LifeLab is a science education intervention designed to change adolescent students’ attitudes and behaviour towards health through a hands-on, science-based teaching package. Central to a typical LifeLab module is a school visit to the LifeLab teaching laboratory, a purpose-built facility at the University of Southampton with modern equipment not available in schools.
Once teachers have completed the CPD session they deliver 4-5 lessons in school prior to the LifeLab activity day, which set the scene for the visit and introduce the students to how scientists work, how to analyse data, and how to explore research. Students then attend the LifeLab activity day, in which they take part in activities designed to build on the lessons they have had in school and reinforce the science behind the health messages they hear about. Students are given the opportunity to talk with research scientists in a "Meet the Scientist" session in order to explore or challenge their views of scientists. Teachers deliver a further 4-5 lessons in school, which use data the students have collected on their LifeLab visit to learn more about ‘risk’. The students carry out their own health-related investigation, and write up and present their results as scientific posters. LifeLab hold a celebration event for selected students from each school to attend with their posters to showcase to an audience of peers, teachers, parents and researchers. The overall aims of LifeLab are to help young people make healthier choices and reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases later in life, as well as making science accessible and encouraging children to consider careers in healthcare, science and medicine.
Teachers at participating schools take part in an initial CPD session and receive lesson plans and learning resources for school-based learning.
LifeLab has not been included in any systematic reviews into the effectiveness of educational programmes.