March 20 2015 | Views: 2698
Kent and Medway
Engaging workshops, an interactive fair and exciting shows from local companies and organisations. Getting Year 7 and 8 students buzzing about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
Twenty secondary schools from the Kent and Medway area attended this exciting free event which hosted a variety of activities to engage students in the world of STEM.
The Big Bang Fair @ Discovery Park aimed to inspire young people to look to STEM as great career options. The event showed young people just how many exciting and rewarding opportunities there are out there for them with the right experience and qualifications.
Organised by Kent & Medway STEM, the ambitious event invited big names such as The Institute of Engineering and Technology, Pfizer and The Royal Academy of Engineering to run sessions with the students.
From carrying out forensic investigations to testing whether caterpillars go faster when they’re hot or cold, students were busy carrying out their own research. Students also enjoyed growing their own crystals and viewing them under the microscopes with East Kent College and learning about momentum from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers using cars on a scalextric track.
The UK needs many more scientists and engineers and equipping young people with skills in STEM is key to their future employability.
Hellen Ward, Kent & Medway STEM Director, said: “We wanted to engage with students before they make their GCSE choices and inspire them to consider STEM subjects. The Big Bang opened their eyes to the fascinating world of science. We showcased every corner of the STEM industries to the students and it’s been fantastic to see them get stuck in.”
She added: “Discovery Park is the ideal location to stage the event. It’s Europe’s leading science park and show’s the students the sort of place they could be working at in the future. Lots of the science tenants have run sessions and experiments with the students today.”
Discovery Park tenant Pfizer invited students to carry out ‘Chemical Challenge’ experiments throughout the day. Through causing a number of controlled chemical reactions, students were challenged to deduce unknown chemicals. One student taking part said: “Today’s been so fun - we’ve learnt so much. I already wanted to be a scientist when I’m older and today’s made me really excited about the future”
Tommy Dolan, Vice President of Pfizer, said: “In the UK there are significant skills gaps in the STEM industries. We need to get young people into science and help them realise how valuable science is in wider society. This event helps inspire the students and encourages them to take science subjects in further education and realise that science is an exciting career choice”
A lot of the processes students learnt today are scientific techniques routinely used in professional industry. The event allows students to put things learnt in the classroom into practice in real-life experiments.
The loudest and most explosive part of the day was brought to life by John Coad, the director of the Festival of Science and the person behind the live demonstrations of some of the greatest experiments by some of the most famous scientists of our time – Archimedes, Galileo, Newton and Einstein.
Reflecting on the event he said: “This event stages experiments and activities that link back to what the students learn in the curriculum. By seeing scientific processes in action, students get a better understanding of how things work. Everything at the Big Bang is fun to learn – whether it's watching a demonstration or putting on your lab coat and doing it yourself.”
A teacher from Sandwich Technology School said, “It’s great to see the students so excited about learning. They are the scientists of the future and this event gives them a valuable opportunity to see how science works outside of the classroom.”
It’s not just science that was explored today; a number of activities were dedicated to mathematics. Event organisers Hellen Ward said, “A solid understanding of maths is integral to any scientific career. We’ve set up a number of engaging mathematical puzzles and challenges today to show the students that maths is fun”
Activities such as ‘mathematic juggling’ and ‘making waves with maths’ showed that maths is so much more than numbers and encouraged students to learn about mathematic techniques and formulas in a fun and interactive way.
Kimberley Anderson, Corporate Relations Manager at Discovery park said, “Today’s been a real success. Hopefully we’ll see lots of the students who came here today return and enjoy successful careers at Discovery Park”
Companies and organisations who took part: