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."