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Let your children learn about the wonders of science at this unique workshop at Old Buckenham Village Hall

PUBLISHED: 18:40 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:40 14 March 2017

Mandy Hartley is running a science workshop for children. Here she is pictured at a similar workshop a couple of years ago. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mandy Hartley is running a science workshop for children. Here she is pictured at a similar workshop a couple of years ago. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Most of us only get chance to learn about the wonders of physics, chemistry and biology at secondary school.

Dr Mandy Hartley, pictured when she was technical manager at Anglia DNA. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYDr Mandy Hartley, pictured when she was technical manager at Anglia DNA. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

But a scientist running a rare free DNA workshop for children at a rural village hall this weekend has issued a plea for youngsters to learn the subject at an earlier age – with the aim of inspiring the detectives of the future.

Mandy Hartley previously worked as a DNA scientist but now runs the Little Storytelling Company, where she gives workshops to young people designed to spark their interest in the subject.

Although events like the Norwich Science Festival give city youngsters their first taste of chemicals and things that go bang, there is little for children in rural areas.

So Mrs Hartley successfully applied for a grant from the British Science Association to run two workshops at Old Buckenham Village Hall, near Attleborough, on Sunday, March 19 – one for children, at 10am, and a separate one for adults at 7pm.

“DNA is becoming more important to our generation,” she said.

“Children are getting switched off with science once they reach secondary school-level.

“It is important to get them engaged in science early and show them the real-life applications.

“If you can teach them at primary-level and get them to understand the basics, it’s not such of a jump for them at secondary school.”

The key, Mrs Hartley believes, is to make the workshops as fun, engaging and practical as possible to spark the youngsters’ imaginations.

For example in Sunday’s session, entitled Is My Grandfather a War Hero?, the young people find how real-life scientists would investigate someone’s past using forensics.

They also get to see what DNA helix looks like – made of sweets.

“You see that sparkle in the children’s eyes,” Mrs Hartley, of New Buckenham, said.

“For some children, that will be the moment they decide they want to become a scientist.

“If you ask some kids what careers are available, they don’t really know about scientists. I want to broaden their understanding.”

Each session lasts for 90mins and is limited to 40 people. Those interested in attending should email Mrs Hartley on TLSTC@outlook.com

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