Latitude Festival 2018
22/08/2018 Shannon Woodhouse
By Shannon Woodhouse (SAW Intern - Summer 2018)
We returned to Latitude for a third year alongside University of East Anglia’s Professor Julea Butt, Dr Tom Clarke and researchers from their groups, with a fun, interactive stand to ask the children if they could imagine “Life Without Oxygen?”. Latitude itself is a very popular festival with families, and puts a great deal of effort into ensuring they have an exciting and educational Kid’s Area, one that we were proud to be a part of once again.
With a spot right by the distinctive Helter-Skelter, our stand was easy to find and included both science and art-based activities for the children to explore. Prof. Butt’s group led the science, which included activities to inform children about microorganisms that are able to survive without oxygen and even branching further, explaining that some bacteria produce electricity whilst using rocks to breathe! With temperatures soaring across the weekend, we made use of the electricity producing bacteria to power our digital thermometers, recording temperatures of up to 25oC!
We began by exploring different types of energy and the conversion of one energy type to another by looking at a Newton’s Cradle, kinetic powered light bulbs and there was even a hydrogen powered car for children to play with. Other activities encouraged the children to guess where different types of bacteria are found around the globe, as many bacteria are named after the location in which they were discovered. This also got the children to think about how different bacteria are adapted to certain environments.
During our school workshops, students got to make their own microbial fuel cells using soil collected on site. Our most popular activity though, was the microbial fuel cell VR experience, which really caught the interest of the children across all age groups - so much so we had queues and were forced to introduce a ticketing system to keep the crowds at bay and even had adults queueing for a turn!
After thinking about what life might be like without oxygen, the children were encouraged to create their own oxygen-free planet and anaerobic organisms that call it home. This allowed the children to get creative, making planets using marbling inks to produce beautiful alien-like patterned landscapes and anaerobic organism finger-puppets that the children could take away to play with.
A huge thank you to all the team that helped with both the preparation and running of the stand and to Latitude Festival for having us back for another year, we are looking forward to returning again!