LifeLab is a science education intervention designed to change young people’s attitudes and behaviour towards their own health, and the health of their future children, through a hands-on, science-oriented teaching package. LifeLab has been developed since 2008 by researchers from the Southampton Education School, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Mathematics and Science Learning Centre. LifeLab draws on these researchers’ findings and combines them with research evidence from elsewhere to raise teenagers’ awareness and interest in the science underpinning health issues, and make positive changes to adolescent health-related attitudes. LifeLab’s aim is to help achieve reduction in the likelihood of developing chronic health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, asthma and some cancers by raising young people’s awareness of health through an exciting educational experience using modern technology at a hospital based laboratory classroom. Our primary focus is on science for health literacy in relation to lifestyle-related non communicable diseases.
LifeLab works in close partnership with LENScience in Auckland, a collaboration that was strengthened further through the awarding of funding from the BUPA Foundation to carry out an international evaluation of the intervention in both locations. LifeLab has also gained funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) for evaluating the impact of the LifeLab programme on pupils over the period of 3 years.
We have a number of funded research projects running as part of Lifelab. These include:
- The hospital classroom: achieving sustainable health behaviour change in adolescents
- Assessment of LifeLab Southampton: engaging teenagers in improving their health behaviours and increasing their interest in science
- Behaviour change in school children: LifeLab Southampton – engaging teenagers in improving their health behaviours
- The healthy generation: me, my health and my children’s health
- Alcohol literacy: measuring teenagers’ health literacy around alcohol – a feasibility study
- LifeLab: translational research – taking contemporary science to students
Grace, Marcus and Bay, Jacquie (2011) Developing a pedagogy to support science for health literacy. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 12, (2)
Grace, Marcus, Woods-Townsend, Kathryn, Griffiths, Janice, Godfrey, Keith M., Hanson, Mark A., Galloway, Ian, Azaola, Marta Cristina, Harman, Kerry, Byrne, Jenny and Inskip, Hazel M. (2012) Developing teenagers’ views on their health and the health of their future children. Health Education, 112, (6), 543-559. (doi:10.1108/09654281211275890).
Byrne, Jenny, Speller , Viv, Dewhirst , Sue, Roderick, Paul, Almond, Palo, Grace, Marcus and Memon, Anjum (2012) Health promotion in pre-service teacher education: effects of a pilot inter-professional curriculum change. Health Education, 112, (6), 525-542. (doi:10.1108/09654281211275872).
Grace, Marcus, Woods-Townsend, Kathryn, Byrne, Jenny, Christodoulou, Andri, Griffiths, Janice, Hanson, Mark A., Inskip, Hazel M. and Godfrey, Keith M. (2013) Science for health literacy: it’s never been so important. Education in Science, 252, 16-17.
Woods-Townsend, Kathryn, Christodoulou, Andri, Rietdijk, Willeke, Byrne, Jenny, Griffiths, Janice and Grace, Marcus (2015) Meet the scientist: the value of short interactions between scientists and students. International Journal of Science Education Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 1-25. (doi:10.1080/21548455.2015.1016134).
Woods-Townsend, K., Bagust, L., Barker, M., Christodoulou, A., Davey, H., Godfrey, K., Grace, M., Griffiths, J., Hanson, M. and Inskip, H., 2015. Engaging teenagers in improving their health behaviours and increasing their interest in science (Evaluation of LifeLab Southampton): study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial. Trials, 16(1), 372