2022 Activities

Vaccines and vaccination


We were delighted to visit Anderston Primary school in April 2022 to work with the P6/7 classes and their teachers.


The theme for 2022 was Vaccines and Vaccination – a topic we found the pupils already very well informed on! We visited for four afternoons in a row starting out with a discussion on the topic followed by an activity to help the pupils learn more about vaccines. At the end of each day, the pupils completed a worksheet to design and promote their own vaccines. On the final afternoon, the pupils worked in groups to design their own activity – the winning activity was adapted for the Glasgow Science Festival.


You can download the powerpoint slides we presented at the school here - Vaccine and Vaccination PE. You can also access our updated Glossary Year 3.


We were delighted to be joined by some enthusiastic undergraduate students, Sara Ibgui, Sophia Di Piazza and Euan Brennan. Sophia and Euan helped us deliver the activities and take notes that we have used for our evaluation. Sara joined us at the Glasgow Science Festival.



Activity 1: Virus Tag

This activity aimed to encourage the pupils to think about the power of vaccines and how they can protect the community. We wanted the pupils to experience how much longer it takes for a virus to spread when members of a population are vaccinated. This activity is based on the game of Tag, and we timed how long it would take for some ‘infected’ pupils to infect others when some of the pupils were vaccinated by wearing a protected coloured band.


Here is the ‘Virus Tag’ activity sheet.




Activity 2: Predicting Infection Risk

This activity aimed to show pupils how we test for antibodies that protect us against virus infections. We also wanted the pupils to think about who receives vaccines and how well different people can respond to a vaccine.


Here is the ‘Predict Infection risk’ activity sheet.




Activity 3: Ever Heard about Herd Immunity?

This activity is about herd immunity, which can protect the most vulnerable in a community. It uses labelled bricks to represent people who are infected and asks the pupils to think about how stable a community is when more/less people are infected.


Here is the ‘Ever heard about herd immunity?’ Herd immunity.




Worksheet activity – design your own vaccine

At the end of each afternoon, we asked the pupils to fill in a worksheet to consolidate their learning on vaccines. You can find a blank version of the worksheet Design a Vaccine and look at the responses from the pupils.



Pupil-designed activities for the Glasgow Science Festival

We asked the pupils to help us design an activity for the Glasgow Science Festival in June. The aim of the activity was to help us explain vaccines to children around their own age.


We encouraged them to be inspired by the activities we had run over the week – we were impressed with the range of ideas the pupils came up with and the detail in their plans.


We’d worked with two classes of P6/7 pupils and for each class we selected one winning team. We adapted one of these activities for the Glasgow Science Festival, have a look at Festival and Events tabs to learn more.





The researchers, pupils and teachers had a fun time doing the activities and discussing vaccines with each other. A lot of the pupils, 40%, said that Virus Tag was their favourite activity while 31% preferred ‘Ever heard about herd immunity’ and 26% liked ‘Predicting infection risk’ the best. You can read more about our Evaluation here.





From the previous year, the main improvement we aimed for was to carry out the activities in person. We were really happy to be able to visit the school and the pupils responded really positively to the activities and discussions. When asked for improvements, the pupils requested more time for the activities and discussions, some especially liked the Virus Tag as we did this outside! This year, we visited the school later in the term that we had originally planned; this was due to ongoing uncertainty around the COVID pandemic.  While we did have time for the pupils to plan their own activities, we didn’t have time for them to improve their ideas. We hope to incorporate this time into the programme in 2023.




Glossary for Co-IMMUNicate Year 3: 2022 


Adjuvants: a substance found in vaccines that helps your immune cells make a big response. 

Antibodies: molecules made by some immune cells. Antibodies can stick to bugs and stop them from causing disease. 

Co-IMMUNicate: name of our programme, Communicating Immunology with the Community.  

Herd immunity: vaccinating enough people in a community so that the bug people are vaccinated against can’t spread. 

Immune cells: these are cells that protect the body from infections. There are lots of different types of immune cell that work together to protect the body. 

Immunology: Describes the cells and molecules the body uses to defend itself against bugs that can infect it. 

Immune memory: Describes the ability of cells of the immune system to ‘remember’ a previous bug. These memory cells can act quickly to protect against the bug. 

Respiratory system: this is the part of the body that ensure you can breathe in the oxygen you need and breath out carbon dioxide. It includes the nose, throat, and lungs. 

Respiratory virus: a type of bug that can be passed to people through coughs, sneezes, or breaths. 

Vaccines: a substance that contains a harmless part of a dangerous bug that is injected into the body. The vaccine causes the body to make an immune response against the bug. This leads to immune memory cells being formed. 

Vaccination: giving someone a vaccine. 

Variolation: using pus from a sore on the skin of someone with the virus smallpox to give another person the smallpox virus to (hopefully) protect them from a full infection with smallpox. 

Virus: these are bugs that infect cells and make lots of copies of themselves. They cause damage to cells and make the body feel unwell.