Over 1,000 young people from secondary and special schools across Kent and Medway enjoyed a hands-on experience of interactive science fun recently (Friday 13 March).
The Big Bang event, held at Discovery Park in Sandwich, brings STEM to life through workshops and ‘drop-in zones’ which explore everything from science heroes, bridge design to health. Students had the opportunity to use simulations to experience engineering projects and drive construction vehicles.
Organised by THE STEM HUB, based at Canterbury Christ Church University, the event involved big-name businesses such as Tarmac, Balfour Beatty, the Port of Dover and APS alongside the local Universities NHS England as well as a host of other companies and organisations.
Also present at the event was the Mayor of Sandwich Jeff Franklin.
Highlights included the wonderful ‘Science Heroes’ show by Encounter Edu, understanding the Universe by Starlight STEM, and Grub consultancy, who ran a workshop on edible insects- there were plenty of experiments to spark the imaginations of the students.
Other activities included the London Array, who ran a workshop where the students built their own wind turbines, learning about renewable energy, specifically wind power, and the impact on the environment. The NHS provided an interactive introduction to the world of assistive technology.
There were virtual reality and 3D printing demonstrations and the NHS using artificial voice boxes, adult nursing, using glowsticks to find out about cold light, and Manston Airport talking to the students about where their food comes from.
There were also many physical activites for the pupils to get involved with, including a series of challenges to test their perception and speed. Forensic workshops were very popular with the students solving ‘ The Diabolical Case of Penelope Treadloaf’ – A Victorian murder story!
Hellen Ward, Director of The Hub of the South East of England said: “Big Bang has become a central part of the Kent and Medway annual STEM calendar. Now in its sixth year, the students and companies who attend this event bridge the gap between schools and businesses.
“Discovery Park provides an inspirational location for students and demonstrates what is possible with a career in STEM. There is a programme of workshops and talks by world renowned educators, and the STEM businesses across all disciplines, providing inspirational input as well as advice and guidance to the next generation.
“Students regularly comment on how great the exhibition is and how much they enjoy the workshops. Quite often, they don’t even want to return to the classroom as they’ve had such a fun day. Meanwhile, the companies that attend tell us how wonderful it is to see possible future employees who are bright and interested in the world around them.”
Kimberley Anderson, CSR and Community Manager for Discovery Park, said: “STEM education runs through the core of everything we’re trying to achieve at Discovery Park.
“The Big Bang is great for getting across some really complex concepts in such a simple way, helping to light a spark that can inspire a generation. And those sharing their knowledge look as if they’re having as much fun as the kids too!
“This is the place where we can plant a seed that will leave them curious, astonished, amazed and wanting to learn so much more. Not everyone that comes along to Big Bang will end up being an astronaut, a doctor or the inventor of a new drug that rids the world of disease, but events like this help to set the foundation for skills and knowledge that will last a lifetime.”
Those hosting exhibits and workshops included: APS Produce, Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Greenwich, Kent University & BioProNET, Hilderstone Amateur Radio Club, STEM ambassadors, Seksui Diagnostics, QMSI Construction, Rotary International, Royal Engineers Museum, East Kent College, Cyber Prevent, Kingston University, NHS England, and the Edgehub.
For more info, contact Dr. Hellen Ward, The director of the STEM Hub of the South East and Principal lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University.