Thanks to a grant from the Physiological Society, we ran a project about sleep at the beginning of the year with Hempshill Hall Primary School. Year 4 pupils worked with physiologists from Nottingham Trent University, including Dr Carl Nelson, and creative practitioner Julian Hanby over a series of weeks. Together, they explored questions like 'why do we yawn?', 'what do our brains do when we're sleeping?', 'how much sleep do you need?' and kept sleep diaries to record factors affecting how much sleep they got each night.
They then developed a presentation to communicate their findings about everything they had discovered. At the end of the project, during the Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity, the pupils performed to parents, siblings and peers.
As part of this grant, we were also able to work with artist Rachel Scanlon to develop creative science activities in libraries around sleep. These activities took place at Bilborough library and the Dales Centre during the Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity and included families taking part in The Great Nottingham Sleep Survey, running zoetrope animations inspired by dreams and making dream catchers. We also had Amelia Pollard from the University of Nottingham come to the National Videogame Arcade on Saturday 17th February to discuss her research with the public, which involves sending worms to space to learn about the physiological changes of astronauts after long periods in space.
Many thanks to everyone involved in all of these projects and to the Physiological Society for supporting with a public engagement grant.