Celebrating St Martin’s Day with science
We decided to have a break from the order and quietness of a classroom and headed to the heart of the Portuguese community in London, Lambeth, to celebrate St. Martin’s Day. In Portugal, St. Martin's Day is celebrated around a fire eating roasted chestnuts and drinking the new wine. The Lambeth Portuguese Wellbeing Partnership provided the chestnuts and Native Scientist provided the fun with a scientific lotto game.
Teams of children and parents were formed and lotto cards were distributed among them. Children picked numbered balls out of a bag. Each number corresponded to a fun question about our bodies: What causes the flu: virus or bacteria? What is the strongest muscle in your body? What is diabetes? Some superheroes, like the Hulk and the cookie monster, were also present to help us teach the children about the health and wellbeing of their bodies, in Portuguese.
Voices were raised, trying to guess the answers to our questions. Some of the children were surprised when discovering interesting science facts. For example, that viruses do not only exist in computers, there are also virus responsible for some diseases, like the flu, or that cancer does not start with a sick cell, it starts with a cell that divides uncontrollably.
There were three winners, with full cards, who received fun fluorescent planets and stars to stick to their bedroom walls. Native Scientist had great fun eating chestnuts and inspiring children and parents to think science!
Vikesh Sharma, founder of the Lambeth Portuguese Wellbeing Partnership & local GP said that: “As a network of health and wellbeing providers we are passionate in finding new ways to engage the community and empower individuals so that they can lead happier healthier lives. It was amazing to have so many passionate partners engaging with the local community and providing support and education in a fun way that brought people together. The Native Scientist lotto was a great example of this. The need to inspire children and broaden their horizons is a theme that has been repeated strongly in our work with the community. It can have so many positive effects not only for the child but also for the household they live in. We are really privileged therefore to have Native Scientist as our partner!”
Sara Marques, training manager at Native Scientist commented that: “It was really interesting to develop a scientific activity for bilingual families to be delivered by scientists at a community event. It was a great setting to celebrate science and language and to reach out to a wider audience.”
The Lambeth Portuguese Wellbeing Partnership is a network made up of over 40 local groups and community members. They combine knowledge, passion, resources and skills to improve the health and wellbeing of the Portuguese speaking community in Lambeth.
Native Scientist is a non-profit organisation based in the UK that develops and implements projects aimed at promoting science and language literacy among migrants and through role model interaction. Founded in 2013, it reaches over 1000 pupils a year and counts with a network of 800+ international scientists in Europe.