ASAB has an Education Committee that supports colleagues in schools and colleges who teach animal behaviour. We provide free teaching resources and offer funding to teachers keen to develop new resources. Our Education Officer visits schools to give talks about animal behaviour, and our committee members are always on hand to advise on scientific research methods and the behaviour of the animals we study.
The ASAB Education Committee produces teaching resources, including videos and lesson plans. They're free to download! We have organised the resources under primary or secondary and post 16 categories. Many of our videos are on Vimeo, and the resources are also on the UK's National STEM Centre.
We also support scientists spread the word about their interactive citizen-science games.
It was with great sadness that ASAB heard of the recent death of Audrey Eyton on 30 June, aged 83. Professor Christine Nicol and Dr Michael Dockery share a tribute here.
The education committee has three new resources to share. Foraging and feeding is five fabulous lesson plans and lots of games to teach key stage one and two students about the behaviour of animals in natural environments. Vigilance behaviour in Meerkats provides educators with a comprehensive teaching pack to enable them to conduct behavioural observations in the classroom with students, through the medium of meerkat. Activity Packs for use at science fairs are read-to-roll activities based on animal behaviour to use at science fairs and related events.
New Public Engagement Grant
The ASAB Education Committee has launched a Public Engagement Grant for organizing and delivering innovative and exciting outreach activities. Awards of up to £2000 are available, with applications for less than the full amount also encouraged. The proposed activities should be aimed at young people and/or the general public, to communicate the science of animal behaviour. Examples might be exhibition stands at science fairs, food festivals and community events. School visits, museum workshops, local talks and cake competitions.
Carneddau Ponies: Their history, behaviour, communities and conservation.
Dr Susanne Shultz spoke at a public engagement event on behalf of ASAB about the Carneddau ponies of Snowdonia: how they are a cultural and natural resource of North Wales, and Susanne’s research with the ponies to understand horse behaviour in general, as well as microbiomes and management of these gut bacteria in domesticated horses. You can view her presentation here, and the Q&A session here.
The ASAB Education Committee are proud supporters of Soapbox Scientists.
In 2018 Lucy Mitchell talked about her PhD research into nightjar behaviour. Lucy uses GPS trackers to discover where they find their night-time meals, and where they like to sleep during the day. Lucy had some fun interactive moth catching games to find out what it's like to be a nightjar!
Josie Monaghan told the crowds about her research on conservation genetics in forest management. Josie explained that ant behaviour is an important aspect of the woodland ecosystems and how, by using the genetics of red wood ants, scientists will decide how best to look after our forests. Josie demonstrated the connectivity of the forest and show how we can use one (very small) animal to find out about how we affect forests - whether good or bad.
University of Sussex PhD student, Georgia Hennessy, spoke at the Brighton Soapbox Science event on the 2nd of June 2018. Georgia spoke about her research showing that increasing wind speeds influence a bee's ability to forage. To illustrate this, Georgia had Soapbox Scientist participants go fishing!
Soapbox science events are taking place across the country and across world this summer. Look here for more information. If you are taking part and would like to be considered for sponsorship by ASAB, then please email our Education officer Charlotte – for more details.
Undergraduate Recognition Awards
The ASAB education committee announces the establishment of the Undergraduate Recognition Award which recognises undergraduates who have engaged with the study of animal behaviour in an outstanding manner.
The most recent recipient is Sophie Wilson from The University of Birmingham. Sophie is undertaking her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, taking a number of modules focusing on Animal Behaviour. Sophie received the highest mark for the second year zoology field course: Adaptations to Aquatic Environments based in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Sophie's project involved studying aggressive behaviour in hermit crabs, proving that hermit crabs too have a personality!
ASAB Education Grants
ASAB provides grants for primary and secondary teachers to develop new teaching resources on animal behaviour. Successful applicants work with an academic member of the ASAB Education Committee to develop their idea. The resource they produce becomes an official ASAB teaching resource and is shared with other educators.
Our Education Officer visits schools to give talks and workshop sessions for students, from infant classes to sixth formers. The Committee also organises conferences and workshops for teachers (CPD).
If you have any questions about how ASAB can help you to bring the study of animal behaviour to life in your classroom, please email the ASAB Education Officer.