School Competition

Storytelling Science: The Letters of Life

Have you ever wondered about why you look the way you do – the colour of your eyes, or the shape of your nose? Are you a budding scientist, a great storyteller, a poet or an artist? Then it’s time to show off your talents, open your mind and unleash your imagination.

The first 50 schools to sign up will receive a FREE paperback copy of Little Letters for their library.

More information for Teachers

Who is the competition for ?

The competition is open to all school pupils in the UK in year 4 (8-9 year olds)

What is it about?

“Storytelling Science: The Letters of Life” aims to get children in year 4 thinking creatively about communicating science. To enter the competition, children are asked to send-in a one-page illustrated story or poem on the theme of genetics. We understand this is not a topic they will have covered before, so to help you introduce it, you will get access to a story book, Little Letters, that covers DNA, genes and genetics in a fun bedtime story. In addition, there is a complementary activity you can do with the class, that will open up discussion and questions. Entries will be judged by a team of science experts, from the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath and five winners will be selected. These winners will receive: signed copies of Little Letters and Little Changes (a story from the same author about evolution), a print of an illustration from Little Letters signed by the illustrator (James Munro), a £20 book voucher and a children’s lab coat embroidered with the Milner Centre logo. In addition their whole class will also receive a virtual Q and A session with the author.

How do I sign up?

1. You can sign-up for FREE on this website using the “Sign up” button above. 2. You will receive a digital entry pack which includes: downloadable access to the online book and audiobook (read by Prof Alice Roberts), Little Letters; instructions for a complementary classroom activity; prompts and questions to promote discussion of the concepts introduced with your class, and a video inviting your class to enter the competition.

When is it open?

The competition is open now until Thursday the 12th of November.

Why should we take part?

Genetics is a complex topic, but research from the University of Bath shows that a prior understanding of genetics improves understanding of evolution, and should be learnt first. In addition, learning through storytelling has also been shown to be an effective technique for teaching complex topics. Little Letters teaches primary children basic concepts of genetics within the format of a fun bedtime story rather than a rigid lesson plan. This competition combines Science, Art and English to encourage children to think creatively about the concepts introduced, even if they wouldn’t think of themselves as having an interest in science.

How do I enter my class?

Just click on the “Sign up” button to receive an email with your digital entry pack.

The Judging Panel

Dr Tiffany Taylor: Author of Little Letters and Evolutionary Biologist at the Milner Centre for Evolution

Prof Ed Feil: Professor of Microbial Evolution at the Milner Centre for Evolution

Stephanie Lear: Head of Principal Gifts at University of Bath

Prof Bernie Morley: Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of Bath, with a research background in autoimmune genetics

Prof Laurence Hurst: Director of the Milner Centre for Evolution and Professor of Evolutionary Genetics

Dr Alex Jeffries: Chair of Public Engagement committee in the Milner Centre for Evolution

Grace Williams: Engaged Research Manager at the University of Exeter

Made possible thanks to support from

Further Questions?

Please get in touch.