Darwin and DNA lessons for kids

Darwin and DNA lessons for kids

Hundreds of kids across Aberdeen City and Shire will this week hear about the scientist whose findings revolutionised our understanding of the natural world.

An insight into the work of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution will be shared with S1 and S2 pupils at a series of action packed roadshows being staged by the University of Aberdeen Natural History Centre.


Centre staff are hitting the road as part of National Science and Engineering Week and they will have live bugs, little creatures and fossils in tow.

Mandy Tulloch, Development Co-ordinator at the Centre, said: "We are taking our Darwin Roadshow to around 700 science pupils across the North East this week.

"We are targeting S1 and S2 pupils in the hope that we really inspire them about science and see it as a subject they would consider studying in their future school careers.

"The kids will get the chance to handle live beetles, earthworms and barnacles and see some insect eating plants. 

"Pupils will also be extracting their own DNA which they can study and then take home in a plastic tube."

Genetics is also the focus of an interactive show that is being performed at each school by local social enterprise theatre company Live Wire Productions.

Vanessa Chew, Chief Executive of Live Wire, said: "Our Lottery of Life show is an amusing, upbeat, engaging and interactive show which explains our heritage, basic cell structure, chromosomes, DNA and genes."

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen's School of Biological Sciences will also be giving talks to pupils on a wide range of subjects which include diet and obesity; the protection of endangered water voles from American mink; the study of bioluminescence - which is light produced by a living organism, and research into tropical root plants which are part of the ginger spice family.

National Science and Engineering Week takes place in the wake of Scottish Government campaign Do Something Creative: Do Science which aims to improve perceptions of science and science careers by young people.

Dr Andy Schofield, Senior Lecturer and Academic Co-ordinator for Promoting Science at the University, added: "This is the first time the Natural History Centre has gone out on the road with such an ambitious venture.

"We have lined up a really busy schedule which we hope will leave our young students filled with enthusiasm and passion about science.

"Our roadshows are also a perfect example of doing something creative to stimulate pupils to learn more about, engage with, and challenge science."


  • The Darwin Roadshows are rolling into Westhill, Kincorth, Banchory, Hazlehead and Oldmachar Academies.
  • National Science and Engineering Week culminates in a Discovery Day this Saturday with plenty of free activities taking place at Aberdeen Maritime Museum and Satrosphere Science Centre. For more details see: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/science/nsew/