Brain Box provides a suite of materials that teachers can use flexibly to plan lessons to develop scientific enquiry skills and help students gain insight into what a career in research might be like. The learning resource supports the science curriculum across the UK by helping pupils to develop skills in planning experiments, development, analysis, and evaluation. Brain Box uses real world scientific examples to inspire students to develop their own research questions and present them to peers at a ‘science summit’, where pupils vote on which proposals are most worthy of funding.
Last year, the charity developed an engaging and interactive website called Dementia Explained to help parents and children find out more about dementia and how it affects a person. Brain Box builds on the site to encourage teenagers to learn more about how the brain works, how it’s affected in dementia and how researchers are tackling it.
“We know that so many children feel the impact of dementia, but less than a third of parents would be very confident explaining dementia to their kids,” said Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK. “Through the Dementia Explained website and the new curriculum-linked learning resource, we’re lifting the lid on this potentially scary topic and helping young people to develop their own ideas about how research can tackle it.
“Brain Box is designed not only to complement the curriculum but also to inspire young people into scientific careers. Supporting the next generation of dementia researchers is vital if the UK is to continue to cement its place as a country leading the way in biomedical research for years to come.”
Over 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia today, with Alzheimer’s disease the most common cause of the condition. Although diseases like Alzheimer’s affect older people, a 2015 YouGov poll commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research UK revealed that nearly three in ten parents in the UK (29%) say their children aged 18 and under have been impacted by dementia, such as through a parent, grandparent or family friend.
Mark Fawcett, National Schools Partnership chief executive: “We are delighted to be working with Alzheimer’s Research UK on this fantastic education programme which simultaneously helps young people better understand dementia and the work of the charity, while promoting a much needed interest in STEM subjects and science research careers within schools across the UK.”
Visit nationalschoolspartnership.com/alzheimersresearchukresources for more information.