The Manchester Fly Facility was set up at the Faculty of Life Sciences (The University of Manchester) to support scientific research using the genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster, also known as the fruit fly or vinegar fly, which is an important pillar in the process of scientific discovery (explained on the “Why fly” page).
Capitalising on our expertises we also engage in public outreach and science communication, disseminating the general awareness of Drosophila research. The rationale and key strategies for our activity are explained on this blog post and in a recent publication, and on a separate site we have collated numerous Drosophila outreach resources.
In schools, these activities are of mutual benefit since Drosophila provides fantastic means to teach curriculum-relevant biology topics, linking them to inspriring experiments reflecting contemporary science with live animals as is summarised on a recent blog post.
If you would like to comment, suggest or collaborate, please, do not hesitate to contact us: Sanjai.email@example.com [+44 (0)161 27 55628] or Andreas.Prokop@manchester.ac.uk [+44 (0)161 27 51556/7]
How we collaborate with schools and what we provide
As part of our outreach activities, we actively collaborate with teachers and schools. As has been explained in a recent blog, much of the core biology curriculum can be taught extremely well using flies, spiced up with simple, inexpensive and exciting experiments that are memorable, reflect relevant contemporary research and provide students with clear comprehension.
To generate resources that clearly address teachers’ needs and curriculum-relevant biology specifications, we offer internships to BBSRC-funded PhD students (or of any other suitable scheme) who get the opportunity to work as teaching assistants in our partner schools. Through this, they learn about the realities of the daily teaching routine and how the curriculum is applied in schools. During this time, close discussions with teachers are used to identify topics and contexts where Drosophila can be used to enhance the didactic value of lessons, introduce conceptual understanding, and/or bring lessons to life, ideally including experiments with flies which are informative and reflect active contemporary research.
So far, three school lessons were developed which can be downloaded from our figshare site provided as PowerPoint presentations, each accompanied by support documents, such as teacher notes, lesson plans, risk assessments, films etc.