First-Year Students Enjoy Exciting Medical Outbreak and CSI Blood Pool Workshops

Students at The Sixth Form Bolton had a wonderful opportunity to take part in workshops run by external company, Thinkers in Education, earlier this term. First-year students studying A level Sciences, BTEC Science, Sports Science, Public Services and Health and Social Care were all invited to attend and the sessions were aimed at those applying to study Medicine, Dentistry and any other medical and health related subjects at university

Thinkers in Education’s aims are to help students develop vital thinking skills that enable them to succeed in education and beyond. Through problem solving, practical work and teamwork the students were challenged to analyse information and synthesise new concepts and ideas.

In the first session, Pandemic - Medical Science Workshop, the group were taught how to conduct antibody testing and blood testing when outbreaks occur. Their simulated ELISA tests, exploring antibody-antigen reactions, determined who was infected. The students then had to accurately apply the demonstrated techniques and determine how to best use the biotech multi-well tray to ensure minimal contamination and maximum reliability. The group used their results to trace the point of origin and apply their scientific knowledge against time and under pressure.

Students were divided into teams by country or continent, with the winning team being the first and most accurate in identifying the point of origin of the pandemic.  The winning team was: Team Europe. The Sixth form scored extremely high points overall, (well above the average) and are now third on the Thinkers in Education worldwide leader board, knocking off a school in Australia!

The students really enjoyed the session with first-year A Level Biology and Chemistry and Vocational Level 3 Psychology student, Akeelah Abiola, saying:

' I loved the practical aspect, from the Elisa Testing to the transfusion.  The experience felt very realistic and I truly enjoyed it.  It also taught me how to cope under pressure and to develop team communication skills.'

In the afternoon, the students took part in the CSI Blood Pool Workshop. The premise was: A body has been found with blood on its hands - but is it the sign of a murder? The students worked in teams to determine what really happened by analysing the crime scene photos, typing suspects’ blood and conducting DNA fingerprints to see who has been where in the crime scene.  The students learnt the key scientific concepts and practical skills ready to conduct each forensic test like a professional - to avoid evidence contamination.  The winning team who correctly solved the case in the fastest time were: Team Marple

This session was also really well received by the students. First-year A Level Biology and Chemistry and Psychology student, Alisha Patel, said:

'I enjoyed doing the fingerprinting and the mystery and suspense behind the activity, I also enjoyed developing my teamwork skills.'

Another student said:

'I really enjoyed this event because it pushed my problem-solving skills to the max. I also realised I should have more confidence in my own ability.'

Jill Whitham, Head of Careers, was really happy with how the day went saying:

'I am so proud of all the students who took part in our two sessions today.  It was wonderful to see them working so effectively in their teams and using their scientific skills and knowledge to problem solve.  Our students are highly ambitious and hope to secure places on competitive degree courses such as medicine or offers of employment with top apprenticeship employers.  The key skills they have developed by taking part in today’s activities will really support their university and apprenticeship applications next year and help them to stand out from the crowd.'

A huge thanks to the Thinkers in Education team for facilitating these great workshops. Find out more about the related courses here.

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