Enhance biology lessons for 11-14 and 14-16 year olds on DNA damage and repair or physics lessons on the danger of radiation with short (10-30 minutes), medium (30-60 minutes) and long (60+ minutes) activities.


Use a clip from the 2015 CHRISTMAS LECTURES to enhance biology lessons on DNA damage and repair or physics lessons on the danger of radiation. There are accompanying ideas, information, and worksheets for short, medium, or long activities.

Video clip

If you have trouble accessing YouTube videos in your school, you can watch this clip on the Ri Channel.

Short activity

View and discuss (10-30 minutes)

View this clip with your class to augment lessons on:

  • Microscopy
  • DNA
  • Mutation
  • Radiation
  • Extremophiles

A worksheet is available with questions that draw on concepts in the clip.  Feel free to distribute this to your class to be filled out after viewing, or simply use it a guide for discussion afterwards.

There is also an information sheet with additional facts, figures, and explanations to help lead the session.

Download the full teachers' guide.

Medium activity

Chinese whispers (30-60 minutes)

Use the clip as a starting point to discuss the causes and effects of DNA damage. This activity must take place after the class has a solid grounding in DNA as the information-carrying molecule that must be duplicated every time a cell replicates.

With a series of Chinese whispers/broken telephone games, introduce your class to the concept of mutations.

Download the full teachers' guide.

Long activity

Finding tardigrades (60+ minutes)

After watching the clip and learning about the effects of radiation on organisms, go out into the field with your class to find and describe some radiation-resistant tardigrades of your own. This activity requires multiple sessions and a laboratory equipped with microscopes. It will allow students to develop fieldwork and microscopy skills.

Download the full instructions.

English curriculum links

These resources can be adapted for any class in KS3 or KS4 and link to working scientifically, biology and physics curriculum objectives. Download the full list of curriculum links.

Watch the full lectures

View the full CHRISTMAS LECTURES, How to survive in space, along with related content on the Ri Channel  richannel.org/christmas-lectures

Supported by the UKSA