attitudes towards research in general and show them how the subjects they study at school link to real medical research being done
- Young people see that working in medical research is a realistic possibility for them.
- Young people are more enthused to study; especially those who “could try harder”.
- Being online gives all students a voice: “The set up allows everyone to have their chance to ask questions, whether they are the loudest person in the class, or the quiet curious student.”
- The students guide the event – they ask the questions and vote for their favourite scientists.
- Creates a ‘buzz’ in the classroom.
How much does it cost?
This activity is completely free for state-mantiained schools. Our funding covers all the costs for the schools.
Do I need any special software or equipment?
All you need are computers with internet access for your students. The live chats are text-based (no video or audio needed) and run through this site. If you’re allocated a place, we’ll let you know of any IT checks you might like to run before your live chat.
How secure is it?
No personal details are shared on the site, and we moderate all content on the site. The only students who can log in are those who’ve been given access by their teacher.
How do I apply?
After you register you will receive an email asking how many classes you’d like to take part with. Follow the instructions in this email to apply for a place.
Want to know more? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01225 326 892.