Public engagement activities based on microfluidics are being increasingly delivered and reported on in the literature. Here, we evaluate the success of a novel approach to microfluidics outreach recently undertaken with schoolchildren aged 12–13. Unlike previous work, a problem-based learning approach was adopted whereby participants were asked to design and test a microfluidic system to solve a research challenge. Our aim was to develop understanding of microfluidics design, manufacture and operation via involvement in the full engineering cycle of a product, from ideas to design, and from fabrication to test. This article demonstrates that problem-based learning is a successful method of public engagement with microfluidics, and we share our best practice, including activity design, supporting material produced for the project and an example case study detailing the types of chips produced by the participants. Furthermore, following an evaluation of the activity by all participants recommendations for delivery of this, or similar, activities are provided.
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- School of Engineering & Physical Sciences - Professor
- School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering - Professor
Person: Academic (Research & Teaching)