Pupils journey from classroom to kitchen and boardroom with University's help

Youngsters at an Aberdeen primary school have been learning about nutrition and marketing with help from the University of Aberdeen's Rowett Institute.

The Primary 3 class from Westpark Primary School in Northfield were on campus at Old Aberdeen on Tuesday 24 January to learn about the importance of a healthy breakfast and take part in experiments uncovering the sugar content of various types of food.

The interactive sessions were led by Research Fellow Dr Madalina Neacsu, and Research Assistant Jackie Duncan, from the Rowett. They showcased a variety of grains and crops as alternative ingredients that can be used to diversify meals and explained how to rank foods in terms of their nutrients.

"The activities we ran looked at diet and food, specifically breakfast. We looked at the importance of consuming it as well as what you can eat, with examples on portion sizes, composition of nutrients and healthy and not so healthy options. We also discussed how important it is to diversify your breakfast and the different ways you can do that."

The pupils then had the opportunity to brainstorm their own suggestions for a healthy breakfast. They learned the basics of marketing from considering their audience, unique selling points and how to advertise, before going on to present their ideas to members of the Business School and Rowett Institute, as well as Senior Public Health Nutrition Adviser Dr Fiona Comrie from Food Standards Scotland.

After the activities, the youngsters were given a tour of the Old Aberdeen campus, exploring the lecture rooms and wider campus to learn more about what University life is like.

Pam Cumming, Schools Engagement Officer for the Business School, who led the workshop said: “These visits aim to inspire the next generation to think big when it comes to their future career aspirations, from sparking an interest in learning about science and nutrition through to gaining an understanding of the basics of business by inventing and selling their own products.

“The pupils had some fantastic ideas and enjoyed experiencing a small slice of University life during their time on campus.”

Teacher Rachel Seaman said: “Primary 3 had a fantastic visit to the University of Aberdeen. Visiting the campus provided the children with a rich insight into University life, encouraging discussions about career choices, continuing to build our love of learning and remaining curious about the world around us. The children left feeling inspired about the wide range of future pathways which University study can open up.

“The opportunity to learn from lecturers and students at the University was fantastic, and the pupils enjoyed gaining an insight into nutrition and marketing. Primary 3 particularly enjoyed designing a logo for a healthy breakfast and getting to see the Sir Duncan Rice Library. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone at the University who hosted us on our trip.”

Dr Comrie said: “It was great to be back at my old University for a really fun day with the Primary Threes. Their ideas and enthusiasm were exciting! Hopefully, the children were inspired to learn more about the foods they eat and how they can help their families make healthier choices.”

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