2021 Christmas lectures for children

In December we held UEA's annual Christmas lectures for children. UEA's Dr Ben Little and Sara Skarp presented two lectures focusing on sustainability and activism. The 2021 event was packed with important messages and festive fun.

Green Christmas

You don’t have to be a superhero to save the world: activism that works
Kids today don’t have it easy. Climate change, coronavirus, parents that won’t let you watch TV endlessly, and don’t get us started on that homework nonsense you get from schools. So how would you like to make things a bit better? In this lecture, Dr Ben Little will explain that being a superhero is not the only way to make a difference, instead with cunning tactics and crazy examples – with at least one involving poo – he’ll teach you how to band together to stop bad guys doing terrible things to the planet, the people around you and maybe even to your schools. We won’t help with your parents though – they’re right: too much YouTube turns your brain to jelly.

The long journey: how stuff becomes rubbish
Books, clothes, food wrappers, furniture, shoes… every day, we use a mountain of stuff! But where does our stuff come from? What happens to it when we don’t want it anymore? Does all stuff get recycled? How could our stuff end up in a turtle’s nose? And what can we do about it? These are some questions that we will look at in this trash-tastic lecture on how our things go from produced, to cherished belonging, to waste. Find out who produces the vast range of stuff that we use in our daily lives, and what happens when we don’t want it anymore. Join Sara Skarp as she takes you on a journey into the long, wondrous and hidden life of rubbish.

You can look back our previous Christmas lectures on our UEA Public Events YouTube channel. Click the button below to take look!

Christmas lectures on YouTube


Mud Rubbish Pageant Pigeons

UEA Christmas Lecture 2020 Activities

Use the drop down menus below to explore four previous Christmas lectures in new ways! Click on the images to view and download the activity packs, and watch the videos to help you find out more about each topic before answering the questions in the pack.

We'd love for you to share what you discover with us! Ask an adult to tag @UEAEvents in photos of your work on Twitter using #UEAChristmasLectures.

Putting on a pageant

Putting on a Pageant - By Prof Matt Woodcock

This activity sheet has been put together by Prof Matt Woodcock from UEA’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, to go with his lecture 'Putting on a Pageant' from December 2018.

Watch Matt's lecture in the video below to find out more about Queen Elizabeth I's visit to Norwich in 1578, before working through the activity sheet to plan your own right royal knees up! When you're ready, click on the image to the right to view and download the activity pack.


The pink pigeon's peril

The Pink Pigeon's Peril - By Camilla Ryan

This activity sheet has been put together by scientist Camilla Ryan from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences and the Earlham Institute, to go with her lecture 'The Pink Pigeon’s Peril' from December 2019.

You can take a look at Camilla's lecture in the video below before you try your hand at these activities! When you're ready, click on the image to the left to view and download the activity worksheets and find out more about this incredible bird.


Victoria's Dustbin

Victoria's Dustbin - By Prof Tom Licence

This activity sheet has been put together by Professor Tom Licence from UEA’s School of History, to go with his lecture 'Victoria’s Dustbin' from December 2016.

Take a look at the video of Tom's lecture below to learn about some Victorian Christmas traditions that are still thriving today, and how items dug up from their rubbish dumps have helped historians find out more about daily life in the mid-1800s. Once you're done, click on the image on the right to head to the activity pack and continue your investigation!


Mud, glorious mud

Mud, Glorious Mud! - By Prof Brian Reid

This activity sheet has been put together by soil scientist Professor Brian Reid, to go with his lecture 'Mud, Glorious Mud!' from December 2018.

You can watch Brian's lecture in the video below before downloading this activity pack, to help prepare you for exploring just how important the earth beneath our feet truly is! Are you ready to become a soil scientist? Click on the image to the left to find out.