Students quick to quiz scientists

Release Date: 11 November 2016

A group of D&A College science students are proving bright sparks by using a UK-wide science event to help improve their grades.

Hazel MacLean (centre) with Leen Makenchi and Sean Kerr (courtesy of the Evening Telegraph © D C Thomson & Co Ltd).

A total of 15 higher human biology students are taking part in promotional science project involving quizzing research scientists on their work.

“I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here” is an online ‘X-factor’-style competition in which science scholars from all over the country can quiz research scientists who are competing with each other.

With scores of educational institutes taking part, the competition has been split into groups with the D&A students booking a spot in the ‘Brain’ category which involves only neuro scientists being quizzed.

The class were quick to identify an added bonus in taking part in this category – the chance to ask probing questions about brain function than could help them with memory enhancing and study techniques.

Hazel MacLean, led the way in terms of finding out how to retain information for efficiently.

The 20-year-old student spurned the opportunity to ask anything she liked and zeroed in with a question on brain function.

“Taking part is a fun way to promote science across the country and we were offered the chance to ask the scientists anything but I reckoned it would be a wasted opportunity to ask what their favourite pizza topping was when we could maybe get some helpful study tips,” said the former Baldragon HS pupil.

“As students we have to retain information learned now until we sit exams in May – so some knowledge of transferring information from short-term to long-term memory might come in handy.”

With a view to going on to degree study, Hazel is taking four highers at college:  psychology, sociology, English and higher human biology. Other subjects on offer as part of D&A Certificate in Highers programme are physics, chemistry, maths and geography.

In terms of promoting science generally, D&A College bucks the national trend by having more female students on science courses than male.

In Hazel’s class alone there are 10 females and five males.

Other questions the class are keen to ask the scientists include: “Was Einstein one of a kind or do we all have an inner genius waiting to be unlocked?” and “Does the size of your brain impact on your IQ?”

“This project is a great way for our students to engage with scientists who are working in the ‘real’ world, so to speak, and should enhance their learning experience,” said lecturer Dr Elaine McGinnis.