Students from Torquay Academy today extracted DNA from their own cells using household products, as part of Public Health England work to promote jobs in the science sector.
It was part of the annual ten-day British Science Week series of activities.
Charlotte Landeg-Cox, Environmental Public Health Scientist for the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, said: "I work as a scientist in Public Health England but I don’t wear a white coat or work in a laboratory.
"I want to challenge that perception and give students a practical real world insight of science and the kind of roles that exist after school and at Public Health England.
"As a public health scientist, I have supported and advised on a number of incidents involving environmental hazards such as fires and chemical spills in order to protect public health.
"In the workshop at Torquay academy, I want students to think more about environmental hazards in everyday life and how to avoid them.
"I hope that the students will really enjoy the interactive session that I have planned and I hope to learn from this going forward for future sessions think it is vital that Public Health England continues to support outreach programmes like this one.”
Alfie, 13, who took part said: "I have been doing how things are done around the house, what things are a risk around the house."
Grace Loader, 13, said she enjoyed trying to extact her DNA and outlined how the experiment worked.
John Mellitt, Head of Science at Torquay Academy, said: "It's an excellent opportunity for some of our very capable science students to work alongside practicing scientists, gain an insight into their roles, and hopefully inspire a number of them to pursue highly rewarding scientific careers."
This year, Public Health England is expanding its reach across the South West and scientists from the region will visit 240 students across schools in Cheltenham, Bristol and Torquay.
Ayuen Lual is from Public Health England
During the week, there will be 12 PHE scientists leading interactive science workshops for pupils aged 13-14 years.
The other schools are Bristol's Fairfield School on Allfoxton Road in St Agnes tomorrow and Cheltenham's All Saints Academy on Thursday.