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‘Hands on’ science inspiring young minds

‘Hands on’ science inspiring young minds

Palmerston North, 19 October 2011 - A desire to see more young people studying science in schools has spurred a Plant & Food Research scientist to design an interactive programme to interest kids in science.

Post-doctoral food scientist Kerry Bentley-Hewitt, based at Plant & Food Research’s Palmerston North site, has developed the science in schools programme to encourage primary school children to continue studying science into their secondary education. The focus of the programme is food and microbiology, and includes activities on taste and flavour, and investigating the microorganisms found on the students’ hands.

Supported by other scientists at Plant & Food Research, Dr Bentley-Hewitt has taken the programme into two schools so far – College St Normal School and Riverdale School – and hopes to expand to more schools in the area.

“The programme has been really well received by the children we’ve met so far,” says Dr Bentley-Hewitt. “Each session ended with question and answer time, which really showed how much they had learnt and how inspired they had been. If it wasn’t for the teacher ending the session it could have gone on all day!”

Dr Bentley-Hewitt is a scientist in the Food & Nutrition Team at Plant & Food Research. Her research is looking at the impact of food on immune status, particularly effects mediated by gut bacteria.


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