Press release

Wellcome Trust “creates science legacy” from London 2012

From today, pupils at every school and college across the UK will get the opportunity to learn how their bodies work during exercise, movement and rest with free experiment kits from the Wellcome Trust’s In the Zone initiative, inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sir Steve Redgrave will deliver the first of the free experiment kits to St Paul's Way Trust School in east London this morning, where he will demonstrate a special science lesson and take part in experiments with the children to understand how the human body works.

Exploring questions such as whether having longer legs helps you jump further and what happens inside our bodies and minds when we take part in sport, the kits are brimming with all the equipment and resources necessary to carry out scientific experiments related to human physiology. By the end of March, every primary and secondary school and further education college in the UK will have received their own kit.

Sir Steve Redgrave said: "I didn't have much interest in science at school, but it became really important to me as I got more serious about sport. I owe much of my Olympic success to a scientific understanding of my body.

"The important thing with these experiment kits is that they aren't just for sporty people. The kits are designed for kids of all ages and abilities to get involved, to understand the value of science and the power of their own bodies."

Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust said: "London 2012 offers a fabulous opportunity to inspire young people in both sport and science. We know that children learn better through practical science than from facts and figures so we wanted to give them an opportunity to test their own bodies. We hope that In the Zone will ignite a curiosity in young people all around the UK to ask questions and discover new things about the value of science in their everyday lives."

Two different kits will be delivered to schools - one for primary and one for secondary. Each kit contains a selection of experiments targeted at different age groups, all linked to relevant science and physical education curricula.

For primary schools, activities include: 'Brilliant Bodies', targeted at students aged 4-5, which investigates balance; 'Stupendous Steppers', for students aged 5-7, which explores how many steps you take to do different activities; 'Super Athletes', for students aged 7-9, which considers whether having longer legs helps you jump further; and 'Heart Beaters', for ages 9-11, which examines the effects exercise has on your body and how fast you recover.

For older pupils, there is a whole range of experiments targeted at secondary schools. 'On Your Marks…Get Set…Breathe', for ages 11-14, looks at how exercise affects breath and breathing rate. 'From Strength to Strength', for students aged 14-16, explores the strength of muscles and how they are used during movement. Finally, 'I've Got the Power' investigates how the cardiovascular system adapts during different exercises or sports and is designed for students aged 16-19.

In spring 2012, In the Zone goes on tour with a live and interactive exhibition for the whole family that will travel to festivals and county shows across the four nations from March until September. Designed and delivered by At-Bristol, one of the UK's leading science and discovery centres, the exhibition promises to delight, inspire, entertain and engage people with the amazing human body.

Nick Fuller, London 2012 Head of Education said: "The Wellcome Trust's In the Zone initiative is helping to create a science legacy from the Games that extends to every child in the UK. I am delighted that it is part of the Practical Learning strand of Get Set, the official London 2012 education programme, and will help to inspire young people to take an active interest in the science behind the record breaking performances we hope to see at the London 2012 Games."

Grahame Price, Headteacher at St Paul's Way Trust School, said: "As one of the top 20 most improved schools in England this year, and London's first Faraday specialist science school, we are delighted that the Wellcome Trust selected us to launch this exciting initiative. These kits provide fun activities for all schools that really reinforce the relationships between science, health and sport."

About In the Zone: Kits for Schools

The Wellcome Trust is sending free experiment kits to every UK school and Further Education College in early 2012, engaging young people aged 4-19 through investigative work exploring physiology linked to UK curricula. A consortium led by Pearson Education is developing and delivering the kits. The investigations include:

Brilliant Bodies, for ages 4-5
Investigate balance and find out about different parts of the body.

Stupendous Steppers, for ages 5-7
Explore how quick off the mark you are and how many steps you take to do different activities.

Myth Busters, for ages 7-9
Discover whether having longer legs helps you to jump further.

Heart Beaters, for ages 9-11
What effect does exercise have on your body?

On your marks…Get set…Breathe! for ages 11-14
Find out how exercise affects your breath and your breathing rate.

From Strength to Strength, for ages 14-16
Explore the strength of your muscles and discover how they are used during movement.

I've got the Power, for ages 16-19
Investigate how the cardiovascular system adapts during different exercises or sports.

In the Zone: Touring Exhibition

A free interactive experience will tour from March to September 2012 around the UK, visiting all four nations. The exhibition, designed and delivered by At-Bristol Science Centre, will engage people of all ages with the science of our amazing human body relating to sport and movement.

The exhibition includes five high-tech interactive exhibits, a live and responsive show with audience participation, and the opportunity for visitors to share data, images and video after the experience via social media.

The content of the exhibition and show covers the major human body systems relating to sport, activity and movement, with exhibits including:

  • Power Zone - investigate how high you can jump and how softly you can land
  • Blood Zone - view your veins and measure the hardworking pump at the centre of it all
  • Strength Zone - put your body through its paces to explore muscles, energy and fatigue
  • Reaction Zone - test your responses to light, sound and touch Speed Zone - measure your speed off the starting line and race down our very own running track.

About Get Set

Get Set is the official London 2012 education programme for schools and colleges across the UK. It provides free learning resources for students aged 3-19 to find out more about the Games and explore the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect and the Paralympic Values of determination, inspiration, courage and equality. It also offers access to exciting prizes and opportunities through participation in competitions and partner programmes. There are over 22 500 schools and colleges registered with Get Set.

In the Zone is part of Get Set+ and is featured within the Practical Learning theme.

The Get Set network is the London 2012 reward and recognition scheme for the active community of schools and colleges across the UK that are demonstrating a commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic Values. Members of the network gain the right to use the London 2012 education logo, and are given priority access to the most exclusive prizes and opportunities.

All schools participating in In the Zone are eligible to receive even greater reward and recognition from London 2012 by joining the Get Set network.

About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.