As part of CHRC’s ongoing work to provide educational information to school children, CHRC recently worked in partnership with the NCCF and staff from the Brunel STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Centre to deliver the STEM Bioradiation module titled: ‘Military Veterans for nuclear testing programmes.

The project, aimed for secondary school students aged 14-16, involves pupils working in groups to research information on the history of nuclear testing, to learn about radiation, its effects on cells of the body, and how such effects may influence health. The study module also gives students a glimpse of the scientific methods used to generate information and, the role of different media in communicating scientific information. 

The pilot programme took place in late summer with year 9.1 Science students of Khalsa Secondary Academy in Buckinghamshire, over a period of 6 weeks. The pupils and teachers were supported online and, in the classroom, on a weekly basis by the STEM Ambassadors Justin Dankwa and Jade Stephens, both of whom are CHRC Doctoral Researchers and, Maryam Al-Badry, the STEM Ambassador and co-ordinator of this pilot project. The pupils were supplied an information booklet which contained introductory information on the history of nuclear testing, a selection of veterans’ stories (provided by the NCCF), information on the scientific aspects of ionising radiation and potential health effects, examples of public health programmes and, links to enable further investigation. Feedback from the teaching sessions highlighted the students to be extremely engaged with the project; discussing their selected veteran stories, nuclear testing and, the effect of radiation and DNA.

STEM Ambassadors In class training
STEM ambassadors in one of the in-class training sessions
Khalsa Academy Students
Dr. Rhona Anderson, the students and Mr. Chris Wright of Khalsa Secondary Academy

The last session of the training module was a celebratory day, not least because it coincided with the Schools sports day and the end of the teaching term, but also with our presentation day where each ‘team’ showcased their posters and presentations. Judging this was Jeff Liddiatt (Honorary Life President, NCCF), Rhona Anderson, Julie Whittaker, Maryam Al-Badry with input from the teaching staff. There were some outstanding presentations and all students received a certificate. The NCCF generously presented the top three groups with a trophy for Most creative, Best Communication and Best Research; trophy’s which according to the School, will be proudly displayed.

Mr Chris Wright, Head teacher of Science at the Khalsa Secondary Academy wrote after the presentation day

“After 15 months of lockdown it was a pleasure to have STEM Team Brunel come into the school (both online and face to face) to deliver their Bioradiation Project. The enthusiasm of Team Brunel was excellent and our students loved the learning; researching the veteran history, the biology and choosing a topic to present both orally and through a poster. My Year 9 top set class loved the project and importantly they learnt lots of new skills. I thoroughly recommend it –
a big thanks to STEM Team Brunel.”

CHRC Stem Trophies

All students received a certificate for the project with the top three groups were all presented with a Trophy for, Most Creative, Best Communication and Best Research. The NCCF would also like to thank Brunel Engraving for their efficient service producing the wonderful trophies for us, and thanks to BH Associates for sponsoring the trophies.