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Published 17th Jul 2018

From left , Middlesbrough College students Eden Bulman and Kayla McBride with Dr Richard Spencer (centre) and students Lauren Falls and Sam King

Star students have attracted international attention for creating a drama – involving disputed paternity tests – in their sixth form biology class.

But this was no Jeremy Kyle-style bust-up, as the talented group from Middlesbrough College have shown.

Under the expert eye of Dr Richard Spencer – a finalist in the Global Teacher Prize – the group of A-Level students turned into film directors to tell the true story of a man in the US who repeatedly failed paternity tests, even though he had fathered his child.

Students researched, wrote, acted, narrated, filmed and edited the drama which has since earned Middlesbrough College recognition from the LUMA Centre Finland – an organisation that promotes STEM subjects internationally.

The group was shortlisted for the centre’s StartT Education Award.

Richard, or “Doc” as he is affectionately known to students, explained: “The drama is based on a story about a man who failed successive paternity tests because his unborn twin – whose DNA he absorbed in the womb – had fathered the child.

“We’d learned about the case in class and the science behind this is quite complicated so the group decided they would use a drama to bring it to life.

“The human chimera – named after the monster from Greek mythology – is a person composed of two genetically distinct types of cells.”

The biology students worked with a peer from the College's A-Level Media Studies class to create the film, which has received hundreds of views on YouTube.

In the video students are seen acting in different locations across Middlesbrough College, including the campus Health and Care Ward.

The story expertly describes the phenomenon of chimerism and how it affects people.

Richard added: “I’m incredibly proud of our students’ efforts. Their project is an excellent example of cross-curricular learning and showcases our students’ talents and ability to work as a team.

“To reach the nomination stage is a fantastic achievement. The drama is thrilling and shows that you can create with biology classes!”

The International LUMA StartT Education Award saw 600 teams from across the world submit their projects to be shown across the LUMA YouTube channel – and only 20 made the shortlist.

The drama has also reached the finals of the KREF International Creative Education Festival, to be held in the Republic of Macedonia in September 2018.

You can view the students’ film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlaQy3Iwk2o&feature=youtu.be



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