Education Initiative

Promoting MSK Literacy in Young People

This month sees the latest tour of a musculoskeletal themed educational show, co-funded by Orthopaedic Research UK (ORUK), that introduces young people to biomechanics and the importance of bone, joint and muscle health. The Research and Test Lab (RATLab) tour uses a combination of science, hi-tech projections and puppetry devised by theatre company Green Ginger. During a visit to RATLab, children interact with a team of engaging characters – mostly rats, dogs and pigs – who use engineering to solve everyday problems.

The RATLab show tells the story of a pig called Ronnie; an injured rugby sports star who is returning to the playing field after a hip replacement. The audience of 7- to 11-year-olds learn about bones, the mechanics of how our bodies move, and how engineering solutions can fix them when they go wrong. The content, co-created by Green Ginger, Dr Sabina Gheduzzi and her team of researchers, is based on the University of Bath’s cutting-edge research into bone repair and sports injuries.

‘One of the most effective ways to improve the MSK health of the nation is to make us more aware of our bodies and how we can look after our bone and muscle health’, says ORUK’s CEO, Arash Angadji. ‘This is why we are so excited by the RATLab concept which uses a fun theatre experience to reach and engage a younger audience, many of whom are from under-represented backgrounds. Not only will it encourage young people to think of a career in STEM subjects, but it will also improve the MSK literacy of all of the young people experiencing the tour.’

The RATLab TOUR 2024, co-funded by ORUK, the University of Bath, and Arts Council England, is focused on primary schools in the Swindon area during April and May. RATLab is delivered at no cost to the schools, which are all in ‘priority levelling-up areas’ where local communities have been severely impacted through socio-economic deprivation. Every child also receives a personalised lanyard and ID card, giving them access to digital learning resources; videos, games, experiments, and other activities that support and enhance the RATLab experience.

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