Talks for secondary

These talks have been specifically designed with secondary students in mind.

Some videos were recorded in previous academic years so may contain course content and entry requirements that aren't relevant for your year of interest. Use our A-Z course search for up-to-date admissions guidance. 

We'll continue to add to these resources over time. 

Discovering talks

Discovering humanities

Hear from Charlotte Hoyland, one our PhD students about the benefits of studying Humanities degrees. This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Why study presentations

Why study Architecture?

Diana Osmolska, a PhD student in the Manchester School of Architecture, breaks down what it’s like to study Architecture. This video is aimed at KS4/5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Astrophysics?

PhD student Helen Grant talks about her own educational journey to Astrophysics, and how studying an unconventional course allowed her to really explore her varied interests and work out exactly what she wanted to do with her future. She explores the skills that you can learn on a Physics degree, along with the huge variety of job opportunities afterwards, along with all the additional opportunities available to students who study at university.

This video was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Biological Sciences?

Liam Johnson

PhD student Liam Johnson talks about his love for Biosciences, and why he believes students should consider this subject at higher education level. He explores the skills you’ll learn, the jobs you could go onto after a Biosciences degree, and all of the extra-curricular activities available to students at university. 

This video was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Jason Chu

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Katie Sadler

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Why study Business?

Charlotte Hoyland, one our PhD students, talks about the benefits of studying a Business degree. This video is aimed at KS4/5 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Why study Chemistry?

PhD students James Bird, Emma Norgate and Olwen Stagg talk about their own experiences of studying Chemistry, and why other students should consider it as an option. They go into detail of the benefits of studying at university, the different types of Chemistry courses, and the careers available for Chemistry graduates. 

This video is aimed at KS4/5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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James Beswick, a Chemistry and Biological Sciences PhD student, outlines the benefits of studying Chemistry. This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Why study Computer Science?

PhD student Kaspar Matas tells us how studying Computer Science allows him to pursue his interests in both art and maths. Discover the many different pathways within Computer Science and the careers it can lead to.

This video was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study English?

Hear from our PhD student and children’s author, Chantal Bright, about the benefits and joy of studying English in higher education. This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study History?

Anne Stokes, a University of Manchester PhD student, discusses the benefits of studying History. This video is aimed at KS4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Law? (Even if you don't want to be a lawyer)

Hear from Anna Nelson, one of our PhD students, as she talks about why studying law is still interesting, inspiring and productive – even if you don’t end up being a lawyer. This video was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Linguistics?

Here Alina McLellan, a PhD student in French and Linguistics, discusses the benefits of studying Linguistics. This video is aimed at KS4 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Why study Medical Biochemistry?

Charlotte Mellor talks about benefits of studying a Medical Biochemistry degree and key things to consider. This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Medicine?

Hear from our students about the benefits of studying a medical degree and some of the key things to consider. 

Nadin Hawwash

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Lior Saad

This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Annie Baldwin

Teachers can download supporting worksheets and answers (PDF, 853KB) for this talk. This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Microbiology?

Hear from Elisabeth Trinh, one of our PhD students, as she talks about what Microbiology is and what makes it an interesting subject to study. This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Modern Languages?

Alina McLellan, a PhD student in French and Linguistics, tells you why she chose to study Modern Languages as part of her undergraduate degree. This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Music?

Here, Cameron Biles-Liddell, one of our Music PhD students, introduces you to the benefits of studying Music. This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Pharmacology and Medical History?

This recorded talk, delivered by PhD student Jess Traynor, gives an introduction to Pharmacology and covers some areas of Medical History. This video is aimed at KS4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Physics?

PhD student Mariam Rashid talks about how studying Physics at undergraduate level opened up a world of opportunities for her including the chance to spend a year a Japan. The benefits of going to university stretch far beyond the academic and career outcomes, as Mariam explains in this video.

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Politics and International Relations?

Hear from Joshua Barritt, one our Politics PhD students, as he talks about the benefits and opportunities that come from studying Politics and International Relations.

This video was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Why study Zoology?

PhD students James Chester and Sam Coatham talk about benefits of studying a Zoology degree and key things to consider.

This video was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshops

Workshop: Architecture – 15 minutes in the shoes of an Architect

During this workshop, created by PhD student Diana Osmolska, students are given a site in the city centre of Manchester ready for development. They are asked to propose a building on the site. They are provided with three tasks to help with their proposals, those involve deciding what building they would like to propose and why, how will the building look and what happens in the building.

Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can view the worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Biochemistry – Snot a problem

When thinking about mucus, you probably imagine a snotty cold or a slimy snail right? Mucus is everywhere, but what actually is it and why do we have it?

This workshop, created by PhD student Jack Sharpen, answers this question by introducing you to how biology and chemistry work together in discovering the unique properties of mucus (including how to make your own artificial mucus). We’ll then look at mucus in your body and its importance in normal health and different diseases.

Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can access the worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Biology – Diagnosing bacterial infections

Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Infectious diseases are estimated to kill more than 17 million people worldwide each year.

How can we diagnose these infections and ensure the right medication is given to patients? What are the problems with giving the wrong antibiotics to treat an infection? And what are the possible ways in which diagnosing these diseases caused by bacteria could be performed quicker?

The workshop, created by PhD Student Elisabeth Trinh, will introduce students to bacteria and infection, discussing different types of common infections such as Urinary Tract Infections and Wound infections, and the symptoms which will come with those infections. Teachers can access a lesson, and teachers and pupils can access a workbook:

This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Biology – Dying to live

Charlotte Mellor presents a fascinating and challenging workshop for KS5 pupils on Chemotherapy and Cancer. Pupils can complete a supporting worksheet. Teachers can download the worksheet and a lesson plan:

This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Biology – Microbes and the mind

Have you ever felt the sensation of butterflies in your stomach before doing something scary, or told someone you have a “gut feeling” about something? There’s a good reason for these sayings, and the explanation may surprise you.

The gut-brain axis is a term we use to describe how the brain communicates with the gut, and vice versa. In this workshop, PhD student, Maddie Hurry will help you explore the microbes that live in our guts and the surprising effects they can have on mental health and brain function.

Teachers can access a lesson plan below, and teachers and pupils can view the quiz as well as the answer sheet:

This video is aimed at KS4/5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Biology – Paper plane proteins: modelling genetic mutations

This recorded workshop delivered by PhD student Katie Sadler starts with an introduction into DNA, genetics, and how changes to our genes can result in changes to proteins and sometimes cause disease.

After the short introductory lesson, students are invited to make different paper plane models alongside the demonstration. Each model has a slightly different set of instructions which represent a different type of genetic mutation that might occur in our genes. By comparing the plane models we can observe how changing building instructions can change the outcome in different ways.

This workshop is aimed at KS3/GCSE students and can be done at home or facilitated in a classroom. A teacher could put students into groups which make each type of plane model. The only equipment required is paper and a pen.

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Biological Sciences – GENE-ius ideas: How DNA could save the world

Ever heard of glow in the dark trees, or goats that can make spider webs? No? Are you now wondering whether that’s real, and if so, why anybody would ever want to do that? If the answer is yes, then this is the perfect workshop for you.

Learn about how our knowledge of DNA and the genetic code can allow us to solve some of the most pressing issues facing humanity in 2021. All instructions are provided in the video. Workshop created by PhD student Matt Jones.

Teachers can access a prompt sheet and pupils can view organism and gene worksheets: 

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Criminology – Tackling environmental crime (and harm)

This interactive workshop, created by PhD student Jessica Williamson, aims to introduce the next generation of environmentalists to green criminology and the concept of environmental harm.

After defining ‘environmental crime’ and introducing a range of criminal and legal environmentally harmful activities, this workshop explores the main industries contributing to environmental harm. With an optimistic twist, this workshop ends by outlining various ways in which individuals can reduce environmental harm, inspiring young people to start thinking about sustainable lifestyle choices.

Teachers can access a lesson plan and everyone can view the worksheets:

This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Fake news and chemophobia

James Beswick, a Chemistry and Biological Sciences PhD student, delivers a workshop on fake news and misunderstanding about the important roles chemicals play in our daily lives. This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Workshop: Forensic linguistics

Alina McLellan delivers a workshop exploring forensic linguistics and how this process can help solve criminal cases.

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Geography – Palm oil: The power and the problem

Starting in your shopping basket, we will follow the story of palm oil and visit the factories, boardrooms, parliaments and jungles it has been through on its journey. We will look at the different impacts that the palm oil trade has on people and places around the world, and consider the role that we ourselves will play in writing the next chapter of the tale.

Workshop created by PhD student Alexandra Hamer. Teachers can access a lesson plan and teacher’s support sheet, and teachers and pupils can access a shopping sheet, event sheet, and worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: History – Should Auschwitz have been bombed?

This workshop, created by PhD student Robert Kanter, is designed to introduce students to an engaging and relevant debate from period of World War II and The Holocaust.

The session will start by asking students to recall prior knowledge about the Holocaust. Background information will be provided to equip students with context. The main activities will explore arguments for and against the Allies (Britain/USA) bombing Auschwitz in 1944. Students will have an opportunity to debate key points and to reach their own conclusions, using information from historians. The session will close by considering the relevance of this debate in modern society.

Teachers can access a lesson plan and session support notes. Teachers and pupils can access a historian interpretations document and further historical information document:

This video is aimed at KS4/5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: ICT – Understanding Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D)

In this workshop, PhD student Epiphania Kimaro explains to you what Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) means. This is a field of study that explores how various technologies such as mobile phones, radio, satellite and drones can be used to improve lives in environments without enough basic infrastructure such as electricity or internet.

They also share with you the different routes you can take if you wish to study in this areas. Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can view worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Interpreting meaning in language

This workshop, created by PhD student Roxanne, gives learners an introduction to some of the questions which you might address in a linguistics degree- meaning, how we work out what stuff means, the structure of language and language change over time. The workshop focuses on the English word “of” and asks learners to consider meaning and what contributes to meaning, as well as introducing learners to new concepts like the fact that languages change over time.

Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can access worksheet one, worksheet two and linguistics activity:

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Illuminating dark matter

Over the last century, physics has revealed the world is not quite as it seems. Our daily experiences, atoms and molecules as we know them, compose less than 5% of the universe.

In this workshop, we explore how that can be possible and take a look at how we’ve come to these astounding conclusions. It’s a journey that will take you through our galaxy and to those beyond it, using Einstein’s ground-breaking theory of General Relativity as our torch to illuminate the reality of dark matter. Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can access a true or false worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS4/5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Law and ethics – Balancing competing rights

This workshop, created by PhD student Anna Nelson, explores the idea of competing human rights and the situations in which this might exist. It encourages pupils to think about the challenges involved in trying to balance different people’s rights and to consider what factors might influence someone’s opinion on how this should be done.

Teachers can access a lesson plan, teacher worksheet and activity support sheet pupils can access their worksheet: 

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Materials Science - Neutrons, crystals and nuclear fusion

When solid materials are needed to build nuclear reactors, a simple way to assess their suitability is by inspecting the arrangement of atoms within them.

In this workshop, created by PhD student James Bird, we’ll discuss the holy grail of electricity production, nuclear fusion, the need to develop suitable materials for fusion reactors, and some tricks for testing their viability. In the main activity, we’ll simulate neutron irradiation of different crystal systems (solid materials) by bowling neutrons (balls) at atoms (skittles).

Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can access the A3 crystal resource sheet:

This video is aimed at KS4/5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Medicine – Can you die of a broken heart?

Medical student Lior Saad delivers a workshop exploring heart disease and the link to emotional trauma. Pupils can do these quizzes while watching the workshop video:

Teachers can download the supporting lesson plan, worksheets, quiz sheets and answer sheets:

This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Medicine – How to save a life

In this workshop from Medical student Nadin Hawwash, you will learn about the first aid training provided to medical students to give them a taster of what it is like to study Medicine. Students will find out about how medical students are taught to deal with unexpected situations. For example, how to respond to an unresponsive patient and how to deal with someone choking.

Please note that this workshop is a higher education subject taster session into Medicine and is not formal first aid training. Teachers can download the following supporting worksheets:

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Medicine – Medical ethics and law

This workshop, created by PhD student Annie Baldwin, explores the topic of medical ethics and law. We will work through the case of Charlie Gard and his parent’s legal battle. It explores the themes of quality of life, best interest and child consent. The purpose of the workshop is to ignite discussion and get young people thinking. It explores keys ethical concepts in medicine and creates a platform for thought and debate. Teachers can access a lesson plan:

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Music – Movie music magic

This workshop, created by PhD student Cameron Biles-Liddell, is designed to explore and highlight the importance of music in films. It will focus on two scenes from Harry Potter and Star Wars to show music can subtly alter the perception of a character, mood and emotions in film. Through three exciting tasks students will explore their own ideas of what is happening in two short clips both musically and dramatically and, by the end of the workshop, will be able to musically identify some key elements to film scoring and apply this knowledge to other musical examples.

Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can access the worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Neuroscience – Stroke strikes fast

In this workshop from PhD student Ioana Mosneag, you will learn about the two main types of stroke, the effects a stroke could have, available therapy and ongoing research. It incorporates two group activities that can also be run individually which look at stroke effects and life-style interventions to minimise the risk of a stroke.

It should provide students with general knowledge about stroke and the research done in this field, hoping to excite students about science and medicine.

Teachers can download a lesson plan below:

This video is aimed at KS4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Neuroscience – Introducing the unconscious brain

Have you ever heard your name in a conversation you weren't listening to or caught something before you realised it was falling?

This workshop, by PhD student Jennifer Fletcher, introduces you to the complexities and mysteries of the unconscious brain. Learn how it is continually taking in information, computing the details rapidly and even editing reality.

Teachers can access a lesson plan:

This video is aimed at KS4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Palaeontology – The history of life

This workshop, created by PhD student James Chester, aims to address some common misconceptions about dinosaurs using a variety of tasks. The main activity involves ‘designing’ a dinosaur, before improving the design with new knowledge. Learning comes from watching a video and a group task studying some real fossils, introducing the idea that birds are the modern descendants of dinosaurs. A worksheet is provided to be used in conjunction with the lesson.

The workshop is designed to specifically link with the ‘Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes’ section of the KS3 curriculum. Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can access a starter task, a fossil images task and a worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Palaeontology – When whales walked

Did you know that whales used to walk on land? The giants of the sea we know today are all descended from a group of small land mammals that looked like deer. Fossils from these animals are hugely important to palaeontologists, giving us an insight into the lives of species that went extinct nearly 50 million years ago.

In this workshop, palaeontologist PhD student Sam Coatham takes you through their work reconstructing how these fascinating creatures lived – and gives you a chance to examine some whale fossils yourself.

Teachers can access a lesson plan, and teachers and pupils can view the whale evolution worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Philosophy – Should animals have human rights?

Join Matthew Wray Perry for this interesting and challenging workshop exploring the concept and application of human rights; and whether similar rights should be extended to animals and the consequences of such actions. Pupils can complete a workshop during the workshop:

Teachers can download the supporting lesson plan and worksheet:

This video is aimed at KS4/5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Physics and Medicine – Proton therapy

NHS England has recently opened their first high-energy proton therapy centre at the Christie hospital in Manchester. In this workshop, Bethany Rothwell helps pupils find out how we can use radiation to treat cancer, and how the physics behind protons could have the potential to improve outcomes for patients. Pupils can complete a proton activity sheet and x-ray activity sheet. They can also keep score if they're playing with other pupils:

Teachers can download the same supporting worksheets, plus workshop instructions and a lesson plan:

This video is aimed at KS5 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Workshop: Radiochemistry – What is radiation?

This workshop will introduce students to radiochemistry, including an explanation of where radiation comes from and why it’s so important to everyday life. The workshop also includes a classroom-friendly practical activity, designed to introduce the concept of the radioactive half-life.

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2020/21. 

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Understanding talks

Understanding energy (KS4)

Zoe Cumberbatch, PhD student, has developed this workshop through which Zoe will help you find out about geology and energy. 

Additional resources: workshop guideenergy activity sheets, pipe cut-outs, energy definitions matching exercise

This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Understanding Manchester’s social history

In this video, Adam Waddingham, a History PhD, student shares activities with you to help you understand the social history of Manchester, and the benefits of studying History.

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Understanding research in space

Ioana Mosneag, a PhD Student in Neuroscience usually researches drugs for stroke (brain attacks) and the blood vessels in the brain. But, she also has a passion for space medicine and has created a workshop to shar some of the amazing facts about space and research.

Go to workshop

This is aimed at KS3/4 and was created for the academic year 2019/20. 

Understanding rocks (KS3)

Zoe Cumberpatch, PhD Student, has developed this workshop through which Zoe will help you find out about different type of rocks and how they are formed.

Additional resources: Workshop guide.

This video is aimed at KS3 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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Understanding social marketing

Charlotte Hoyland, PhD candidate in our Alliance Manchester Business School, talks through students through a set of activities that outline what social marketing is and how it impacts your everyday life. This video is aimed at KS3/4 and was recorded for the academic year 2019/20. 

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