Hands-on inspiration

29th June 2017

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Handling live hissing cockroaches and guessing the identities of a variety of animals from their skulls and teeth proved to be fun science for visiting students from two of Wadham’s link region schools.

The 25 year nine and ten students from Manshead School, Bedfordshire and Lister Community School, Newham were attending a Wadham College Aspiration Day, part of which involved exploring Oxford’s Museum of Natural History.

The handling workshop, led by museum staff, looks at objects ranging from fossils to taxidermy birds, animal skulls and insects.

Although reluctant at first to handle the live insects, the students found it fascinating to see up close the differences between the males and females and to understand how they make a hissing noise.

Students had time for a self-guided tour, where they explored some of the 7 million specimens belonging to the museum including many extinct and endangered species such as the dodo and large numbers of fossils, minerals and rocks.

This workshop followed academic taster sessions in arts and sciences with Oxford graduate students, undergraduate-led College tours and a talk about university, A level choices, the different courses available and university life from Wadham’s Access Assistant, Kate Brazier Tope.  

Over 60 schools and 900 students have attended Aspiration Days at Wadham in 2016/17. For many of the students attending this Aspiration Day, it was their first time in Oxford and the first time they had visited a university.  Commenting on their day, the students said it was: “informative”, “fun”, “a great experience”, “interesting” and “brilliant”.

Kate commented: “We were delighted to receive such an enthusiastic and positive response from these young people. We know that days like this one help raise aspirations and can really motivate students to focus on their GCSE studies, giving them the best chance of getting into a top university should they want to in the future.”

  • Manshead Church of England School students

    Manshead Church of England School students

  • Lister School students

    Lister School students