Form 6 Attend a Virtual Science Workshop

27th November 2020

Through a connection that sprung from our annual science festival, Bang Goes The Borders, Alba Abad contacted us to ask if we would be interested in participating in a project that she has developed over the last few years. It is called Engage Nepal With Science ( and has sprung from connections that Alba made when working in Nepal. She aims to support and inspire science teaching in Nepal, to make connections between schools in Scotland and in Nepal and to build confidence in STEM subjects.

Of course, we were only to pleased to be asked and the St Mary’s/Tanahun teachers group was born! Myself and Miss Amado are now part of an international team of teachers and researchers working together to promote the teaching of science and we plan to have some team teaching sessions through the wonder of modern technology starting in the Lent term.

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This morning, as part of the Explorathon science festival ( ), we joined Alba and Sarah Jane Judge from the Welcome Trust in Edinburgh and Prajwal Rajbahndari and Suvechhya Bastola from the Research Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology (RIBB) in Kathmandu, along with another school from East Lothian.

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We were treated to a look behind the scenes of the life of a research scientist, saw into their labs, heard about their training and education, learned about their most exciting discoveries and found out what changes they have had to make to their practice with COVID restrictions. We were also taught how to make a Tibetan staple, Gundruk, a form of fermented, dried spinach that is used as a seasoning in pickles and curries everywhere in Nepal.
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Alba told us how she discovered a protein involved in the debilitating condition Alzheimer’s and Prajwal was the driving force behind setting up RIBB, while Suvechhya told us of her work in finding ways to clean up rivers from agricultural pollution when she was working in Newcastle. Fascinating stories to hear and wonderful to see their passion and enthusiasm shining through.

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Finally, Sarah Jane showed us how to trick our families into thinking we had magic fingers! The children had their eyes firmly fixed on the screen as we watched the trick and then learned the science behind it. We were then asked to plan an experiment that would enable us to explore the ideas, which we plan to carry out in the final week of term. The children had a fantastic session and asked some very good questions. It was a real privilege to be included in the group and we look forward to more connections in the future.

Mrs Stuart

Jules Birdsall, 27/11/2020