Pontypool Party in the park 2022

I think it’s safe to say we’re back!! With some new team members and some new ideas to develop we are very excited about the future of Show Me The Science.

We’ve been very lucky to be part of a STEM Innovation Project organised by See Science (and more on that in a blog post soon!). While it’s been great to get back into schools to promote STEM subjects and STEM careers it’s been just as great to get out and about with the general public. Recently, we attended Cwmbran Big Event, at which we were also invited to join in at Pontypool in the Park where we had a few activities set up that so many people had a go at, we love enthusiasm here at Show Me The Science HQ. Myself (Hayley), Daniel and Winnie attended the event and brought some of our favourite and most popular activities, and a brand new one to boot!

Some of our flagship activities that brought so much joy to others were:
Meet the Microbes: with some new additions from Giant Microbes, this is always a popular table. What a fun and unique way for us to demonstrate that only 1% are pathogenic but many more benefit us in society. We love using these at festivals and school visits.

Building Blocks of BiofilmsALWAYS popular with both school children and festival goers alike, who doesn’t like building blocks right?!?!? This activity was developed by our very own Daniel and is a great way to explain how microbes grow and helps us to show why it’s important to use the correct medication and why you always need to complete a course of medication. You just need to look out for events when we bring along our Giant building blocks of biofilms.

Seeing is Believing: Have you ever seen your own DNA? No? Well, this is an activity that we are starting to carry out more and more as gives a real WOW factor. One thing we pride ourselves on is to make science accessible to everybody and show how science is something that can be done easily at home without any expensive equipment and we really feel this activity shows this perfectly. Imagine being able to see your DNA within a few minutes using stuff you probably have at home or can very easily buy in a shop. This is my personal favourite, it’s so quick and easy.

Making the Invisible Visible: This is one activity that we don’t often carry out but I think we will start to do this more and more. We take thumb imprints onto a jelly called agar which contains food for microbes to grow. Give us a few days to grow the microbes in an incubator and we will post the pictures of what microbes have grown from your thumb!!! What more do you need to show how important washing your hands is. I think this is another activity that will pack a punch with people because we can’t see the microbe son our hands so I think people find it hard to believe they are there and this shows exactly what is on your hands. At the event you were given a number, and this corresponds to the section of agar below (Dr Dan edit: These all look pretty normal to me! Some great examples of the different bacterial microbiota we have on our hands! Seeing lots of bacilli (from the environment), staphylococci and streptococci which are also pretty normal for our hands!)

Overall we had a really fun day at Pontypool in the Park…….busy but very fun. We can’t wait for our next event at Merthyr Science Festival.