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  1. ITV Report

Schools out - youngsters head to university instead

Pupils aged between 4 and 12 are taking part in a week-long Coventry University psychology research project over the school holidays.

They're helping form research for investigations into emotions, anxiety, literacy and maths as part of the project. The aim is to teach them about science and psychology using practical activities.

Some of the junior researchers are dressing up as animals to learn about the different intelligence levels for certain species.

More senior university academics say they can collect data for eight different research projects from the work.

Youngsters taking part in a range of activities on the research project Credit: Dom Breadmore

Some of the activities the children are working on include:

  • giving spit samples before and after they witness a remote-controlled spider pop out of a box

  • looking at images of people displaying different emotions and relaying how they think the people pictured are feeling

  • having their own expressions recorded as they watch British athletes winning medals at the Olympics

  • working out the real and fake names of authors and books on a list

  • recognising writers and titles either from having read books or from film or television

It's hands-on work for the young research helpers Credit: Dom Breadmore

"During the summer holidays it’s difficult for us to collect data for our research as we normally go out to schools and these are closed. By encouraging children to come into the university, they can find out a bit more about what we do while they are taking part in the research.

It’s a really great way of engaging with children and their families. They always have an amazing time and it’s so nice to see them getting involved with science and psychology.

The data we collect will be crucial in a variety of research projects on themes including literacy, maths and children’s emotions.”

– Emma Vardy, researcher with the university’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement