Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Science in The Park with The Toxicologist Today - The Final Results

I'm really sorry guys for being so inactive lately but I've been crazy busy with my PhD! I just wanted to say that Science in the Park, part of the Science and Engineering Week, last month, was very successful. The Toxicologist Today was there and I would like to thank the organisation for inviting me, especially Noreen. It was at such short notice, but I tried to do the best I could with the budget I had. It all came from my pocket so I had to come up with a fresh funny idea that wouldn't cost me the world. 

In two days I created "Come Climb Mountain Tox". A quiz game with only two possible answers covering subjects posted in this blog, and as one answers correctly goes climbing the mountain levels from Puppy, to Goat, to Climber, to Eagle, to Superman.  I tried to make it for both children and parents, the idea being they would play as a team and help each other. 

So a pair of people would start answering very easy questions at the very bottom of the mountain, questions like "Is it possible to defizz a cola?" to "What is Taheebo good for?". After each answer from the pair I'd explain why the question was right or wrong. A bottle of cola and some packets of sugar helped extract not only the carbon dioxide from the fizzy drink, but also a good smile from all the children we played with.

Because I am not too sure if one can use pictures of children in the internet here in the UK, even though parents gave us permission to portrait the moment, I decided to post pictures with two very funny teams (one from Uni and the other at A levels). These two snaps up there show the tremendous fun we (myself aided by a great friend from Portugal who actually works as a Research Assistant in the CRG team in CBS- Carlos Granja) had throughout the whole game. These psychology students, for example, completely nailed the game getting 20 points out of 21 possible to get. They were rewarded with nice chocolate eggs, but were kind enough to let the big chocolate bunny for the kids that by then were starting to queue up for playing "Come Climb Mountain Tox" with their parents. These girls were not only very cute they were also hilarious, intelligent and we loved learning from them at this blog's first public apparition. 

Many other teams played the game, and all children, even those who were too young to do excellent results, got chocolate to the best of my capacity. They took pictures dressing in lab coats and protective goggles and learned so many interesting facts!

As far as we can tell "Come Climb Mountain Tox" was a success, especially considering the short notice and the tremendously low budget we were working with. The whole experience cost me 20 quid, but I got a lot more than I gave because all those moments I lived with the children and parents were pure treasure. Some children were surprisingly intelligent and astute for their ages, the youngest couldn't concentrate under the influence of a very chocolaty Easter Bunny!

This pair up here was the last one to take home a bunch of chocolate as we were rushing out for there was lab work to do in the afternoon. Overall, we spent 3 hours enjoying this event where a lot more Science & Engineering demonstrations were taking place. 

Next year I'll try to improve my stand and interaction, but I loved this opportunity and would like to thank all parents and kids who gave me the chance to learn from all of you and share my passion for Science.

Kudos for all!

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