Genomics ‘BoxED’ goes on tour

Get hands on with LEGO this summer to learn more about genomics and the 100,000 Genomes Project

Genomics BoxED – ‘education on a box’ – teaching kits, developed by the West of England Genomic Medicine Centre (WEGMC) and the University of the West of England (UWE), and funded by HEE, will be on show at several education and science festivals this summer.

The kits have been designed as a fun and interactive way to learn and teach others about the purpose of the NHS 100,000 Genomes Project, and how the data collected will help us develop new and more precise diagnostic tests and personalised treatments in the future.

The benefit of hands-on learning

The activity has already been delivered in schools by UWE student ambassadors and has been well received. The activity allows people to use LEGO to explore practically how genetic mutations result in different outcomes for patients and their families. The feedback from those who have used the kits suggests that the practical nature of the exercise is a very effective way of conveying complex concepts, engaging people, and deepening understanding of genomics.

Funding for this initiative has been provided by Health Education England and the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, UWE with the aim of raising awareness of the benefits of looking at genomes for new diagnoses and treatments.

Summer events

More than 3,000 children, parents and science teachers have already had the chance to test out the kits and build robots using pieces of genetic code at this year’s Festival of Nature in Bristol, Cheltenham Science Festival and the Museum of Science and Industry event in Manchester.

Upcoming dates include:

  • Bath Festival of Nature on Sunday 25th June 2017
  • Cirencester College Big Bang science event on Monday 3rd July 2017
  • Big Bang Bristol event on Thursday, 6 July and Friday 7th July 2017

For more details of the BoxED teaching kits, please visit the WEGMC website.