The world’s first diabetes research video game has now been developed into free Lesson Plans for use in UK primary schools, with help from academics at the University of East Anglia.
‘Rebo’s Research Adventure’, launched in 2019, is a video game which tells the story of how scientists have found treatments for health conditions like diabetes through research. The team behind the game at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) in the East of England has been working with school teachers in Norfolk and staff from UEA’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning to produce the Lesson Plans.
The game and Lesson Plans are a fun way to educate, excite and inspire school children about health and care research. As students play the game and take part in the lessons they will learn about the science behind the research, why healthy lifestyles are important, why research is vital to finding life-changing treatments, and more.
The Lesson Plans have been designed for teachers to use as part of the UK Government’s Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Science and Design and Technology curriculum. The NIHR team will also provide support to teachers who would like to use them as part of their educational plan.
David Jones and colleague David Board, both lecturers in education at UEA, put the Lesson Plans together.
“We are really proud to have been involved in developing the teaching resources to accompany the REBO’s Research Adventure game,” said Mr Jones. “Raising children’s awareness of the importance of health and wellbeing, particularly in relation to diabetes, is vital.
“We hope that through this fun and engaging approach, children will gain a better understanding of this, as well as the important role scientific research plays in our healthcare. Maybe it might also inspire some children to follow a career in science?”
Sophie Waters is one of the first teachers working with the NIHR to adopt the lesson plans for use in their school. She said: “Health is fundamental to leading a happy life and we have a duty to ensure children understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Not only do the lesson plans support this, they also cover multiple areas of the curriculum and help children to see the value of studying science.
“Children can see a real-life application of working scientific skills and how research can lead to treatments, which can in turn inspire aspirations!”
Prof Jeremy Turner, Clinical Lead for the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network (CRN) in the East of England region and Consultant Endocrinologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, features alongside Rebo in the game.
He said: “Research provides the foundation for how we treat and care for people in the NHS and social care. We hope our Lesson Plans will help kids get a head start in learning about how important research is, which will hopefully mean more people understand their right to access research opportunities in the future. Maybe they will even inspire some future researchers too!"
For more information about the Lesson Plans contact Anne Kirby, NIHR CRN East of England Patient & Public Involvement Manager: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01603 287670.
The game is now available to download to iPad and Android tablets for free from the iOS App Store and Google Play. For more information visit the Rebo's Research Adventure website: bit.ly/RebosResearchAdventure.