Raspberry Pi makes for substantial intellectual meal

A six-week project is underway to introduce QE boys to cutting-edge cancer research techniques while helping them develop their computer coding skills.

Cancer Research UK are bringing in their own Raspberry Pi micro-processors to teach a select group of Year 8 and 9 boys about their work. The Raspberry Pi is a small, inexpensive computer developed in the UK to help promote the teaching of computer science in schools.

Before the expert team came in, QE’s Head of Pupil Progression, Dr Sarah Westcott, organised an introductory session on DNA’s triplet code, in order to make the project accessible to the 14 boys.

""In addition to the micro-processors, the team also brought in their own monitors, keyboards and mice for the boys to use. They demonstrated DNA sequencing and how to identify and analyse any changes, notably mutations, explaining how that assists into the research of the causes of cancer and possible treatments. The team also brought with them DNA models and chromatographs showing a sequence run, which helped to reinforce the complex concepts to which the boys were being introduced.

The team, from the cancer charity’s London Research Institute in South Mimms, are linking the project to the 60th anniversary of the publication of Nobel Prize winners Francis Crick and James Watson’s DNA Structure Paper in Nature magazine in April 1953.