Today we ran a successful antimicrobial resistance in agriculture (agri-AMR) at University of Nottingham’s annual public engagement activity, May Fest. The activity was fairly simple. The children were looking for bacteria in a “slurry tank”. The slurry tank was a ball pit with plastic balls and some (mostly relevant) giant microbes. One particularly special microbe is the plush GFP E. coli which my wife made which today was acting as a multi-resistant E. coli pathogen. The children were given lab coats, safety glasses and a fishing net, and had to collect samples from the tank to pass to our scientists for analysis. We used a light panel for that. Children were then awarded a prize and/or chocolate cow pats (Montezuma chocolate buttons).
We only ran it for two hours and were inundated from start to finish! We had 60 prizes and they all went. The children – including our own – clearly had a lot of fun! We also had some information sheets for the parents about the research that we (a very collective we) do that went down very well and sparked some interesting conversations.
Special thanks go to research students Ishan Ajmera and Sankalp Arya for helping out at the stand – they were awesome and I couldn’t have managed without them. Susie Lydon for arranging the stall and provision of ball-pit balls; Cath Rees for provision of giant microbes, SGM poster, safety glasses, adult lab coats and lots of great ideas; and my wife Di Levine for fishing nets and more great ideas; and my own children for their help and lively participation.
Action photograph showing the slurry tank and analysis of its content!