Baylab workshops are designed to be fun and engaging. Students can isolate their own DNA from their mouths and take it home with them in a necklace, or ‘solve’ a crime using forensics, while learning sound scientific principles through a process of discovery.
All workshops are targeted to different key stages. Some experiments have basic and advanced versions, depending on key stage
Extract your own DNA – a two-hour workshop for students aged 10-14 years
This workshop gives students the chance to think about what makes human beings unique. They learn more about DNA, what it is and where it is found, and how the structure makes each person different. It links to the real world in many ways, such as studying the genetic causes of disease, development of diagnostics and drugs, and also in forensic science and sequencing genomes.
Here, students will extract their own DNA and walk away with a small piece of it in a necklace for them to wear. They harvest their own cheek cells then extract the DNA. It is a great introduction to enzymes and DNA structure, using equipment normally only used at degree level.
Bees and honey
why are bees so important? A four-hour session for primary pupils ages 7-11.
A bee quiz provides a fun-filled introduction to the topic. Pupils take on the role of a “Bee” and study their jobs and themselves using microscope slides and a model bee to decide how bees pollinate flowers and collect nectar. They use real flowers, magnifying glasses and see-like-a-bee goggles to help them on their journey. All of this takes place before they get hands on with science equipment in the Baylab to discover more about honey; they will detect different types of sugar, confirm antibacterial properties and the mineral content of honey. As they buzz their way through this workshop students will improve their laboratory skills; from recording, evaluating and discussion of results.
Dyes and Pigments
A four-hour workshop designed for pupils aged 7-11 years
In this workshop students discover what colours really are, understand how objects become coloured, and how chemists can use dyes and pigments in industry. Students get the chance to investigate uses of colour, looking at what white light is made of, how light behaves and how our eyes work in order for us to see colour/objects.
They will take part in a wide variety of practical based activities; from learning about the history of dyes and how they were made, to creating their own paints and natural dyes as well as getting hands on with 3D eye models to help them gain a deeper understanding of colour in the real world.
A four-hour workshop designed for pupils aged 7-13 years
Baylab has developed a new and exciting workshop focused on the cardiovascular system. The workshop will look at the composition of blood, the circulatory system, structure and function of the heart as well as looking at heart disease, heart health and lifestyle.
The students will have a go at making their own fake blood, using microscopes to look at blood smears, modelling the circulatory system as well as getting hands on with anatomy models, blood vessel scanners and much more.
By the end of the workshop, students will have a good understanding of the core structures and function of the heart and cardiovascular system, heart diseases and their impact, and ways to look after their own hearts though healthier lifestyle choices.
A two hour workshop designed for pupils ages 7-11
A new workshop that allows students to think about food in a different light. This workshop will look at our digestive system, importance of food in nutrition and fight against disease and infection as well as how scientists can analyse our food.
Students will follow the journey of a banana sandwich through the digestive tract, exploring the roles of the different organs and learning some mind blowing facts along the way. Becoming scientists, they will then venture into our lab to perform some simple chemical tests on a variety of different foods.
By the end of the workshop, we hope the students have a greater understanding of scientific methodology and further their knowledge and interest on how their bodies work.
Secondary and Sixth form sessions
A five hour workshop designed for pupils ages 16-18
During this workshop student’s look at DNA from a missing person’s investigation, using molecular biology techniques such as PCR and gel electrophoresis students create DNA profiles for each individual.
Students achieve this by studying the non-coding regions of DNA, looking at sections known as Short Tandem Repeats (STRs) in order to identify an individual. This involves cloning the sections using PCR before separating the DNA fragment sizes with gel electrophoresis and interpreting the data shown.
By the end of this workshop, students will further their understanding of the use of genetic fingerprinting in the field of forensic science, giving them an opportunity to apply the theory from their studies.
A question of taste
A five to six-hour experiment for students aged 16-18 years
This genetics workshop allows students to determine their ‘phenotype’ and ‘genotype’ for a taste receptor that we share with our primate ancestors. Students will extract and test their own DNA using modern molecular biological techniques to compare their phenotype with their genotype. The workshop, developed with the Wellcome Trust to mark Darwin's 200th birthday, demonstrates how we as a species have evolved to lose the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide, a chemical found in vegetables such as broccoli.
Catalysts of life – a four-hour experiment designed for students aged 13-16
This workshop shows students what enzymes are made of, how they are used in the production of medicines, and their medical and biotechnological uses. They find out that the human body is full of enzymes relying on them to do lots of different processes from digesting foods and replicating DNA, to helping repair damaged cells. Students conduct protein characterisation of the enzymes; and study the action and effects of enzymes as catalysts using different substrates (sugar, starch, sugar analogues). They discover the biotechnological uses of enzymes, and finally, discover that many drugs are specific enzyme inhibitors.