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From sex education to unfriendly worms

The Edinburgh International Science Festival, with its 300 events between March 29 and April 16, is like the annual showcase for the British Association for the Advancement of Science in that it includes education within its remit.

Teachers (and parents) are likely to form the main audience for a talk on enhancing the abilities of pupils, especially the able. Louise Hayward, of St Andrew's College, will discuss the role of the recently established Scottish Network for Able Pupils (Moray House Institute, March 30, 2pm).

Sex education is the theme of a conference (April 3, Old College, 10am) which includes a paper on "Wee laddies and wee lasses: wee differences" by Dennis Lincoln, a professor at Edinburgh's MRC reproductive biology unit. He is followed by Dr Richard Anderson, of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Edinburgh University on "Lads and lasses: the sexual awakening".

The conference, which is aimed at health educators as well as teachers and school board members, will look at differences in sexual development between boys and girls, teenage sexual behaviour and ways of delivering effective education programmes.

Tom Schuller, director of Edinburgh University's centre for continuing education and a TES Scotland columnist, will take part in a series of talks on "Real Change" in society. He will ask how relevant now are the subjects you studied at school or university (April 14, Societies Centre, 1.30pm).

Much of the festival is aimed at children, as well as their parents and teachers. There is a playcentre at the Museum of Scotland for three to six-year-olds and a maths masterclass for their older brothers and sisters. Children can try their hand at electroplating and are invited to "meet some seriously unfriendly worms that live in animals' stomachs. View these bloodsucking worms close up".

Clearly, something that is more likely to appeal to eight to 14-year-olds than to grown-ups.

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