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Big Research Question Activities

This series of free resources have been developed by the Association for Science Education for their RCUK funded series ‘Research focused teaching resources to inspire students in STEM Careers’.

Whilst using these activities teachers may wish to show students the original research paper (see link provided in resource) and use this to illustrate how scientists share their research and discuss the need for peer review before publication. This supports coverage of Working Scientifically (England).
  • The skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park in 2012 has been confirmed as that of English King Richard III. This free activity explores how isotope analysis of the skeleton revealed more about the lifestyle of the king.
    Richard III - The Isotope Story
    The skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park in 2012 has been confirmed as that of English King Richard III. This free activity explores how isotope analysis of the skeleton revealed more about the lifestyle of the king.
  • Malaria is a disease affecting countries all around the world. What research are Scientists doing to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease?  This classroom activity is based on new research in Borneo and gets students using real-world survey data.
    Macaques and Malaria - The spread of disease
    Malaria is a disease affecting countries all around the world. What research are Scientists doing to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease? This classroom activity is based on new research in Borneo and gets students using real-world survey data.
  • How can hand touch data help to reduce healthcare associated infections?  Using their own understanding of the communication of disease and real life hospital data, students can consider how an understanding of hand touch patterns may be used to reduce healthcare associated infections
    Visualising the Invisible
    How can hand touch data help to reduce healthcare associated infections? Using their own understanding of the communication of disease and real life hospital data, students can consider how an understanding of hand touch patterns may be used to reduce healthcare associated infections
  • How can hydrogen fuel be produced safely in cars?  In this activity students consider how research into fuels derived from ammonia could be used to ensure future fuel security whilst reducing harmful emissions.
    Hydrogen: fuel of the future?
    How can hydrogen fuel be produced safely in cars? In this activity students consider how research into fuels derived from ammonia could be used to ensure future fuel security whilst reducing harmful emissions.
  • Nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima have resulted in land being contaminated by radioactive isotopes. In this activity students consider how research into variations in the uptake of radioactive isotopes by crop plants could be used to reduce human intake.
    Contaminated Crops
    Nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima have resulted in land being contaminated by radioactive isotopes. In this activity students consider how research into variations in the uptake of radioactive isotopes by crop plants could be used to reduce human intake.
  • Street lights make pedestrians feel safer at night, and cut crime. Can we keep street lights bright enough to make people feel safe, but reduce their demand for energy, so cutting greenhouse gas emissions? This activity gets students working on the problem.
    Lighting the Night
    Street lights make pedestrians feel safer at night, and cut crime. Can we keep street lights bright enough to make people feel safe, but reduce their demand for energy, so cutting greenhouse gas emissions? This activity gets students working on the problem.
  • In this activity students consider the design of clinical trials to test the effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccines for community protection in The Gambia, and interpret results from the original research trials.
    Protecting Communities in Africa from Pneumococcus
    In this activity students consider the design of clinical trials to test the effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccines for community protection in The Gambia, and interpret results from the original research trials.

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