A day volunteering with the Genetics Society at Lambeth Country Show

Public event photograph

From building your own colourful chromosomes to making “I am allele cute” badges: a fun day volunteering with the Genetics Society

Explaining science to children is a difficult task. Discovering science with children, however, is much easier. This is what the Discovery tent at the Lambeth Country Show, London had prepared this July.

The Genetics Society asked me if I wanted to volunteer for their stall at the show and without hesitation I said yes. Feeling a little nervous to begin with, I quickly felt at ease with the group of enthusiastic children surrounding our table as together we made genetics happen. Twisting small pipe cleaners into X-shapes and fitting different coloured beads on, we built chromosomes carrying some of the genes that make us look the way we are. Can you roll your tongue, what colour are your eyes and which thumb goes on top as you clasp your hands: those were some of the questions we asked children and their families so they could build their “mini-me” chromosome. It was amazing to see how such a simple activity made children of all ages so interested, so much so that even babies in buggies got their unique chromosome made by their older siblings. Even though our wobbly table prevented us from making badges all day, the ones we made were not only “allele cute”, but a must-have by every child who stopped by. As the day progressed we got busier and busier, but the enthusiasm did not seize. We finished by the early hours of the evening, I was quite exhausted, but also feeling inspired and eager to do another volunteering event.

If you have not volunteered at a science event or fair-you should do it! If you love science and want to engage with the public, you will thoroughly enjoy it! The Genetics Society is a great organisation to do it with- many thanks for having me on board.


Lidiya Nedevska, Oxford Brookes University