Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Physiological Society joins the Life Science Teaching Resource Community

The Life Science Teaching Resource Community (LifeSci TRC), a digital repository managed by The American Physiological Society (APS) and the largest resource of its kind, provides teachers and lecturers with a comprehensive and diverse range of teaching aids aimed at students at different stages of their education. Other partner organisations include the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, the Society for Developmental Biology, the American Association of Anatomists, and the Genetics Society of America.

For several years, Society members have developed many digital teaching resources but we have not been able to find a mechanism for evaluating, managing, updating and distributing these resources. It became obvious very quickly that the LifeSci TRC is the answer to this problem.

As a member of this community, Society members can access a range of teaching resources that can either be used in their entirety or adapted to specific requirements. In essence, if you are asked to deliver a new teaching activity, you are strongly recommended to explore the LifeSci TRC to investigate what is already available in your subject area. This can both save you time but also give you new ideas for activities.

The LifeSci TRC is a dynamic digital repository where members of the partner organisations submit their teaching resources for evaluation and review, and if accepted, they are uploaded for all to use. All contributions made by Society members will be marked with The Society’s logo to indicate our contribution and it is important that members actively use and contribute to the repository.  A set of FAQs for submission of teaching resources will be available to all members via The Society’s website over the next few months.

Most importantly, we encourage you all to submit existing teaching resources that you have generated to the repository so that they are a benefit to the community but also to ensure that The Society has an established presence on the LifeSci TRC. We are also looking for interested members to act as referees for submissions to the LifeSci TRC so that we demonstrate The Society’s commitment to this scheme. If you are interested, please contact education@physoc.org.

In the meantime, please take the time to register as a member of the LifeSci TRC, which is free, and explore the repository to find out which activities might be useful for your teaching, outreach or public engagement activities.

This article was published in Physiology News 97.

#Biobakes2014

PN97_Biobakes

As part of the activities for Physiology Friday (part of Biology Week), The Society launched its inaugural Bio-bodies baking competition. Members of the public were challenged to celebrate the human body by making a ‘biological bake’ and sending a picture of their ‘edible cells, organs and physiological delights’ to The Society via social media with the hashtag #biobakes.

With over 270 entries, the competition certainly sparked the imagination of the public. With such a large number of cakes, the top eleven entries were shortlisted before being put to a public vote. Over 4,000 votes were cast and the winner, 11-year old Abigayle Driscoll, was announced at 5pm on Physiology Friday.

The student at Colchester County High School for Girls took the Biobakes crown with her stunning lungs cake, and will receive a £50 Amazon voucher. Runners-up included a model of the human brain, and a birthday cake in the form of a cell.

Abigayle’s win was announced on Facebook and Twitter on Friday and has since been retweeted over 300 times, including a retweet from Scientific American.

Colchester County High School for Girls also sold all their biobakes to raise funds for the Tom Bowdidge Foundation, a local young persons’ cancer charity.

Many congratulations to Abigayle!

This article was published in Physiology News 97.

Student-led ‘Physiology Challenge’ for Biology Week at the University of Leeds

Phys challengePhysiology Friday, the annual event supported by The Physiological Society as a finale for ‘Biology Week’, aims to engage with science in a novel way.  This year, the challenge was set by Dr Charlotte Haigh, an associate professor in Human Physiology at the University of Leeds, and James Croft, a final year Human Physiology student; to “design and run a fun and engaging stall for the local Leeds public at Leeds Central Library”.

Teams of six, which each contained undergraduate BSc Human Physiology students from each year, engaged the public with a range of physiology themed stands: Alzheimer’s disease and neuro-degeneration, cardio-pulmonary health, diabetes, and the science of hangovers. Rose Bavage, Outreach Officer for the Faculty of Biological Sciences, said of the event, “It always amazes me how much undergraduates want to get involved in these activities and how much effort they put into these events. We will certainly be working with more undergraduates on public events like this in the future.”

Students evaluated the success of their efforts and were marked on the quality of their presentations, impact of their projects and the effectiveness of their engagement strategy. The activities culminated in a social quiz within the students’ union bar, and marks from both the outreach project and quiz were used to select a winning team. James Croft commented, “There is a University-wide drive to promote our research findings not only within the scientific community, but also into the public eye. The week ended in a social quiz, and, aside of anything else, outsmarting some of our lecturers was great fun!”

Chris Salmon, a third year student, elected to use peak flow meters to inform the public about obstructive disorders such as asthma, and the effects of smoking, in line with the NHS’s Stoptober campaign.  He said, “It was a challenge trying to communicate principles learned in lectures to the public in a fun and easy to understand way, but we think the visitors to our stand were left feeling inspired.”

Jordan Appleyard, a second year student, designed a mountain range with the peak flow readings of famous athletes, singers, the average person and smokers to allow people to compare their peak flow readings with those of celebrities. He found the Physiology Challenge “a great way to make friends with other Physiology and Biomedical Science students in different years, and a way to engage with members of academic staff outside lectures.”

This outreach activity was a great success and introduced undergraduate students to public engagement on behalf of both our institution and The Physiological Society. We look forward to running the Physiology Challenge again in 2015.

This article was published in Physiology News 97.