UWE+Bristol schools bring evolution to the Mall Galleries

Issue date: 05 February 2010


Beaks evolved in response to habitat The Mall Galleries Sunday 7 February 2010

Students from two Bristol schools will show off their skills as Science Communicators at the Mall Galleries on Sunday 7 February.

The Orchard School and Downend Technical College have worked with scientists who specialise in science communication from the University of the West of England to find out more about how evolution is relevant in everyday life.

Dr Darren Reynolds from UWE's School of Life Sciences explains, “The work we have done in partnership with the two schools is the culmination of a BBSRC* funded project called 'Evolving Communities'. The main theme of the work has been evolution, chosen to coincide with last years celebrations of the work of Charles Darwin.

“The students have produced some amazing images inspired by the sessions on evolution. They have been learning how evolution is very relevant to our lives and also impacts on our collective futures.

“We investigated evolution in agriculture by looking at how wheat has been artificially developed so that it grows well and is easy to harvest. This has great relevance to our future as food security looks to become a major concern. The students also learned about how birds' beaks have evolved in response to their habitats.”

The students have produced a selection of images and artworks that demonstrate their understanding of evolution around the theme of how humans might evolve.

Shoppers visiting the Mall Galleries on Sunday can enjoy the display and find out more about evolution from the students who have now themselves evolved into expert science communicators.

Matt Grafton, Head of Science at the Orchard School Bristol, said, “The Evolving Communities project has been a great learning opportunity for the students and we have enjoyed welcoming the UWE scientists who have given a fantastic insight into this exciting topic. The work neatly dovetails curriculum topics and has given the students a better understanding and appreciation of the wider significance of evolutionary theory.”

Dr Karen Bultitude, from UWE's Science Communication Unit concludes, “Evolving Communities is all about inspiring young students to look at the bigger picture and to aspire to take their knowledge further. We need more scientists and we believe that by making science relevant and meaningful is key to encouraging more students to take their explorations further.”

*'Evolving Communities' is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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