The University of Southampton

Activity Type


Activity type Advantages To consider…
Tours Can be useful to set the scene or for showing particular processes such as samples processing in the hospital pathology lab. Why are you doing a tour? Often they are used as time-fillers and provide relatively little educational value. Pupils will get a ‘feel’ for the university and your department on the way to your session.
Lecture/presentation activities Relatively few resources needed. Can cover a range of topics from subject specific lectures (good way of giving a ‘university experience’) to talks on careers, GCSE options, HE information etc. Possibly only suitable for higher ability pupils. Must be relevant and use a hook to spark interest or relate to everyday life. Lectures will have most impact in a lecture theatre so pupils can experience university life/an environment different to a classroom.

Workshops led by researchers based on their own work


Pupils interact with researchers on a personal level to dispel some of the stereotypes they have about academics. Creates meaningful experiences and makes academic research relevant to the pupils’ lives. Researchers learn how to communicate their research to different audiences and potentially spark interest in their particular field. Researchers will need to plan a workshop based on their own work. They may need training to ensure this relates to the curriculum and enable them to deliver the session in a confident and appropriate manner.
Pre- and post-visit lessons or other consolidation Further embeds researcher-led sessions/content from university visit days into the classroom. These can be teacher- or researcher-led. Once they are written they can be used with other schools. For schools to make full use of these they must be directly related to the curriculum that schools would otherwise be teaching.
Challenge/project activities Pupils experience what it is like to be a researcher and as a result gain a better understanding of the research process. They also improve communication skills and understanding of the particular subject area. Working closely with researchers on this type of work can also help change pupil perceptions of who researchers are. For schools to make use of these they must be directly related to the curriculum that schools would otherwise be teaching. These can also be used with science clubs.
Pupils and teachers directly involved in research/data collection Pupils and teachers gain a better understanding of the research process and a sense of ownership. Researchers can keep in touch and involve schools in the final findings of their work. This can be a complex and time consuming process. However, if successful, it can deliver huge benefits for all involved.


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